When Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina became Pope Francis in 2013, the Mormons (a nickname for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) issued a statement of welcome.
On behalf of the leadership and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we extend our warmest wishes to His Holiness Pope Francis and pray he will feel the peace of the Lord as he serves as pontiff of the Catholic Church.
“We have been honored and pleased as our two faiths have worked together on issues of faith, morality, and service to the poor and needy. We value the relationships that have been formed in these joint efforts and are grateful for the good that has been accomplished.
“We look forward to pursuing together, as the Apostle Paul wrote, all things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report.”
Mormons and Catholics, while differing on some doctrinal issues, share many common beliefs in the areas of humanitarianism and morality. They have worked together to fight to protect religious freedom, traditional families, and the right of a child to be born. They understand that two groups that share a belief that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world need not always agree on the details in order to work as a team to change the world for the better.
Mormons and Catholics Fight for Human Rights
Both Mormons and Catholics support the rights of unborn children. In a recent speech, Pope Francis said, “Every child that isn’t born, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of Jesus Christ, has the face of the Lord.”
Mormons allow abortion under certain rare circumstances:
“The Church opposes abortion and counsels its members not to submit to or perform an abortion except in the rare cases where, in the opinion of competent medical counsel, the life or good health of the mother is seriously endangered or where the pregnancy was caused by rape and produces serious emotional trauma in the mother. Even then it should be done only after counseling with the local presiding priesthood authority and after receiving divine confirmation through prayer.”
Recent efforts to protect children by preserving traditional families have also brought Catholics and Mormons onto common ground. Both have been tireless workers in the efforts to keep family life under the definition provided by God, a definition which increases a child’s chances of growing up with both biological parents in the home and having the benefits of having parents of both genders. Both have participated in legal efforts to protect families and to teach their own members to honor the roles given them by God.
Mormons and Catholics Partner for Humanitarian Causes
Catholics and Mormons often partner in responding to natural disasters. Often, the Catholics have people and charity organizations already in place, allowing the Church to provide the materials that can then be distributed by Catholics who have the knowledge of how best to reach the right people. An example of this can be found in the 2011 flooding in the Philippines, which was caused by a massive typhoon. Mormons sent in an initial 600 bags of rice from their storehouses, with more shipments of supplies coming later. They delivered the rice to Pampanga, where the Social Action Center of Pampanga (SACOP) of the Archdiocese of San Fernando Pampanga distributed it to those in need, using the resources they had long since developed. Then, both Mormons and Catholics gathered together to package the rice into smaller portions and the Mormons helped the Catholics hand it out to those in need.
During a joint effort to provide toys and clothing for an orphanage in the Dominican Republic, Andrea Vasquez of Catholic Social Services said, “The churches are working together regardless of race, color, or religion to help the needy because that is the labor that Jesus Christ wants—that we work together for those that need it the most,”.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.