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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid