131. The Joint Commission between the Roman Catholic Church
and the World Methodist Council has existed for thirty years. Its
work has passed through at least two generations. The first need
was for mutual acquaintance; and for a decade and more, the Commission
engaged in this by way of self-introduction and the preliminary
tackling together of doctrinal, ethical and pastoral issues that
were being faced on the wider ecumenical scene. A second stage developed
as the attempt was made to sketch broad theological perspectives,
acceptable to both Roman Catholics and Methodists, in which it would
eventually become possible to treat the matters which divide us.
The Commission believes that a considerable commonality of outlook
has been established in the areas of Pneumatology (1981 Report),
Ecclesiology (1986 Report), the Apostolic Tradition (1991 Report),
and now Revelation and Faith (1996 Report).
132. The time may have come for concentration, in the directions
thus shown, on some of those more detailed questions that have recurrently
caused difficulty among us. In particular, future study could address
the related topics of pastoral and doctrinal authority, the offices
of oversight in the Church and succession in them, and the offer
made by Rome of a Petrine ministry in the service of unity and communion.
We should thus be encouraged to pursue, more immediately and at
a deeper level, the understanding that we both have of ourselves
and of our partners in respect to the one Church of Jesus Christ
and the communion which belongs to the body of Christ.
[Information Service 92 (1996/III) 108-125]