We must not abandon goal of full communion

For the second time in his pontificate, Pope Francis has met with Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, the primate of the Church of England and spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion.

Jun 27, 2014

VATICAN: For the second time in his pontificate, Pope Francis has met with Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, the primate of the Church of England and spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion.

“The Lord’s question-- ‘What were you arguing about on the way?’ (Mk 9:33)-- might also apply to us,” Pope Francis said during their June 16 meeting. “When Jesus put this question to his disciples they were silent; they were ashamed, for they had been arguing about who was the greatest among them. We too feel ashamed when we ponder the distance between the Lord’s call and our meager response. Beneath his merciful gaze, we cannot claim that our division is anything less than a scandal and an obstacle to our proclaiming the Gospel of salvation to the world.”

“The goal of full unity may seem distant indeed, yet it remains the aim which should direct our every step along the way,” he continued. “I find a source of encouragement in the plea of the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism that we should advance in our relationship and cooperation by placing no obstacle to the ways of divine providence and by not prejudicing future promptings of the Holy Spirit (cf. Unitatis Redintegratio, 24). Our progress towards full communion will not be the fruit of human actions alone, but a free gift of God.”

The Pope stated that official dialogues are “especially significant forums for examining, in a constructive spirit, older and newer challenges to our ecumenical engagement.” Referring to human trafficking, he expressed gratitude that “we stand together, with perseverance and determination, in opposing this grave evil.”

The Pope concluded by asking Archbishop Welby not to forget the “three p[’s]”: “prayer, peace and poverty. We must walk together.”

In his address, Archbishop Welby expressed appreciation for the witness offered by Pope Francis.

“With so many around the world I am profoundly grateful for your remarkable witness of care for the poor and suffering of the world, for your passion for reconciliation, as witnessed so recently in your visit to the Holy Land,” he said. “Calling the faithful to pray for peace and reconciliation and doing that publicly is a witness to the power of prayer, one that I have sought to imitate … Your apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium was inspirational for all Christians. The task of making disciples is of compelling urgency so that the light of Christ may shine into every corner of the world.”--CWN

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