.- The Archbishop of Canterbury and Head of the Worldwide Anglican Communion, Rowan Williams told reporters in South Africa today that there is no immediate plan to reunited the Anglican and Catholic churches after a nearly five hundred year split, but that the two churches would continue their 40-year-old dialogue aimed at unity.
"There is no plan at all (to reunite)," Rowan Williams, spiritual head of the world's 77 million Anglicans, told Reuters after meeting South African President Thabo Mbeki in Pretoria.
"We will continue discussions as we have for the past 40 years," he said, when asked whether he wanted the two churches to merge, and whether he expected it to happen under his tenure as archbishop.
According to Reuters, Archbishop Williams, who is in South Africa for an Anglican conference on tackling poverty and HIV/AIDS, has been battling to save the Anglican church from schism amid a bitter debate about homosexual priests and same-sex unions.
Speculation arose prematurely last month when a supposed Anglican-Catholic statement was leaked. The report spoke positively of the possibility of reuniting the churches under the Pope, although they said merging could be a long journey.
Profound changes would need to be made before most Anglican provinces could be accepted into full communion with the Church of Rome. Not the least of which is the decision on the part of many bishops to allow the ordination of women and to support active homosexuality, blessing homosexual unions as marriages.
Also, while the Catholic Church is a hierarchical system with the successor of St. Peter, the Pope acting as first among equals, the Archbishop of Canterbury is only a focal point and each province has autonomy.