In a press release today, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity states that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will be in Rome to visit Pope Francis on Friday, 14 June.
“This brief visit”, reads the release, “is of particular interest since it is the first meeting of the Archbishop and the Pope since their inaugurations, which took place at about the same time, just over two months ago.”
“This visit is an opportunity for the Archbishop and Pope Francis to review the present state of relations between the Roman Catholic Church and Anglican Communion. In particular, the interest shown by Archbishop Welby in global justice and the ethical regulation of financial markets so that they do not oppress men and women, is echoed in the constant teaching of the Holy Father. Ever since his experience as an executive in an oil company, Archbishop Welby has placed great emphasis on reconciliation, and has continued to press for the resolution of conflicts within the Church and society. This also evokes Pope Francis’ own call to build bridges between people of every nation, so that they may be seen not as rivals and threats, but as brothers and sisters.”
“Anglicans and Catholics also must work together to provide clear moral guidance to society and Archbishop Justin has collaborated closely with the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, to safeguard marriage and other Christian values in society. It is a sign of their close relations that Archbishop Nichols will accompany the Archbishop of Canterbury on this visit.”
“Following the audience, and brief speeches, there will be a short service of mid-day prayer presided over by the Holy Father and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Earlier in the day, at the Archbishop’s own request, he will visit the Excavations beneath St Peter’s Basilica to pray at the tomb of St Peter, as his predecessor Archbishop Rowan Williams did on his first visit to Rome. He has also asked particularly for a time of prayer before the tomb of Blessed John Paul II. Following this, Archbishop Welby will call upon Cardinal Koch at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, to renew the acquaintance made at the time of the Archbishop’s inauguration at Canterbury, and to learn about the workings of the Pontifical Council.”