"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

Monday, 3 October 2016


Archbishop of Canterbury to visit Pope in Rome
Friday 30th September 2016
my source: Justin Welby Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop Justin Welby and Pope Francis (will be) [is] celebrating 50 years of closer ties between the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches. 
Archbishop Justin and Pope Francis will have their third formal meeting in Rome next week. 

The Archbishop of Canterbury will meet the Pope in Rome next week as part a week-long summit in Canterbury and Rome to mark 50 years of closer and deeper relationships between the Anglican Communion and Roman Catholic Church. During the week, bishops from both Churches will look ahead to opportunities for greater unity.

The meeting will be Archbishop Justin and Pope Francis’ third formal meeting since they were installed within a week of each other in 2013.

The highlight of the visit will be a service at the church of San Gregorio al Cielo jointly led by Archbishop Justin Welby and Pope Francis. The Sistine Chapel Choir will be joined by the choir of Canterbury Cathedral. This service, at 6pm on October 5, will also see the commissioning of 19 pairs of Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops from around the world to work together in joint mission. The bishops have been chosen by IARCCUM – the International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission.

The monastery church of San Gregorio is uniquely suited to such an occasion. The prior of the monastery was St Augustine, sent by the Pope in 597 to evangelise England.  More recently, San Gregorio sent its ancient relic, the head of the crozier of St Gregory the Great, to Canterbury for the Primates’ Gathering and Meeting in January 2016. It was a symbol of prayer and support for the Archbishop and the Anglican Communion.

Archbishop Justin Welby will be joined in Rome by the Community of St Anselm, the monastic-inspired community for young Christians from across the world and different denominations, which he founded at Lambeth Palace in 2015. The community will be on retreat in Rome and will participate in and contribute to shared acts of prayer and worship during the celebrations.

Prior of the Community of St Anselm, the Revd Anders Litzell, said: “We count it a blessing and a sign to be traveling to Rome to participate in – and celebrate – the work of unity and sisterhood between our churches, which the Spirit has been bringing to increasing fruition over many years. As a Community, we are committed to praying for, and embodying, unity in the Holy Spirit and in the bond of peace across the Body of Christ. We hope that this milestone event shall be a sign that brings us all to join our prayers with that of Christ, that we all shall be one.”

The summit will mark the 50th anniversary of the Anglican Centre in Rome. There will be a dinner hosted by Archbishop Welby to celebrate its work. The Centre opened in 1966 with the aim of promoting Christian unity in a divided world. The Centre was established as a result of the historic meeting in Rome of Archbishop Michael Ramsey and Pope Paul VI during which the Pope presented the Archbishop with his papal ring. As a mark of their deep friendship and respect, Archbishop Welby will wear the ring when he visits Rome next month. The Archbishop will also have a private meeting with the Pope.

The Director of the Anglican centre, Archbishop David Moxon, said: “The Anglican Centre has worked for fifty years to help Roman Catholics and Anglicans work together, pray together, study and talk together. The journey we are on demands the laying-down of old fears and misconceptions of each other, and the building up of a shared story together. These celebrations mark the writing of a new chapter in the history of the Christian Church.”

The week will also include the formal presentation of a book marking the 20 years of work on reconciling the two churches by the second Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC II). The Commission met between 1983 and 2005. The document ‘Looking Towards a Church Fully Reconciled’ has been produced following a mandate from Pope Benedict and Archbishop Rowan Williams in 2009. It will be presented to the Pope and the Archbishop. 

The 19 pairs of IARCUUM bishops are taking part in a summit which begins in Canterbury on Friday September 30 and ends in Rome on Friday 7 October.

The Anglican co-chair of IARCCUM, Bishop David Hamid, stressed the enormous importance of the week.

“It is an immensely significant occasion” said Bishop Hamid. “There has been such an extraordinary progress towards reconciliation between the two communions in these past fifty years that it is easy to forget just how far we have journeyed together as sisters and brothers in Christ. The common faith we have discovered through our years of dialogue now compels us to act together, sharing in Christ's mission in 
the world".

