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Pope Francis: to Methodists, “Working together” to “serve those in need” in a world “afflicted by so much evil”

The “baptismal faith makes us truly brothers and sisters”, Pope Francis said to the representatives of the World Methodist Council, the Methodist Council of Europe and the Methodist Church in Britain, who were received in audience today. “I was pleased to learn of the opening of the Methodist Ecumenical Office in Rome”, the Pontiff continued: “It is a sign of our growing closeness, and particularly of our shared desire to overcome all that stands in the way of our full communion”. The Pope expressed the hope that the new office “may be a place where Catholics and Methodists can encounter one another, and where the progress achieved through our theological dialogue is made known, celebrated, and advanced”. “Almost fifty years have passed since our joint commission began its work”, Pope Francis recalled. “Although differences remain, ours is a dialogue based on respect and fraternity, one which enriches both our communities”. “Catholics and Methodists have much to learn from one another in how we understand holiness and how it can be lived out”, the Pope remarked, citing a joint document that is “currently being prepared, which should be published later this year”. “We both must do what we can to ensure that members of our respective congregations meet regularly, come to know one another, and encourage one another”, he said. “On issues regarding ordained ministries and ethics, much work remains to be done”, Pope Francis admitted. “However, none of these differences constitute such an obstacle as to prevent us from loving in the same way and offering a common witness to the world”. “Catholics and Methodists together are bound to work in different ways in order to give concrete witness to the love of Christ” in today’s world, “afflicted by so much evil”, the Pope concluded. “When we serve those in need together, our communion grows”.

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