News / Europe

Pope, Anglican Leader Pledge to Seek Unity

Pope Francis exchanges gifts with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, during a private audience at the Vatican on June 14, 2013.
Pope Francis exchanges gifts with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, during a private audience at the Vatican on June 14, 2013.
Reuters
Pope Francis and the new head of the world's Anglicans acknowledged deep differences over issues ranging from gay rights to women priests but pledged to seek unity when they met on Friday for the first time since both took office in March.
 
Relations between the Catholic and Anglican churches have been strained for years, especially over Anglican ordination of women as priests, and the meeting at the Vatican was billed as an opportunity to reduce tensions.
 
Welcoming Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to the Vatican, Francis called for Christians to work together to protect the “foundations of society'' such as respect for human life and the institution of the family built on marriage.
 
Francis was inaugurated as the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics on March 19, following Benedict's abdication, and just two days before Welby officially took over from Rowan Williams as head of the 80-million-strong Anglican Communion.
 
Welby said on Friday he hoped the proximity of the two leaders' inaugurations would “serve the reconciliation of the world and the Church'', while noting the difficulties ahead.
 
“The journey is testing and we cannot be unaware that differences exist about how we bring the Christian faith to bear on the challenges thrown up by modern society,'' he said.
 
Anglican ordination of women is a thorny issue between the two Churches, with the Vatican firmly opposed to female priests, and attempts by Francis' predecessor Benedict to woo disaffected Anglicans back to Catholicism has caused more friction.
 
In 2009, Benedict decreed that Anglicans who feel their Church had become too liberal could find a home in Catholicism in a parallel hierarchy that allows them to keep some of their traditions, such as parts of the Anglican liturgy and the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.
 
It was the boldest step by the Vatican to welcome back Anglicans since King Henry VIII broke with Rome and set himself up at the head of the new Church of England in 1534.
 
Francis said on Friday he was sure the move would help the Catholic world to better appreciate and understand the spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican community.
 
Welby, a former oil industry executive, has inherited a Church which is itself divided over issues such as gay rights and women bishops. He is against gay marriage but favors female ordination, and is stuck in the crossfire between liberal and conservative clerics.
 
In January this year, the Church of England lifted a ban on gay male clergy who live with their partners from becoming bishops on condition they pledge to stay celibate, deepening a rift in the Anglican community over homosexuality.
 
The Church, struggling to remain relevant in modern Britain despite falling numbers of believers, published a plan in May to approve the ordination of women bishops by 2015, after the reform narrowly failed to pass last November.
 
Welby, a pragmatist hardened by years of work as a crisis negotiator in Africa, is seen as more down-to-earth than his academic predecessor. In that way he presents a similar image to Francis, who led an ordinary life close to the poor as Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
 
On Friday both men stressed the need for Christians to help poor people and promote social justice and peace.
 
After addressing the pope and Vatican officials, Welby went on to pray at the tomb of Saint Peter under St. Peter's Basilica.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More