Pope's message to new Archbishop of Canterbury

 The Pope today sent a message to the new Archbishop of Canterbury and gave him a pectoral cross. In a release today, the Vatican noted that yesterday afternoon in the Cathedral of Canterbury, His Grace Rowan Douglas Williams, was solemnly enthroned as the new Archbishop of Canterbury. Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity represented the Holy See at this ceremony for the new primate of All England and president of the Anglican Communion. Also in attendance were Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, and the Catholic co-presidents of the two official organisms of dialogue with the Anglican Communion: The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) and the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM). A meeting was held today between Archbishop Williams of Canterbury and Cardinal Kasper, who presented the former with a message from Pope John Paul II as well as a pectoral cross from the Pope to mark this occasion. The Holy Father, in his Message, offered "sentiments of joy and cordial esteem" to Archbishop Williams as well as "prayerful best wishes" on the occasion of his enthronement. "You begin your ministry as Archbishop of Canterbury," notes the Pope, "at a painful and tense moment in history, a moment nonetheless marked by hope and promise. Marred by long-standing and seemingly relentless conflicts, the world stands on the brink of yet another war. The dignity of the human person is being threatened and undermined in various ways. Whole populations, especially the most vulnerable, are living amidst fear and danger. At times the ardent and legitimate human longing for freedom and security manifests itself through the wrong means, means which themselves are violent and destructive. It is precisely amidst these tensions and difficulties of our world that we are alled to serve." "In recent decades," John Paul II observed, "our predecessors have developed an increasingly close relationship, even bonds of affection, through constructive dialogue and close communication. ... Despite disagreements and obstacles, we are still on that path, and irrevocably committed to it." He concludes his message by affirming that: "we are both aware that overcoming divisions is no easy task, and that full communion will come as a gift of the Holy Spirit. That same Spirit prods and guides us even now to continue to seek a resolution in remaining areas of doctrinal disagreement, and to engage more profoundly in common witness and mission." Source: Vatican Information Service

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