A momentous meeting between the President of the Mormon Church and Pope Francis shows “at the moment there are things that are more important” than some big theological differences.
The Mormon Church is officially called The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints (LDS). Ireland’s spokesperson John Connolly said that although LDS Church baptisms are not recognised by many “mainstream” Christian Churches and some fundamental beliefs such as the nature of the Trinity are completely different, the meeting overcame this.
In the first ever face-to-face meeting between the heads of the Churches, Pope Francis met President Russell Nelson. The 14 elders who make up the leadership of the LDS church also attended.
“The doctrinal differences are there and they are real and important it’s what makes different belief systems unique in themselves,” said Mr Connolly.
“The thing that President Nelson did say to the Holy Father, and I’m paraphrasing, was that at the moment there are things that are more important than that: working together to relieve poverty, to support families and marriage, focusing on how much can be had having faith in Jesus Christ.”
Although there may have been friction between the Churches half a century ago, he says, this has cooled off in recent times. Nowadays the Church and the LDS Church work together in dozens of countries to relieve poverty.
“What’s the second great commandment? To love your neighbour as yourself, I think on that one the Catholic Church, our Church, the other Christian churches, even the non-Christian denominations like Islam very much take the view that we should be our brother’s keeper,” said Mr Connolly.
The meeting itself was a “culmination of many years efforts” he added. Currently there are 7,500 Latter-day Saints in Ireland across 23 congregations.
There are around 50-60 full-time missionaries at any one time.
Hundreds of Irish-born members have also volunteered similarly in other parts of the world according to Mr Connolly.