Pope Francis met on Nov. 6 with a group of evangelicals from the World Evangelical Alliance. As a former evangelical, I have great hopes for moves towards unity that are guided by a prayerful, ever-deeper conversion to Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, whose task it is to reveal Truth to us, to sanctify us in Christ and to bring about unity.
In seeking union, the One True Church would require Evangelicals to accept Catholic doctrine regarding Sacraments (as well as other issues and dogmas), or instead the Evangelicals would require the One True Church to abandon Her Sacraments (and Her dogma).Given that the Evangelicals do not celebrate or even recognise most, if not all Sacraments proclaimed by the Catholic Church for mankind’s Salvation, exactly how are these communities to ‘celebrate the Sacraments’ together with the Church? There is, as Pope Francis said, only one which they share in common. Unless our understanding of Holy Communion is to radically change in order to remove the ‘Holy’ from the ‘Communion’, exactly how are Evangelicals and Catholics destined to ‘celebrate the Sacraments’ together? Does this Pope believe that the Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ or not? After consecration it is not, after all, ‘a little bread and wine’ that ‘does no harm’. The Church accepts as valid those Baptisms performed by ‘ecclesial communities’ in as much as the Catholic Church says that those Baptised who are not Catholics exist as Christians in an ‘imperfect communion’ with the Catholic Church, the Pope and the Bishops.In order for ‘full communion’ to exist between the Catholic Church and Evangelicals, Evangelicals would need to accept the entire Doctrine of the Catholic Church and profess belief in it.