Catholics and Anglicans: What more can we do?

A Catholic and Anglican Bishop pray together

This week Pope Francis referred to the division between Catholics and Anglicans as nothing less than a 'scandal'. Here, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, offers his own reflections on the Anglican-Catholic divide.

- Excerpt from the text of Archbishop Justin Welby's address to Pope Francis during their meeting in Rome, June 16.

Your Holiness, much has happened in the year since I first received your gracious hospitality here.

I am grateful for the progress that has been made through the generous support of many, to draw to the attention of the world to the evils of modern slavery and human trafficking...

With so many around the world, I am profoundly grateful for your remarkable witness of care for the poor and suffering of the world, for your passion for reconciliation, as witnessed so recently in your visit to the Holy Land.

Calling the faithful to pray for peace and reconciliation, and doing that publicly, is a witness to the power of prayer, one that I have sought to imitate.

Such prayers are urgent and vital in so many countries. I especially hope and pray that our collaboration may lead to effective challenge to the unspeakable disaster of wars and civil conflict.

In recent months, I have travelled with my wife to many of them, into the heart of the areas of war, and the memory of the dead lying unburied and the suffering of the survivors is imprinted on our hearts. What more could be done by our churches together to challenge the resort to war and offer the dream of peace?

Your Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium was inspirational for all Christians. The task of making disciples is of compelling urgency so that the light of Christ may shine into every corner of the world...

As we remember the precious spiritual heritage that is common to us, both. I pray for the continuing work of the members of the official groups who conduct our ecumenical conversations.

Remembering always the desire of Our Lord that 'all may be one,' we remain deeply committed to this work.

I realise that that there are matters of deep significance that separate us. Yet looking back, we see that the Grace of God has led so much to happen.

In November this year, it will be 50 years since the decree on ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio, was promulged by your blessed Pope Paul VI, and it is right that I should pay tribute to the work of the Holy See through the Pontifical Council for Promoting Unity through these fifty years towards the goal of full visible unity.

In 2016 we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Archbishop Ramsey's historic visit, commemorated in the ring given him by Pope Paul VI.

Your Holiness when we first met, I expressed the hope that we might find ways to strengthen what we share, and that we might seek opportunities as pastors of the Christian family to pray, act and speak together.

I am glad that there have been opportunities as well for me and His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols to do just that.

Read full address: Archbishop Justin's address to Pope Francis (

Read Address of Pope Francis to Archbishop Welby (


Welby and Francis have jump-started ecumenism out of theological cul-de-sacs (The Tablet)

Catholic, Anglican Churches Confront Human Trafficking (America)

Pope, Anglican archbishop urge joint action to share God's love (Catholic News Service)

Archbishop and Pope join forces to tackle people-trafficking (BBC)

Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby discuss ways of working for unity (Vatican Radio)

Unity is distant but still our goal, Pope tells Anglican leader (The Catholic Herald)

Archbishop of Canterbury names Pope his 'person of the year' (BBC)


Pope to Anglican Primate: Our division is nothing less than a scandal and burden (Rome Reports/YouTube)

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