Methodist woman leader to meet Pope Benedict

By staff writers
7 Sep 2010

Pope Benedict, who rigorously opposes the ordained ministry of women, will meet the President of the Methodist Conference, the Rev Alison Tomlin, on his UK visit.

Ms Tomlin will travel to Edinburgh on Thursday 16 September 2010 for the pontiff's arrival and Official State Greeting by the Queen at Holyrood Palace.

On Friday, she will be presented to Pope Benedict at Westminster Abbey in London, where Church leaders will join the Archbishop of Canterbury in a celebration of Evening Prayer.

Ms Tomlin commented: “It’s great for the whole Church that Pope Benedict is coming to the UK. It’s really important that the different parts of the Church talk to each other and I am glad other Church leaders have been invited to meet him."

She continued: “Because of my work in spirituality, I meet with a lot of Catholics involved with Ignatian Spirituality, particularly Jesuit priests. The Catholic Church has been more ecumenically engaged in this country than in other countries. It would be good if we could build on that.

“I think it’s important for Methodism that we have been invited to meet The Pope. I do see it as an acknowledgement of the Methodist Church in Britain.”

The official position of the Catholic Church is that Free Church ministry has no priestly status and that Anglican orders, including those of its most senior representatives, are "utterly null and void".

Campaigners for Catholic Women's Ordination have ensured that the Pope's London itinerary will be marked by adverts on London buses encouraging him to admit women to the priesthood.

The Methodist Church is one of the largest Christian churches in Britain, with nearly 265,000 members and regular contact with over 800,000 people. It has around 5,800 local churches.

[Ekk/3]

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