In a private meeting on December 14, Bp Efraim Tendero, Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), and Pope Francis discussed how to strengthen the promotion of religious freedom around the world. It is believed that some 100 million Christians face some form of discrimination or persecution daily for their faith in Jesus Christ. Furthermore, they also discussed the potential of a closer partnership in promoting the distribution of and engagement with the Bible, especially among the youth, and addressing social justice issues.
“We want to see this world to be a place where peace, justice and righteousness reign, where everyone has a decent standard of living, and where Jesus Christ is recognized as Lord of all,” Bp Tendero said.
While recognizing the continuing differences in theological perspectives between evangelical Christians and Catholics, the WEA has for many years engaged in dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church and explored areas of common concerns, especially the potential of cooperation on moral and social issues.
During the visit, WEA’s delegation that also included Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher, Associate Secretary General for Theological Concerns, and Dr. Tom Johnson, Religious Freedom Ambassador to the Vatican, presented several gifts to Pope Francis: a handbook on evangelicals around the world; a jar of wild honey from the Tribal Christian leaders from Bp Tendero’s home province in the Philippines; and a CD for the Pope’s upcoming 81st birthday on December 17; among other gifts.