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Pope, Archbishop of Canterbury sign joint pledge to work for unity

October 05, 2016

Pope Francis and Dr. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, jointly presided at a Vespers service on October 5, and signed a statement affirming their commitment to ecumenical progress.

At the ecumenical service, Pope Francis called upon all bishops—Catholic and Anglican alike—to “work as instruments of communion, always and everywhere.”

“We recognize ourselves as brothers who belong to different traditions, but are driven by the same Gospel to undertake the same mission in the world,” the Pope said.

Dr. Welby, in his remarks at the Vespers service, cautioned against conflicts among bishops, which he likened to “gladiatorial combat, in which the losers are shown no mercy.”

During the service the two prelates signed a joint statement, affirming: “Catholics and Anglicans recognize that we are heirs of the treasure of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the call to share that treasure with the whole world.”

The joint statement recognized the “serious obstacles” to unity between Catholics and Anglicans, notably the Anglican decision to ordain women as priests and bishops. Nevertheless, citing the example set by Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey of Canterbury in beginning ecumenical dialogue in 1966, they promised to continue dilaogue “in fidelity to the Lord’s prayer that his disciples may be one.”

The ecumenical service was held at the church of St. Gregory, the Pontiff who sent St. Augustine of Canterbury on his mission to bring the Gospel to England.

 
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  • Posted by: koinonia - Oct. 06, 2016 12:52 PM ET USA

    "Is it not right,... indeed, even consonant with duty, that all who invoke the name of Christ should abstain from mutual reproaches and at long last be united in mutual charity? All Christians, ... should be as "one": for then they would be much more powerful in driving out the pest of irreligion,... But in reality beneath these enticing words and blandishments lies hid a most grave error, by which the foundations of the Catholic faith are completely destroyed." Pope Pius XI is pretty clear.

  • Posted by: wsw33410 - Oct. 05, 2016 7:58 PM ET USA

    How the exposition of CHRISTA in NY Episcopal church will bring unity and ecumenism ... according to Francis' wish?

  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Oct. 05, 2016 6:33 PM ET USA

    We can pray with 'em, sing with 'em, worship with 'em and do all kinds of other things with 'em. We cannot be one with 'em because of their decision to ordain persons who cannot act in persona christi. Anglicans bring many gifts -- chiefly their music and choral tradition. The ability to confect bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is not one of these gifts. I say this with great sadness because it was the Episcopal church that showed me where to find the true church.