Vatican City, Sep 10, 2010 / 22:32 pm
In advance of Pope Benedict XVI’s trip to the U.K., the head of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity has acknowledged “difficulties” in Catholic-Anglican relations. However, he said the papal visit will “strongly affirm the close bonds” between the two church bodies. He pointed to Cardinal Newman as a guide.
Speaking in a Thursday statement, Archbishop Kurt Koch said that although the September 16-19 visit is the first state visit of a Pope to Great Britain, it recalls Pope John Paul II’s pastoral visit in 1982. Pope Benedict’s predecessor prayed with the Archbishop of Canterbury and issued a joint declaration inaugurating the second phase of official dialogue between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church.
“Since that time, relations between Anglicans and Catholics have been characterised by growing warmth and friendship,” the archbishop commented. He noted that many local communities now share in prayer and practical initiatives and that there are “regular and successful meetings” between Catholic and Anglican bishops.
Catholic-Anglican relations possess a “realistic acknowledgment of difficulties,” he remarked.