Venerdì, 19 Ottobre 2018
VATICAN CITY

Pope discusses search for unity with Anglican head

English
© ANSA

(By Kate Carlisle) Vatican City, June 14 - Pope Francis
borrowed from the words of Pope Paul VI to greet the head of the
Anglican church on Friday for their first-ever meeting in
Vatican City.
The pontiff told the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin
Welby, that he was not a stranger merely stopping by the Holy
See.
"Your steps have not brought you to a foreign dwelling...we
are pleased to open the doors to you, and with the doors, our
heart, pleased and honoured as we are ... to welcome you not as
a guest or a stranger, but as a fellow citizen of the Saints and
the Family of God," Pope Francis said repeating the words of
Pope Paul VI, when he addressed Archbishop Michael Ramsey during
his historic visit.
Ramsey visited Pope Paul VI in 1966 and was received in the
Sistine chapel.
During the visit, the pontiff removed his episcopal ring
and placed it on the Archbishop of Canterbury's finger where it
remained until his death.
Pope Francis noted that the two began their respective
ministries within days of each other.
"I know that during Your Grace's installation in Canterbury
Cathedral you remembered in prayer the new Bishop of Rome. I am
deeply grateful to you," Francis said.
"I think we will always have a particular reason to support
one another in prayer," he said.
Archbishop Welby also remembered the proximity of their
appointments, saying "I pray that the nearness of our two
inaugurations may serve the reconciliation of the world and the
Church".
"As you have stressed, we must promote the fruits of our
dialogue; and, with our fellow bishops, we must give expression
to our unity in faith through prayer and evangelisation," Welby
said.
Pope Francis, who was elected the head of the world's 1.2
billion Catholics after Benedict XVI stepped down in February
due to "advanced age", noted that the history of relations
between the Church of England and the Catholic Church "is long
and complex, and not without pain".
"Recent decades, however, have been marked by a journey of
rapprochement and fraternity, and for this we give heartfelt
thanks to God," Francis said.
"Today's meeting is an opportunity to remind ourselves that
the search for unity among Christians is prompted not by
practical considerations, but by the will of the Lord Jesus
Christ himself, who made us his brothers and sisters, children
of the One Father," said the pope, who has often reached out to
other denominations and religions since being elected.
Pope Francis said he was ''grateful'' for the Church of
England's reaction to Vatican rules helping Anglicans join the
Roman Catholic Church.
The pontiff expressed gratitude for ''the sincere effort
the Church of England has shown in understanding the reasons
which led my predecessor Pope Benedict XVI to offer a canonical
structure able to respond to the demands of those groups of
Anglicans that asked to be received, also as a corporation,
within the Catholic Church''.
A new section of the Catholic Church in which converted
Anglicans can gather was created in 2009 and called
''Anglicanorum Coetibus'', Apostolic Constitution in Latin.
This allows Anglicans to become Catholic while retaining
some of their traditions and practices.
It came as a response to demands from more conservative
Anglicans, unhappy with progressive developments, such as
proposals to have women bishops, for an easier, large-scale way
to convert.
The Holy See had previously approached conversion demands
on a case-by-case basis.
''I am sure that this will enable the Catholic world to
improve its knowledge of the spiritual, liturgical and pastoral
traditions that make up the Anglican heritage'', said the
pontiff.
With some 77 million members, the Anglican Communion is the
third largest Christian communion after the Roman Catholic and
the Eastern Orthodox churches.

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