Pope Francis has urged the Methodist and Waldensian Churches to continue to walk together with the Catholic Church on the path towards full Christian unity, pointing out that in a world lacerated by violence and fear it is all the more important to live and to convey the Christian message of welcome and fraternity.
The Pope’s words of friendship and closeness came in a message on Monday to the annual Synod of the Italian Methodist and Waldensian Churches taking place in Torre Pellice, near Turin, from 20 to 25 August.
Recalling recent encounters between the Churches and a shared celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, the Pope said “May Jesus’ gaze brighten our relationship so that it is never just formal or proper, but fraternal and lively.”
“The Good Shepherd wants us to walk together and his gaze embraces all of his disciples whom He wants to see fully united”, he said.
Pope Francis also said that to walk towards full unity with the hope that derives from the knowledge that God’s presence is stronger than evil, is all the more important today, “in a world scarred by violence and fear, by wounds and indifference, in which the egoism of self-affirmation to the detriment of others overshadows the simple beauty of welcome, sharing and loving.”
“Our Christian witness, he said, must not yield to the logic of the world: let’s help each other to choose and live the logic of Christ.”
At the Synod some 180 pastors and lay representatives of the Methodist and Waldensian Churches will be deciding on Church programmes for the coming year, and electing their executive and administrative bodies.
In June 2015, Pope Francis become the first pope in history to visit a Waldensian evangelical church.