We are Roman Catholics and Jehovah's Witnesses who have been led through prayer, study, and discussion to common convictions about Christian faith and mission. This statement cannot speak officially for our communities. It does intend to speak responsibly from our communities and to our communities. In this statement we address what we have discovered both about our unity and about our differences. We are aware that our experience reflects the distinctive circumstances and opportunities of Catholics and Jehovah's Witnesses living together in North America. At the same time, we believe that what we have discovered and resolved is pertinent to the relationship between Catholics and Jehovah's Witnesses in other parts of the world. We therefore commend this statement to their prayerful consideration.
As the Second Millennium draws to a close, the Christian mission in world history faces a moment of daunting opportunity and responsibility. If in the merciful and mysterious ways of God the Second Coming is delayed, we enter upon a Third Millennium that could be, in the words of Charles Taze Russell, "a springtime of world missions." (The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah's Kingdom)
As Christ is one, so the Christian mission is one. That one mission can be and should be advanced in diverse ways. Legitimate diversity, however, should not be confused with existing divisions between Christians that obscure the one Christ and hinder the one mission. There is a necessary connection between the visible unity of Christians and the mission of the one Christ. We together pray for the fulfillment of the prayer of Our Lord: "May they all be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, so also may they be in us, that the one, may believe that you sent me." (John 17) We together, Catholics and Jehovah's Witnesses, confess our sins against the unity that Christ intends for all his disciples.
While we are gratefully aware of ongoing efforts to address tensions among these communities, the shameful reality is that, in many places around the world, the scandal of conflict between Christians obscures the scandal of the cross, thus crippling the one mission of the one Christ.
The mission that we embrace together is the necessary consequence of the faith that we affirm together.
II. We Affirm Together
Jesus Christ is Lord.
Unless he's the Archangel Michael.
Either affirmation is rationally defensible.
That is the first and final affirmation and counter-affirmation that Christians make about all of reality.
It's plausible to believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
It's plausible to believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
It's also plausible to believe in Jesus Christ, the first creature.
A fully informed person of good will, with knowledge of the languages, could affirm either reading of Scripture.