Catholics and Methodists can still learn from one another how holiness is lived and understood, Pope Francis has said.
Religious leaders must also ensure that members of both congregations “meet regularly, come to know one another and encourage one another to seek the Lord and his grace”.
The Pope met at the Vatican with members of the World Methodist Council, the Methodist Council of Europe and the Methodist Church in Britain who attended the opening of the new Methodist Ecumenical Office in Rome.
The centre, he said, is a sign of a “growing closeness” between the two churches and the desire to “overcome all that stands in the way of our full communion”.
“May the Lord bless the work of the office and make it a place where Catholics and Methodists can encounter one another and grow in appreciation of one another’s faith, whether they be groups of pilgrims, those training for ministry, or those who guide their communities,” the Pope said.
While differences remain, the Pope said that continued dialogue “based on respect and fraternity” continues to enrich both communities.
Citing the words of John Wesley, one of the founders of Methodism, the Pope said members of both communities must help one another “in whatever leads to the kingdom”.
Although Catholics and Methodists cannot “yet think alike in all things, at least we may love alike,” he added.
“None of these differences constitutes such an obstacle as to prevent us from loving in the same way and offering a common witness to the world,” the pope said.
“Our lives of holiness must always include a loving service to the world; Catholics and Methodists together are bound to work in different ways in order to give concrete witness to the love of Christ.”