Pope Francis met with a delegation from the Salvation Army on Friday, November 8, that included General Brian Peddle and his wife Commissioner Rosalie Peddle. The visit aimed to strengthen relationships and cooperation in areas of mutual concern and service of the poor and marginalized. The first historical visit of Salvation Army leaders in 2014 came at the end of a series of conversations from 2007-2012. In his address Pope Francis recalled this visit and the words of the previous General: “Holiness transcends denominational boundaries.” Catholics and Salvationists, said the Pope, can "increasingly assist one another and cooperate in a spirit of mutual respect and in a life of holiness as well".
The Pope also recounted the first lesson he received in ecumenism from his grandmother: “As I have mentioned on several occasions ... it was by encountering members of the Salvation Army that I received, many years ago, from my grandmother, my first lesson in ecumenism". The Salvationists’ “example of humble service to the least of our brothers and sisters spoke louder than any words.”
General Peddle had a private conversation with Pope Francis before he presented the delegation. In his address to the Pope, he affirmed: “On behalf of Salvationists around the world I wish to encourage Your Holiness to continue to be a clear voice on many complicated matters. The Church should never abdicate its responsibility to find its role in the public square and in the consciousness of the nations.” At the end of the meeting, the General and the delegation prayed with Pope Francis.
The delegation was accompanied by Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, together with Bishop Brian Farrell, Secretary, and Reverend Avelino Gonzalez, Official of the Western Section.
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