For the second time in 18 months, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Francis have met together in Rome, for a cordial discussion of their common goals, including the struggle against modern slavery and human trafficking.
The meeting, which occurred yesterday, took place at the Vatican in Rome, where both leaders pledged their support for an international faith-based network to fight human trafficking around the world.
Archbishop Welby and Pope Francis also spoke of the need for global reconciliation and peacemaking, especially in places where war rages, and endangers many lives. You can read what each of them said here, but note that the titles have been switched–the pope’s statement is, in fact, printed first.
Notably, they both also commended the progress that has been made by the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church over the past few years in working more closely with each other. This signifies a bit of a shift in policy from other ‘administrations’ as both Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby seem more focused on what the churches can do together, than what they believe, and that can be channeled into ecumenism.
But theological dialogue has never been seen as an end in itself, an intellectual endeavour apart from real life. It is an axiom of ecumenical dialogue, going back to the origins of the ecumenical movement, that acting more like Christ together draws Christians together in belief. Archbishop Justin underlined this in his message at the launch of the human trafficking initiative: “The more we share the pain and oppression of the poor and suffering in the name of God, the more God will draw us closer to each other, because we will need each other’s strength and support to make the kind of difference that is needed.”
And this is the direction that the new round of Anglican/ Roman Catholic ecumenical talks hope to take. For this reason, they’ve launched a new website to promote the effort here.
Read more here, from the Tablet.
And be sure to swing by the new ecumenical website and tell us what you think.