Methodist Delegation Visiting the Holy See

To Continue Theological Dialogue, Says Vatican

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 7, 2005 ( A top-level delegation of the World Methodist Council is in Rome to meet with Benedict XVI and his aides in the Holy See.

The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity revealed the news in a communiqué.

The objectives of the visit are «to renew the commitment and further relations with the Catholic Church» and «to continue with theological dialogue,» the communiqué said.

The dialogue takes place through the Catholic-Methodist Mixed International Commission, established in 1967, in the wake of the Second Vatican Council.

The delegation is headed by the Methodist Council’s president, Bishop Sunday Mbang of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, and includes the secretary-general, the Reverend George Freeman of the United States.

The delegation is being accompanied during their visit by Catholic Bishop Michael Putney of Townsville, Australia, a member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and co-president of the official Catholic-Methodist theological dialogue.

The visit will end Saturday, after a private audience with Benedict XVI. The Methodist delegation has asked to attend the Mass presided over this Thursday by the Pope for the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Thursday also marks the 40th anniversary of the close of Vatican II.

The World Methodist Council embraces 76 Methodist communions; it meets in general assembly every five years. The next meeting will be in Seoul, South Korea, in July.

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