Saturday, June 15, 2013

Justin and Francis Meet

Justin meeting Francis - Credit: Reuters
Enormously encouraged by reports of the meeting between Justin Welby and Pope Francis. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall!

The texts of their remarks were very encouraging and there is evident personal warmth between them. Sadly there is harumphing from some bigoted lay Catholic bloggers but they are in an odd position because they can hardly be ultra-loyal catholics and hold that the Pope has done wrong!

Note that the Vatican unashamedly describes Justin as Archbishop Justin (ultra-catholics would deny that he was a bishop at all).  Justin was wearing the the episcopal ring famously given to Archbishop Michael Ramsey by Pope Paul VI in 1966.  I reproduce part of Justin's remarks but they all really strike home:
"we are called by the Holy Spirit of God, through our fraternal love, to continue the work that has been the precious gift to popes and archbishops of Canterbury for these past fifty years, and of which this famous ring is the enduring token. I pray that the nearness of our two inaugurations may serve the reconciliation of the world and the Church. 
As you have stressed, we must promote the fruits of our dialogue; and, with our fellow bishops, we must give expression to our unity in faith through prayer and evangelisation. It is only as the world sees Christians growing visibly in unity that it will accept through us the divine message of peace and reconciliation. However, the journey is testing and we cannot be unaware that differences exist about how we bring the Christian faith to bear on the challenges thrown up by modern society. But our ‘goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey’ (Benedict XVI, Spe salvi 1), and we can trust in the prayer of Christ, ‘ut omnes unum sint’ (Jn 17.21). A firm foundation of friendship will enable us to be hopeful in speaking to one another about those differences, to bear one another’s burdens, and to be open to sharing the discernment of a way forward that is faithful to the mind of Christ pressed upon us as disciples.
PS I've found this interesting comment from Pope Francis' friend Bishop Gregory Venables:
"...Jorge Bergoglio is ... much more of a Christian, Christ centered and Spirit filled, than a mere churchman. He believes the Bible as it is written... He is consistently humble and wise, outstandingly gifted yet a common man...He called me to have breakfast with him one morning and told me very clearly that the Ordinariate was quite unnecessary and that the church needs us as Anglicans."
(Hat tip Cranmer who got it from here - I think my link is to the original). Ultra-Catholics - listen to the Holy Father!

PPS: there are also some interesting remarks he apparently made to a Latin American delegation:
"...I would rather have a Church that makes mistakes for doing something than one that gets sick for being closed up...I share with you two concerns. One is the Pelagian current that there is in the Church at this moment. There are some restorationist groups. I know some, it fell upon me to receive them in Buenos Aires. And one feels as if one goes back 60 years!..."

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