Waldensian Review No 126 Summer 2015 - Page 4

Pope Francis asks the Waldensians for Forgiveness in the Name of the Catholic Church On 15 December 1853, while the first Protestant church of Italy outside the Alpine ‘ghetto’ was inaugurated in Turin, the bells of all the other (obviously Roman Catholic) churches were tolling as if for a funeral. Don Bosco (now a saint), though he did a great deal of social work, especially among deprived boys, was a sworn enemy of the Waldensians and never ceased opposing them in every possible way. It was in that very church, itself a great achievement of General Beckwith, who through our Committee raised the money for its construction, that on 22 June this year Pope Francis, on the behalf of the Roman Catholic Church, begged the Waldensians for forgiveness for the ‘un-Christian, even inhuman way’ they were treated over the centuries. The Moderator Eugenio Bernardini welcomed his words on the behalf of the Waldensian Church and underlined that Ecumenism is a work in progress and that the only way forward is recognising and accepting each other’s differences in ‘reconciled diversity’. With them were Oscar Oudri, Moderator of the Waldensian Church of Rio de La Plata, whom Francis knew from his South American days, and who had flown to Turin for the occasion, the minister of the church, pastor Paolo Ribet, the President of the Consistory, Sergio Velluto, and deacon Alessandra Trotta, President of the OPCEMI (the Outreach of the Methodist