Unity still the goal: Pope Francis talks unification with Archbishop Welby
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/17/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Pope Francis met with the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury at the Vatican on Monday. The meeting was very cordial and both men explained they remain committed to a reunion between their two faiths.
Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby.
VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis told Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby that unification remains one of the goals of the Catholic Church as they seek to find ways to resolve basic differences sown centuries ago. A reunification of the Anglican Church and the Catholic Church would represent a historic undoing of the damage done in the 16th century.
The Church of England was established by English King Henry IV initially sparked by a dispute over his desire to divorce his lawfully wedded wife, Catherine of Aragon. After a series of acts taking several years, the Anglican Church was formed with Henry at its head and the Archbishop of Canterbury representing the religious head of the church.
In the past century, discussion has occurred between the Anglican Church and the Catholic Church regarding reunification. Since both churches agree on most points of doctrine and their split was initially political as opposed to theological, it makes sense the two faiths would grow closer together with time.
Pope Francis described the division between the two faiths "a scandal" and that "The goal of full unity may seem distant indeed, it remains the aim which should direct our every step along the way. 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. Our progress towards full communion will not be the fruit of human actions alone, but a free gift of God. The Holy Spirit gives us the strength not to grow disheartened and he invites us to trust fully in the power of his works."
Most recently, Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby have met to discuss issues common to both churches including a common initiative to eradicate human trafficking. On Monday, Pope Francis reinforced the urgency behind the initiative saying, "In attempting to respond to this urgent need, notable collaborative efforts have been initiated on the ecumenical level and in cooperation with civil authorities and international organizations. Many charitable initiatives have been undertaken by our communities, and they are operating with generosity and courage in various parts of the world. I think in particular of the action network against the trafficking in women set up by a number of women's religious institutes. Let us persevere in our commitment to combat new forms of enslavement, in the hope that we can help provide relief to victims and oppose this deplorable trade. I thank God that, as disciples sent to heal a wounded world, we stand together, with perseverance and determination, in opposing this grave evil."
Archbishop Welby said he was grateful for the progress made in the past year and that the matter remains urgent.
Pope Francis put the solution plain when he said, "Prayer, peace and poverty.we must walk together."
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