Despite being unable to have their last scheduled meeting in October of 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, the Methodist–Roman Catholic International Commission (MERCIC) was able to complete its eleventh report entitled God in Christ Reconciling: On the Way to Full Communion in Faith, Sacraments, and Mission through a series of plenary (Hong Kong in 2018 and Nairobi in 2019) and drafting meetings. The document was submitted to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith and, with the completion and approval of a commentary prepared by Father Paolo Cocco, OFMCap, this Pontifical Council is now able to be publish the text.
The document examines the Church as a reconciled and reconciling community. Reconciliation pertains to soteriology and so the document examines the way in which reconciliation with God, with neighbour, with oneself and with the whole created order, describes the salvation offered to us in Christ.
As the Church fulfils its calling to take God’s Good News to the peoples of all ages and cultures it brings the revelation it has received into new contexts that pose new questions and demand new expressions of the Church’s one faith. As a result the Church is always a unity of diverse Christians. The report’s second chapter examines the processes whereby both our traditions maintain communion, ensuring unity while allowing legitimate diversity.
Reconciliation was an essential element of the earthly ministry of Jesus and is therefore a ministry which the Church is called to manifest and celebrate in her own life. Chapter three of the document examines the ways in which reconciliation is celebrated liturgically in each of our two communions and chapter four looks at ways that our communions seek to be ministers of reconciliation also in our mission to the world.
The Ecumenical Relationships Committee of the World Methodist Council received the MERCIC report in March 2022 and has commended it for study and publication by WMC member churches. The World Methodist Council will receive and approve the report when it meets in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2024.
Photos | MERCIC at plenary meeting in Hong Kong, 12–19 October 2018 | "Reconciliation" by Margaret Adams Parker (sculpture depicting parable of the two sons [prodigal son]; Duke University, Durham, NC, USA) | Drafting group at Duke University, March 2020.