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Archbishop of Canterbury, Pope pray Vespers together

Catholic World News - March 12, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI joined with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, for a Vespers service on March 10, the feast of St. Gregory the Great, at the ancient monastery of San Gregorio al Celio.

In his homily the Pope remarked that it was fitting to share an ecumenical service with the leader of the Anglican communion in this monastery, because it was there “that Pope Gregory chose Augustine and his forty monks and sent them to bring the Gospel to the Angles, a little over 1,400 years ago.” The Pope said that he hoped Anglicans visiting the monastery, and other historic shrines in Rome, would “renew their commitment to pray constantly and to work for unity” in the Church.

Archbishop Williams also spoke of the quest for Christian unity, noting that the current ecumenical bond between the Catholic and Anglican churches is "unstable and incomplete."

The Anglican prelate praised the monastic tradition embodied in the Camaldolese community for which San Gregorio al Celio is the mother-house, noting “the balance in the monastic life of solitude and common work and worship,” and “the inseparable labor of action and contemplation, of solitude and community.”

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  • Posted by: koinonia - Mar. 12, 2012 7:42 PM ET USA

    "One of the hardest, yet most important, lessons the different Christian communities today have to learn is that they cannot live without each other and that no single one of them in isolation possesses the entirety of the Gospel," he said. The Church like all others is incomplete, imperfect. She must continue Her search for Truth in its entirety. What she has to offer is simply not enough. It is a difficult lesson, and one that Gregory, Augustine,More and Fisher might find hard to swallow.

  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Mar. 12, 2012 5:42 PM ET USA

    Don't look now, Archbishop Rowan, but the reconciliation bonds between Rome and the Anglican faith are stronger than ever. Thanks to Benedict XVI, the door is open for Anglicans and Episcopalians everywhere to reunite with Rome, while at the same time retaining most of the Anglican tradition of worship and music.

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