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Stories of popes from the Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogues

Archbishop Justin meets Pope Francis in Rome
14 June 2013 • Persistent link:
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby greets Pope Francis during visit to Rome

In their first meeting, Archbishop Justin and Pope Francis both spoke this morning of the bonds of “friendship” and “love” between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.

The two leaders agreed that the fruits of this dialogue and relationship have the potential to empower Christians around the world to demonstrate the love of Christ.

The Archbishop and the Pope agreed on the need to build an economic system which promotes “the common good” to help those suffering in poverty.

‘Signs of hope’ in Rome
4 June 2013 • Persistent link:
Pope Francis

The new director of the Anglican Centre in Rome says he sees promising signs for more visible ecumenism in these early days of Pope Francis’s pontificate. The Most Rev. David Moxon, who became ACR’s director on May 23, says he’s been steadily encouraged by symbolic acts, such as the pope’s solicitation of prayers from a diverse crowd in St. Peter’s Square and his washing of at least one non-Christian’s feet during Holy Week. “These are signs of hope in a very down to earth and genuine way,” Archbishop Moxon said via email from Rome. In addition to his role as director, Moxon is the Archbishop of Canterbury’s representative to the Holy See.

Roman vespers unite Pope, Archbishop of Canterbury in prayer
12 March 2012 • Persistent link:
Pope Benedict XVI and Archbishop of Canterbury Williams prayed together and lit candles in the chapel of St. Gregory following a March 10 service at San Gregorio Magna al Celio in Rome to mark the 1000th anniversary of the founding of Italy's Camaldoli monastic community

Anglicans and Roman Catholics share a somewhat turbulent history, but differences were brushed aside March 10 when Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Pope Benedict XVI prayed together during an ecumenical vespers service at San Gregorio Magna al Celio in Rome.

The service marked the 1000th anniversary of the founding of Italy’s Camaldoli monastic community, which includes a presence at San Gregorio, a site of major significance to the origins of the Church of England.

Both Christian leaders, who held a private meeting earlier in the day to discuss human rights issues and concerns for the Holy Land, delivered a homily during the vespers and lit candles together in the chapel of St. Gregory.

Echoing the words of his two predecessors, Williams described the relationship between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church as “certain yet imperfect” during a sermon that extolled St. Gregory’s virtues of humility and prophecy.

“‘Certain’ because of the shared ecclesial vision to which both our communions are committed … a vision of the restoration of full sacramental communion,” he said. “And ‘yet imperfect’ because of the limit of our vision, a deficit in the depth of our hope and patience.” [The full text of the archbishop’s homily is available here.]

The pope, according to a Vatican Radio translation of his address, which was delivered in Italian, expressed hope that “the sign of our presence here together in front of the holy altar, where Gregory himself celebrated the eucharistic sacrifice, will remain not only as a reminder of our fraternal encounter, but also as a stimulus for all the faithful – both Catholic and Anglican – encouraging them … to renew their commitment to pray constantly and to work for unity. …” [The full text of the pope’s homily is available here.]

Catholics and Anglicans
4 October 2003 • Persistent link:

When Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher returned from his historic visit to Pope John XXIII in 1960 he reported that the Holy Father asked him when the Anglicans would come back to the Catholic Church. Fisher replied: ‘We cannot come back but we can go forward together.’ At the time this revelation stunned and excited both Anglicans and Catholics. It appeared to mark one the most hopeful moments in the 424 bitter years since Henry VIII broke with Rome and changed the ‘Church in England’ into ‘the Church of England’

On reflection the comment raises more questions than it answers about the one Church that existed before the schism, and about the Churches that might be going ‘forward together’. If there is no going back to the oneness of the Church before 1534, in what sense will the Churches be one in the new togetherness?

A glance at the early Church in Britain, and a more detailed look at some of the various manoeuvrings toward going ‘forward together’ can give us a somewhat better understanding of the difficulties involved.

Ramsey Meets Pope in Sistine Chapel
23 March 1966 • Persistent link:

Pope Paul VI today received the archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Michael Ramsey, for the first official meeting between the heads of the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches since the 16th century.

Several hours before the historic meeting in the Vatican, three Protestant demonstrators from Britain heckled the archbishop at a Holy Communion service in the All Saints Anglican church in Rome.

The three, two of them Baptist ministers, stood up at the completion of Ramsey’s sermon and exposed aprons emblazoned, “Archbishop a Traitor to Protestant Britain.”

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