Waldensians to Reciprocate Pope’s Visit
This coming Saturday, the Waldensian Moderator and nine other pastors and lay people will visit the pope at the Vatican. The following is taken from an official statement about the upcoming visit.
“It is with joy and a spirit of family affection that we will return the historic visit the pope made to us on June 22, 2015, in the Waldensian Church in Turin, a place that still symbolizes the Waldensian emancipation after 1848.” With these words, Moderator Eugenio Bernardini announced a meeting that will take place March 5 at which, for the first time in history, a delegation from the Waldensian and Methodist churches will meet with a pope at the Vatican.
In a statement released Tuesday, the Moderator said that the meeting would give new content to an ecumenical dialogue which, with the support of Pope Francis, has already grown visibly. The Moderator emphasized he was referring not only to doctrinal statements agreed to jointly by both Waldensians and Catholics but also to the need for a new and more welcoming Christian mission in an increasingly pluralistic and secular world. He spoke about an “ecumenism in service” which is bringing Catholics and Protestants together as never before in a common commitment to build a world which is more able to foster dialogue and justice. Elaborating further, the Moderator referred to common efforts to welcome refugees and protect the rights of immigrants.
The delegation Moderator Bernardini that will be leading will include both pastors and lay people. The members of the delegation are Greetje van der Veer, Aldo Lausarot, Luca Anziani, Jens Hansen, Lothar Vogel, former Moderator Maria Bonafede, Raul Matta, Claudio Paravati and Paolo Naso. Following the audience, the delegation will have lunch at the Santa Marta guest house in the Vatican.
In the past, Waldensian representatives have often been part of ecumenical delegations that have met with a pope. This is the first time an Italian Waldensian and Methodist delegation has met with a pope not as members of a larger ecumenical group.