Pope says hopes to meet archbishop of Canterbury soon
VATICAN CITY, Italy - Pope Francis said on Thursday, March 21, that he hoped to meet the new Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby soon and uphold the "fraternal" rapport between the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches.
Francis, who was elected last week, said he offered "greetings and best wishes on the occasion of your enthronement" in a short message to the spiritual leader of the world's Anglican community.
"I look forward to meeting you in the near future, and to continuing the warm fraternal relations that our predecessors enjoyed," he told Welby, who was set to be formally enthroned as the 105th archbishop of Canterbury later Thursday.
While Francis's predecessor Benedict XVI appeared to have good relations with the previous archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, relations were soured somewhat by a Vatican move to make it easier for disaffected Anglicans to switch to Catholicism.
Benedict's approval in 2009 of a document to accept Anglicans while maintaining some of their own traditions was painted by some as an attempt at reconciliation, while others said Williams had been publicly humiliated by the move.
The two Churches have been divided since King Henry VIII broke with Rome and set himself up as the head of the new Church of England in 1534.
Benedict made his first and only state papal visit to Britain in 2010.
"Please be assured of my prayers as you take up your new responsibilities, and I ask you to pray for me as I respond to the new call that the Lord has addressed to me," Francis, who was inaugurated at the Vatican on Tuesday, said in his message to Welby. - Rappler.com