It was fascinating to be in Rome on the day Pope John Paul II died and to be in Italy as the College of Cardinals elected Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to be the new head of the Roman Catholic Church.
I used the occasion to meet with a good friend, Father John Radano, an American on the staff of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Father Radano and I became acquainted when I visited the Vatican as a representative of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and when I took part in a series of Presbyterian-Catholic dialogues. He is a distinguished scholar and an experienced church diplomat. We had a good conversation and dinner at one of his favorite restaurants near St. Peter’s. I was impressed again with how seriously the Vatican takes ecumenical and interfaith relationships and how far the Catholic Church has come since the papacy of John XXIII.