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Pope to Anglican Primate: Our division is nothing less than a scandal and burden

2014-06-16

"It's always good to see you.”

For the second time, Pope Francis welcomed the head of the Anglican Church, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, at the Vatican's Apostolic Palace.

"It's an exceptional pleasure to see you again.”

The archbishop was in Rome on a three-day tour. It included a review of the progress made by the Global Freedom Network, a joint Catholic-Anglican project to counter human trafficking. It's been one of the areas of greatest cooperation between the two Churches.  

Archbishop Welby introduced his delegation, which included two female priests. 

"The main force in Africa...”

In his address to the Pope, the Anglican leader expressed his desire to achieve full communion between the two Churches. He also praised their cooperation to promote peace and reconciliation.

MOST REV. JUSTIN WELBY
Archbishop of Canterbury
"I marvel at the way God guides frail human vessels to be bearers of the message of salvation, leaving us a legacy across hundreds of years, to which we in our time are called to be faithful.  We also know that from the start, as for so many at this time, this has been a witness unto death.”

For his part, during his speech, Pope Francis asked the archbishop not to forget the three P's: prayer, peace and poverty, for which they must walk together, he added. The Pope also talked about their shared history, which includes not only, cooperation, but also division.

POPE FRANCIS
"We cannot claim that our division is anything less than a scandal and an obstacle to our proclaiming the Gospel of salvation to the world. Our vision is often blurred by the cumulative burden of our divisions and our will is not always free of that human ambition which can accompany even our desire to preach the Gospel as the Lord commanded.” 

They followed their speeches with the traditional gift exchange. The archbishop's gifts were loaded with meaning. The first was a branch from a fig tree with historic roots.

"It comes from a fig tree planted by Cardinal Pole, the last Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury in 1556, which is inside Lambeth Palace. That tree came from the Holy Land.”

PF: Let's hope that they're sweet.
JW: Oh they are. They're very good. They need sunshine.

His second gift was the copy of a register belonging to Card. Pole, as well as a book on the Lambeth Palace Library. Meanwhile, Pope Francis also gave the archbishop a book, but in a much larger scale.

"This is the book with all the papal medallions from all of the buildings in the Vatican.”

After they exchanged gifts, the two leaders walked by side, inside a chapel at the Apostolic Palace. They prayed in silence for a few minutes before an image of Baby Jesus.


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