Anglicans and Presbyterians ‘valued traveling companions’

Members of the Anglican and Presbyterian Churches are among the Catholic Church’s “valued traveling companions”, says Pope Francis.

Speaking to the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Dialogue Commission (ARCIC) last Friday, Francis said he hoped that Anglicans would contribute to the two-year initiative leading to the Synod on Synodality in Rome in 2023.

“For this common journey to be truly such, the contribution of the Anglican Communion cannot be lacking. We look upon you as valued traveling companions,” he said.

Francis also reiterated the Church’s commitment to walk together with the Anglican Communion towards full Christian unity.

The ARCICs work since it was established in 1967 has sought “to leave behind what compromises our communion and to nurture the bonds that unite Catholics and Anglicans,” he said.

He also remarked on the Commission’s latest document “Walking Together on the Way”.

This means “moving forward, leaving behind the things that divide, past and present, and keeping our gaze fixed on Jesus and the goal that he desires and points out to us: the goal of visible unity between us”.

Mutual support is needed for this to happen. he said.

Ecumenical dialogue is a journey “that involves getting to know one another personally,” sharing aspirations and moments of fatigue, and “soiling our hands in shared service to our wounded brothers and sisters discarded on the waysides of our world”.

The “journey” toward Christian unity is not simply metaphorical, he said.

“As part of this concrete journey, I wish to recommend to your prayers an important step.”

He went on to explain that the Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby and the Rev. Dr Iain M Greenshields – the moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland – “two dear brothers, will be my traveling companions when, in a few weeks’ time, we will at last be able to travel to South Sudan”.

Francis describes the early July visit as being an ecumenical pilgrimage of peace.

“Let us pray that it may inspire Christians in South Sudan and everywhere to be promotors of reconciliation, patient weavers of concord, capable of saying no to the perverse and useless spiral of violence and of arms.”


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