Jeremy calls me a Catholic-lite. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s my high church, high sacrament, covenantal view of the Christian faith. I dunno… But, as I have long, long, long recognized, Jeremy is really just Methodist-squared.
This joint letter by World Methodist Council and Rome is proof of my assumptions.
This is now the eighth report to be issued from the international dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the World Methodist Council which began almost immediately after the end of the Second Vatican Council. The reports have appeared at five-yearly intervals for simultaneous presentation to the quinquennial meetings of the World Methodist Council and to the Holy See.
To quote from Pope John Paul II’s encyclical letter of 1995, Ut Unum Sint: “Dialogue is not simply an exchange of ideas. In some way it is always an ‘exchange of gifts'” (28). For the past four decades our Catholic-Methodist dialogue has devoted most attention to the “exchange of ideas”. That was necessary, given “the fundamental importance of doctrine” for the sake of truth (Ut Unum Sint, 18). In various informal ways, however, an “exchange of gifts” has already started to occur between Catholics and Methodists. The present report now offers a theologically responsible reading of our separate and common histories and our shared and respective doctrines as a basis for the more deliberate exchange of gifts that can be envisaged. Indeed, practical recommendations are made for an immediate exchange of some such gifts, while the prospect is opened up for other gifts that might be exchanged in the longer term.
The report of 2006 may be seen as a further stage on the way to keeping the promise contained in the title of the report of 1986: Towards a Statement on the Church. That report clearly formulated the final goal as “full communion in faith, mission, and sacramental life” (20). To that end, the dialogue of ideas must continue, with a view to reaching what the report of 1991, The Apostolic Tradition, envisaged as a “doctrinal consensus”. The latter report noted that reaching the unity we seek will then “depend upon a fresh creative act of reconciliation which acknowledges the manifold yet unified activity of the Holy Spirit throughout the ages. It will involve a joint act of obedience to the sovereign Word of God” (94). Resulting from the “exchange of ideas”, the present report offers progress towards “doctrinal consensus”; by its practical proposals for a more deliberate “exchange of gifts”, it seeks to prepare also for the “act of reconciliation” that will seal our unity. There are pointers in the present report to the topics in the faith and life of the Church that could occupy the Commission in the next round of dialogue as it continues to pursue “doctrinal consensus” and encourage readiness for a decisive “act of reconciliation” between Catholics and Methodists.
Our dialogue has always been surrounded by prayer, both within the Joint Commission and from others who also are committed to rebuilding the full visible unity of Christ’s Church. We beg that such attention and concern may accompany this report and any continuation of our work. Meanwhile we invite studious engagement with this present text both in its theological foundations and in its proposals for implementation.
You’ll just have to read more of it, I reckon.
- Methodist minister silenced on Israel (thejc.com)
- Introducing The Newest Player In The Immigration Status Debate: God (businessinsider.com)
- A Methodist With a Puzzle About Papal Infallibility (billpeddie.wordpress.com)
- Methodists used to be here (johnmeunier.wordpress.com)