Other scheduled events include:

All bishops taking part in Evensong at Canterbury Cathedral  (3.15pm, 1 October )
A Catholic Vigil mass in Canterbury Cathedral  (5.30pm, 1 October )

A Symposium at the Pontifical Gregorian University on current relations between the two Churches and where issues remain unresolved, including  a series of presentations by theologians and writers: Paula Gooder, Nick Sagovsky, Paul Murray and Anna Rowlands (9.00am-1.00pm  5 October )

Hereford Cathedral, St Thomas Cantelupe, 2nd October 2016
by Rt Revd Father Paul Stonham osb
Abbot of Belmont
Tomb and Shrine of St Thomas de Cantelupe
in Hereford Cathedral

It’s not usual to have a sermon at Vespers. At Belmont on Sundays, Vespers is followed by Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. The office for sermons is Vigils, the night office, when we always listen to a homily of the Fathers explaining the Scripture reading we’ve just heard. Yet all the offices are privileged moments for listening, listening to the word of God. The Divine Office is one of the many forms of Lectio Divina. If an office is sung, then the music, the melodies and the chant enhance the words and bring them to life. While it’s true that one of the principle purposes of the Divine Office, the Liturgy of the Hours, is to praise God, the “laus perennis”, for there are hymns, canticles and doxologies, and another purpose is prayer, especially that of intercession, for there are litanies and collects and, at Lauds and Vespers, the Lord’s Prayer, essentially the Divine Office is communal or shared listening to the word of God, indeed a most powerful way of evangelization.

In Anglican cathedrals and churches, which, like Benedictine monasteries, carry on the laudable tradition of the Middle Ages, choirs divide into two sections that face each other, each side proclaiming the word of God to the other. So at Vespers, as at the other offices, we are either proclaiming the word of God or receiving it, preaching or listening, evangelizing or being evangelized. As the Angel Gabriel announced the word of God to Our Lady at the Annunciation, and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, so may Christ be born in our hearts when we announce the word of God to one another in choir.  As Mary gave herself wholly to God’s plan for salvation, may we too echo her “FIAT”, “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to thy word.”

The word of God is ever new and always life-giving. As the offices are repeated day in day out, year after year, we discover fresh layers to God’s word that nourish our souls and strengthen our faith. We grow in wisdom and become evermore deeply united to Christ. So we thank Dean Michael for kindly inviting us to celebrate Vespers at the Cathedral on the Feast of St Thomas Cantilupe, Thomas of Hereford, the saint we all venerate and love and on whose generous intercession we call as we share this moment of prayer and praise, of proclaiming and listening to the word of God.

Of course, St Thomas prayed in Latin and in his day the offices, i.e. the seven day offices as well as vigils, would have been sung by the cathedral chapter, as Hereford was not a monastic foundation, unlike Worcester, for example. He would have known and sung on many occasions the hymn that follows the homily this afternoon, Iste Confessor. Written in 8th Century and used on the feasts of confessors, it was originally composed for the feast of St Martin of Tours, monk and bishop, one of the first non-martyr saints in the Western Church. The hymn speaks of his tomb and the many miracles wrought there through contact with his bones, on account of the faith of those seeking the grace of healing and forgiveness. So it applies perfectly to St Thomas, whose tomb, tragically despoiled at the Reformation, became one of the most popular and miraculous shrines in medieval England. This was a church where countless miracles took place.

Tonight, let us pray for the unity of the Church, that, through the intercession of St Thomas, her wounded limbs might be healed and made whole again. Let us pray for the unity of society in our land, that all our citizens may learn to live in respect, harmony and love. And let us pray for the unity of God’s world, that justice and peace, so close to the heart of St Thomas, might be restored wherever there is hatred, division, terrorism and war. 

