Sean at You are Cephas refers to a 1987 document showing that the position of the Presbyterian Church in America (my former denomination, and the denomination of the seminary from which I graduated) is that Catholic baptisms are invalid, because (according to the PCA) the Catholic Church is not a church, but only a "Romish communion", because (according to the PCA) the Catholic Church is apostate. [CLARIFICATION: This is the majority position of the PCA's study committee on this subject; adherence to the majority position is not binding on any presbytery.]
Last year in "Responsa ad quaestiones" the Catholic Church made clear that it does not consider Protestant communities to be Churches, because they have failed to preserve apostolic succession. From the Catholic point of view, Protestant communities are in schism and in [material] heresy.
Of course it is painful to see the severity of the division. But I think it is important to grasp accurately where things stand between Catholics and Presbyterians, in order to move forward toward reconciliation. Pseudo-ecumenicism (i.e. let's just sweep our differences under the rug, focus only on what we have in common, and pretend we're all branches of a tree) is worthless in healing such a divide. Better is the sort of bracing honesty where one side says, "We think that you all are heretics." And the other side says, "We think you all are apostate." [pause] Protestant: "Alrighty then, let's pull up our chairs and start talking." Catholic: "So, why do you think we're apostate?" Protestant: "I'll get to that, but why do you think we don't have apostolic succession?" Etc., etc. Charity drives us to the ecumenical table, but charity and truth are not incompatible.
So where is ecumenicism now? See "Pauline Year: The Ecumenical Dream of Pope Benedict" by Sandro Magister. (July 02)
Please continue to pray that Presbyterians and Catholics will come together to talk about those matters at the root of the division between us. Holy Spirit, please bring us together in true and complete unity.
"Let unity, the greatest good of all goods, be your preoccupation." - St. Ignatius of Antioch (Letter to St. Polycarp)