New Anglican Leader Says John Paul II Inspired Him

Rowan Williams Praises Pope’s Vision of the Human Person

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ROME, FEB. 27, 2003 ( The new Anglican archbishop of Canterbury said he was inspired by John Paul II’s vision of the human person.

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Rowan Williams said the Pope had outlined a specific vision «on the nature of the human person in the light of Christian theology, and much of what he’s written has been an inspiration for me.»

A theologian and former Welsh archbishop, Dr. Williams was enthroned in Canterbury Cathedral today at the start of his public ministry as head of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

He praised John Paul II for highlighting the common ground shared by Catholics and Anglicans and for «his extraordinary depth of understanding of those theological fundamentals.»

On the Iraqi crisis, the Anglican leader told Vatican Radio it is still possible to avoid a military solution: «I, like other Christian leaders, will want to bring whatever influence we have to bear on the making of that decision, but I still believe it’s a decision that is open.»

Asked if he will have to tone down his activism in his new job — he was arrested in the 1980s during an Ash Wednesday prayer vigil inside a U.S. airbase in Cambridge, England — Dr. Williams said it was «as a mark of penitence for the violence we were all caught up in. That may not be appropriate for an archbishop and I recognize that.»

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