St Thomas Cantelupe, most powerful healer and intercessor, pray for us once more today. Amen.
Father Brendan, Novice Master at Belmont, on St Benedict

Common Declaration by Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

Statement issued as 19 pairs of Anglican, Roman Catholic bishops sent out on mission
 October 5, 2016 
Pope Francis, right, smiles with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at the end of Vespers at the monastery church of San Gregorio al Celio in Rome, Italy, Oct. 5. Photo: REUTERS/Tony Gentile - RTSQWZU

[Anglican Communion News Service] Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby have said that they are “undeterred” by the “serious obstacles” to full unity between Anglicans and Roman Catholics.In a Common Declaration, issued in Rome Oct. 5, the two say that the differences “cannot prevent us from recognizing one another as brothers and sisters in Christ by reason of our common baptism. Nor should they ever hold us back from discovering and rejoicing in the deep Christian faith and holiness we find within each other’s traditions.”The Common Declaration was made at a service of Vespers in the Church of Saint Gregory on the Caelian Hill in Rome, from where, in 595AD, Pope Gregory sent Augustine to evangelise the Anglo-Saxon people. Augustine became the first archbishop of Canterbury in 597.During the service, 19 pairs of Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops from across the world were commissioned by the pope and the archbishop before being “sent out” in mission together. Among the 19 pairings are Episcopal Bishop of Tennessee John Bauerschmidt and Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore Dennis Madden.Pope Francis told them: “Fourteen centuries ago Pope Gregory sent the servant of God, Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, and his companions, from this holy place, to preach the joyful message of the Word of God. Today we send you, dear brothers, servants of God, with this same joyful message of his everlasting kingdom.”And Welby said: “Our Savior commissioned his disciples saying, ‘Peace be with you’. We too, send you out with his peace, a peace only he can give. May his peace bring freedom to those who are captive and oppressed, and may his peace bind into greater unity the people he has chosen as his own.”
Common Declaration
of HIS HOLINESS Pope Francis

Fifty years ago our predecessors, Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey met in this city hallowed by the ministry and blood of the Apostles Peter and Paul. Subsequently, Pope John Paul II with Archbishop Robert Runcie, and later with Archbishop George Carey, and Pope Benedict XVI with Archbishop Rowan Williams, prayed together here in this Church of Saint Gregory on the Caelian Hill from where Pope Gregory sent Augustine to evangelise the Anglo-Saxon people. On pilgrimage to the tombs of these apostles and holy forebears, Catholics and Anglicans recognize that we are heirs of the treasure of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the call to share that treasure with the whole world. We have received the Good News of Jesus Christ through the holy lives of men and women who preached the Gospel in word and deed and we have been commissioned, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, to be Christ’s witnesses “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1: 8). We are united in the conviction that “the ends of the earth” today, is not only a geographical term, but a summons to take the saving message of the Gospel particularly to those on the margins and the peripheries of our societies.

In their historic meeting in 1966, Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Ramsey established the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission to pursue a serious theological dialogue which, “founded on the Gospels and on the ancient common traditions, may lead to that unity in truth, for which Christ prayed”. Fifty years later we give thanks for the achievements of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, which has examined historically divisive doctrines from a fresh perspective of mutual respect and charity. Today we give thanks in particular for the documents of ARCIC II which will be appraised by us, and we await the findings of ARCIC III as it navigates new contexts and new challenges to our unity.

Fifty years ago our predecessors recognized the “serious obstacles” that stood in the way of a restoration of complete faith and sacramental life between us. Nevertheless, they set out undeterred, not knowing what steps could be taken along the way, but in fidelity to the Lord’s prayer that his disciples be one. Much progress has been made concerning many areas that have kept us apart. Yet new circumstances have presented new disagreements among us, particularly regarding the ordination of women and more recent questions regarding human sexuality. Behind these differences lies a perennial question about how authority is exercised in the Christian community. These are today some of the concerns that constitute serious obstacles to our full unity. While, like our predecessors, we ourselves do not yet see solutions to the obstacles before us, we are undeterred. In our trust and joy in the Holy Spirit we are confident that dialogue and engagement with one another will deepen our understanding and help us to discern the mind of Christ for his Church. We trust in God’s grace and providence, knowing that the Holy Spirit will open new doors and lead us into all truth (cf. John 16: 13).

