(Vatican Radio) Leaders of the World Council of Churches have expressed gratitude for a “very constructive and fruitful meeting with Pope Francis” in the Vatican.
The informal encounter took place on Thursday, during the second day of a visit to Rome by the WCC general secretary , Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit and Central Committee moderator, Dr Agnes Abuom from Kenya.
Listen to Philippa Hitchen’s report:
The two WCC leaders met privately with the pope and the head of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, Cardinal Kurt Koch, focusing on how to deepen relations within the ecumenical movement. They also discussed the challenges of climate change and economic justice, as well as the important role of faith leaders in seeking solutions to conflicts in different parts of the world.
United witness, common service
Speaking after the encounter, Rev. Tveit said, “We are living in a time when the purpose and the objectives of the ecumenical movement are highly relevant. He said: “There is a willingness in the WCC constituencies and beyond, in the Roman Catholic Church, to seek a united witness and a common service” in order to be a more effective voice in our “divided and fragile world.”
The meeting with Pope Francis included prayers for unity, peace and reconciliation. Both sides also expressed the wish to explore opportunities to meet again in 2018.
Climate justice, COP23
The WCC delegation also held talks with Flaminia Giovanelli, under-secretary at the former Pontifical Justice and Peace Council, discussing climate justice and the upcoming COP 23 conference in Bonn, as well as peacebuilding initiatives and a meeting on migration and xenophobia scheduled for December.
On Wednesday the WCC leaders visited the headquarters of the Sant’Egidio community, meeting with two Christian and two Muslim refugees who survived the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean Sea to find jobs in Italy. Rev Fykse Tveit said that many in Europe today see people like them as four problems, or even risks, but instead they are four human beings now contributing to doing work that is needed here in Europe.
The Geneva based World Council of Churches brings together 348 member churches in countries across the globe, with the goal of promoting full unity among all Christians . It includes most of the world's Orthodox churches, as well as Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Reformed, United and Independent churches.
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