Vatican City (AsiaNews) - For Pope Francis, "we cannot claim
that our division is anything less than a scandal and an obstacle to our proclaiming
the Gospel of salvation to the world." Still, although "The
goal of full unity may seem distant indeed, [. . .] it remains the aim which
should direct our every step along the way," the pope said in his meeting with Justin Welby, archbishop of Canterbury with whom he shared a moment of
After a private meeting, in his address to the Primate of the Anglican
Communion, the Pope, who recalled their previous meeting on 14 June last year, stressed
the importance of the work that the Anglican-Roman Catholic International
Commission and the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission for Unity
and Mission are doing and their ongoing cooperation against human trafficking and
other forms of modern slavery.
share a "commitment to the great cause of
reconciliation and communion between Christian believers," Francis said, "Our
vision is often blurred by the cumulative burden of our divisions and our will
is not always free of that human ambition which can accompany even our desire
to preach the Gospel as the Lord commanded (cf. Mt 28:19).
goal of full unity may seem distant indeed, yet it remains the aim which should
direct our every step along the way. I find a source of encouragement in the
plea of the Second Vatican Council's Decree on Ecumenism that we should advance
in our relationship and cooperation by placing no obstacle to the ways of
divine providence and by not prejudicing future promptings of the Holy Spirit
(cf. Unitatis Redintegratio, 24). Our
progress towards full communion will not be the fruit of human actions alone,
but a free gift of God. The Holy Spirit gives us the strength not to grow
disheartened and he invites us to trust fully in the power of his works.
who strive to follow the Lord, we realize that the faith has come to us through
many witnesses. We are indebted to great saints, teachers and communities; they
have handed down the faith over the ages and they bear witness to our common
roots. Yesterday, on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Your Grace
celebrated Vespers in the Church of San Gregorio al Celio, from which Pope
Gregory the Great sent forth Augustine and his monastic companions to
evangelize the peoples of England, thus inaugurating a history of faith and holiness
which in turn enriched many other European peoples. This glorious history has profoundly
shaped institutions and ecclesial traditions which we share and which serve as
a solid basis for our fraternal relations.
"At our first
meeting, Your Grace and I discussed our shared concerns and our pain before a
number of grave evils afflicting our human family. In particular, we shared our
horror in the face of the scourge of human trafficking and forms of modern-day
slavery. I thank you for the leadership you have shown in opposing these
intolerable crimes against human dignity.
to respond to this urgent need, notable collaborative efforts have been
initiated on the ecumenical level and in cooperation with civil authorities and
international organizations. Many charitable initiatives have been undertaken
by our communities, and they are operating with generosity and courage in
various parts of the world. I think in particular of the action network against
the trafficking in women set up by a number of women's religious institutes.
persevere in our commitment to combat new forms of enslavement, in the hope
that we can help provide relief to victims and oppose this deplorable trade. I
thank God that, as disciples sent to heal a wounded world, we stand together,
with perseverance and determination, in opposing this grave evil.