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Pope receives Anglican head

14 June, 2013 - Pope Francis on Friday welcomed in the Vatican the spiritual leader of Anglicans worldwide and expressed satisfaction that in their quest for full communion, the two Churches are committed to promoting Christians values, social justice and peace and reconciliation in the world. Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, the leader of the Anglican Communion, that has some 85 million faithful worldwide, met Pope Francis for their first time, after his election on Jan. 10. The 57-year old Welby was unable to attend the inauguration of Pope Francis on March 19th, as his own installation ceremony was held in Canterbury Cathedral, England, two days later. The Anglican communion has its roots in the Church of England, which split from the Roman Catholic Church in 1534 when English King Henry VIII was refused a marriage annulment. Pope Francis expressed satisfaction for the “rapprochement and fraternity” between Catholics and Anglicans, especially in theological dialogue, through the work of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, and a spirit of profound mutual respect and sincere cooperation. The search for unity among Christians, he said, is prompted not by practical considerations, but by the will of the Lord Jesus Christ himself. Pope Francis particularly appreciated their common witness to the reference to God and the promotion of Christian values in the world, such as in the respect for the sacredness of human life or the importance of the institution of the family built on marriage. Pope Francis also commended the quest for greater social justice, to build an economic system that is at the service of man and promotes the common good … especially by “giving a voice to the cry of the poor, so that they are not abandoned to the laws of an economy that seems at times to treat people as mere consumers.” The Holy Father also appreciated Archbishop Welby’s commitment to foster reconciliation and resolution of conflicts between nations, especially in urging authorities to find a peaceful solution to the Syrian conflict such as would guarantee the security of the entire population, including the minorities, not least among whom are the ancient local Christian communities.


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