These differences we have named cannot prevent us from recognizing one another as brothers and sisters in Christ by reason of our common baptism. Nor should they ever hold us back from discovering and rejoicing in the deep Christian faith and holiness we find within each other’s traditions. These differences must not lead to a lessening of our ecumenical endeavours. Christ’s prayer at the Last Supper that all might be one (cf. John 17: 20-23) is as imperative for his disciples today as it was at that moment of his impending passion, death and resurrection, and consequent birth of his Church. Nor should our differences come in the way of our common prayer: not only can we pray together, we must pray together, giving voice to our shared faith and joy in the Gospel of Christ, the ancient Creeds, and the power of God’s love, made present in the Holy Spirit, to overcome all sin and division. And so, with our predecessors, we urge our clergy and faithful not to neglect or undervalue that certain yet imperfect communion that we already share.

Wider and deeper than our differences are the faith that we share and our common joy in the Gospel. Christ prayed that his disciples may all be one, “so that the world might believe” (John 17: 21). The longing for unity that we express in this Common Declaration is closely tied to the desire we share that men and women come to believe that God sent his Son, Jesus, into the world to save the world from the evil that oppresses and diminishes the entire creation. Jesus gave his life in love, and rising from the dead overcame even death itself. Christians who have come to this faith, have encountered Jesus and the victory of his love in their own lives, and are impelled to share the joy of this Good News with others. Our ability to come together in praise and prayer to God and witness to the world rests on the confidence that we share a common faith and a substantial measure of agreement in faith.

The world must see us witnessing to this common faith in Jesus by acting together. We can, and must, work together to protect and preserve our common home: living, teaching and acting in ways that favour a speedy end to the environmental destruction that offends the Creator and degrades his creatures, and building individual and collective patterns of behaviour that foster a sustainable and integral development for the good of all. We can, and must, be united in a common cause to uphold and defend the dignity of all people. The human person is demeaned by personal and societal sin. In a culture of indifference, walls of estrangement isolate us from others, their struggles and their suffering, which also many of our brothers and sisters in Christ today endure. In a culture of waste, the lives of the most vulnerable in society are often marginalised and discarded. In a culture of hate we see unspeakable acts of violence, often justified by a distorted understanding of religious belief. Our Christian faith leads us to recognise the inestimable worth of every human life, and to honour it in acts of mercy by bringing education, healthcare, food, clean water and shelter and always seeking to resolve conflict and build peace. As disciples of Christ we hold human persons to be sacred, and as apostles of Christ we must be their advocates.

Fifty years ago Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Ramsey took as their inspiration the words of the apostle: “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3: 13-14). Today, “those things which are behind” –  the painful centuries of separation –have been partially healed by fifty years of friendship. We give thanks for the fifty years of the Anglican Centre in Rome dedicated to being a place of encounter and friendship. We have become partners and companions on our pilgrim journey, facing the same difficulties, and strengthening each other by learning to value the gifts which God has given to the other, and to receive them as our own in humility and gratitude.

We are impatient for progress that we might be fully united in proclaiming, in word and deed, the saving and healing gospel of Christ to all people. For this reason we take great encouragement from the meeting during these days of so many Catholic and Anglican bishops of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) who, on the basis of all that they have in common, which generations of ARCIC scholars have painstakingly unveiled, are eager to go forward in collaborative mission and witness to the “ends of the earth”. Today we rejoice to commission them and send them forth in pairs as the Lord sent out the seventy-two disciples. Let their ecumenical mission to those on the margins of society be a witness to all of us, and let the message go out from this holy place, as the Good News was sent out so many centuries ago, that Catholics and Anglicans will work together to give voice to our common faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, to bring relief to the suffering, to bring peace where there is conflict, to bring dignity where it is denied and trampled upon.

In this Church of Saint Gregory the Great, we earnestly invoke the blessings of the Most Holy Trinity on the continuing work of ARCIC and IARCCUM, and on all those who pray for and contribute to the restoration of unity between us.

Rome, 5 October 2016
HIS GRACE JUSTIN WELBY                                   

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