Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pope, Anglican leader pledge to continue dialogue for unity

From Catholic News Service-

While some pundits have sounded the death knell for ecumenical relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, Pope Benedict XVI and Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, the Anglican spiritual leader, pledged to move forward.

The pope and archbishop met privately at the Vatican for about 20 minutes Nov. 21.

A Vatican statement said the two leaders reiterated "the shared will to continue and to consolidate the ecumenical relationship between Catholics and Anglicans."

And, it said, they discussed the work their representatives were to begin Nov. 23 preparing for a third round of study by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, the body for official theological dialogue.

The statement said the two leaders discussed "recent events affecting relations between the Catholic Church and Anglican Communion," a reference to Pope Benedict's apostolic constitution establishing "personal ordinariates" -- structures similar to dioceses -- for Anglicans who want to enter full communion with the Roman Catholic Church while maintaining some of their Anglican heritage.

The announcement appeared to cause some tension, mainly because Archbishop Williams was not informed about the papal provision until shortly before it was announced publicly in late October.

Despite the Vatican's clear statements that the move was a pastoral response to people who contacted the Vatican seeking to become Catholic, many headlines treated it as the Vatican taking unfair advantage of tensions within the Anglican Communion over the ordination of women as priests and bishops.

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