Pope, Anglican Leader Talk Theology, Mideast Peace

Archbishop Affirms Christians’ Right to Public Square

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

LONDON, SEPT. 17, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI and Archbishop Rowan Williams spoke of matters of mutual concern to their respective faiths today, including the theology of communion and the plight of Christians in the Middle East.

The Pope met with the archbishop today on the second day of his four-day trip to the United Kingdom. A joint communiqué released after the event revealed some of what they discussed during their private meeting.

«They affirmed the need to proclaim the Gospel message of salvation in Jesus Christ, both in a reasoned and convincing way in the contemporary context of profound cultural and social transformation, and in lives of holiness and transparency to God,» the communiqué noted.

It added that they spoke of the importance of improved ecumenical relations, and continuing theological dialogue, particularly on the notion of the church as communion.

They spoke together of the Christians in the Middle East and expressed the need for all Christians to pray for the support of those faithful.

«In the light of their recent public interventions, they also discussed the need to promote a courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace, especially the needs of the poor, urging international leadership to fight hunger and disease,» the communiqué added.

Archbishop’s greeting

Before their private meeting, both the archbishop and the Pope gave speeches to the Anglican and Catholic bishops gathered for the event.

The archbishop spoke of the bishops’ task to «respond to the various trends in our cultural environment that seek to present Christian faith as both an obstacle to human freedom and a scandal to human intellect.»

«We do not as churches seek political power or control, or the dominance of Christian faith in the public sphere; but the opportunity to testify, to argue, sometimes to protest, sometimes to affirm — to play our part in the public debates of our societies,» he said. «And we shall, of course, be effective not when we have mustered enough political leverage to get our way but when we have persuaded our neighbors that the life of faith is a life well lived and joyfully lived.»

Archbishop Williams also spoke of Cardinal John Henry Newman, a 19th-century Anglican pastor who converted to Catholicism. The Pope will beatify the cardinal on Sunday.

The archbishop said: «In 1845, when John Henry Newman finally decided that he must follow his conscience and seek his future in serving God in communion with the See of Rome, one of his most intimate Anglican friends and allies, the priest Edward Bouverie Pusey, […] wrote a moving meditation on this ‘parting of friends’ in which he said of the separation between Anglicans and Roman Catholics: ‘it is what is unholy on both sides that keeps us apart.’

«That should not surprise us: holiness is at its simplest fellowship with Christ; and when that fellowship with Christ is brought to maturity, so is our fellowship with one another. […] Perhaps we shall not quickly overcome the remaining obstacles to full, restored communion; but no obstacles stand in the way of our seeking […] more ways in which to build up one another in holiness by prayer and public celebration together, by closer friendship, and by growing together both in the challenging work of service for all whom Christ loves, and mission to all God has made.»

— — —

On ZENIT’s Web page:

Text of joint communiqué: www.zenit.org/article-30384?l=english

Text of Archbishop William’s address: www.zenit.org/article-30392?l=english

Text of Benedict XVI’s address: www.zenit.org/article-30381?l=english

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation