Pope Francis receives Archbishop of Canterbury (Full texts)

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday met with the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. It was the first meeting between the two.

Below, please find the complete translation of Pope Francis’ discourse at the meeting, followed by the complete text of Archbishop Welby’s address:

Your Grace, Dear Friends,

On the happy occasion of our first meeting, I make my own the words of Pope Paul VI, when he addressed Archbishop Michael Ramsey during his historic visit in 1966: “Your steps have not brought you to a foreign dwelling … we are pleased to open the doors to you, and with the doors, our heart, pleased and honoured as we are … to welcome you ‘not as a guest or a stranger, but as a fellow citizen of the Saints and the Family of God’” (cf. Eph 2:19-20).

I know that during Your Grace’s installation in Canterbury Cathedral you remembered in prayer the new Bishop of Rome. I am deeply grateful to you – and since we began our respective ministries within days of each other, I think we will always have a particular reason to support one another in prayer.

The history of relations between the Church of England and the Catholic Church is long and complex, and not without pain. Recent decades, however, have been marked by a journey of rapprochement and fraternity, and for this we give heartfelt thanks to God. This journey has been brought about both via theological dialogue, through the work of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, and via the growth of cordial relations at every level through shared daily lives in a spirit of profound mutual respect and sincere cooperation. In this regard, I am very pleased to welcome alongside you Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster. These firm bonds of friendship have enabled us to remain on course even when difficulties have arisen in our theological dialogue that were greater than we could have foreseen at the start of our journey.

I am grateful, too, for the sincere efforts the Church of England has made to understand the reasons that led my Predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, to provide a canonical structure able to respond to the wishes of those groups of Anglicans who have asked to be received collectively into the Catholic Church: I am sure this will enable the spiritual, liturgical and pastoral traditions that form the Anglican patrimony to be better known and appreciated in the Catholic world.

Today’s meeting is an opportunity to remind ourselves that the search for unity among Christians is prompted not by practical considerations, but by the will of the Lord Jesus Christ himself, who made us his brothers and sisters, children of the One Father. Hence the prayer that we make today is of fundamental importance.

This prayer gives a fresh impulse to our daily efforts to grow towards unity, which are concretely expressed in our cooperation in various areas of daily life. Particularly important among these is our witness to the reference to God and the promotion of Christian values in a world that seems at times to call into question some of the foundations of society, such as respect for the sacredness of human life or the importance of the institution of the family built on marriage, a value that you yourself have had occasion to recall recently.

Then there is the effort to achieve greater social justice, to build an economic system that is at the service of man and promotes the common good. Among our tasks as witnesses to the love of Christ is that of giving a voice to the cry of the poor, so that they are not abandoned to the laws of an economy that seems at times to treat people as mere consumers.

I know that Your Grace is especially sensitive to all these questions, in which we share many ideas, and I am also aware of your commitment to foster reconciliation and resolution of conflicts between nations. In this regard, together with Archbishop Nichols, you have urged the authorities to find a peaceful solution to the Syrian conflict such as would guarantee the security of the entire population, including the minorities, not least among whom are the ancient local Christian communities. As you yourself have observed, we Christians bring peace and grace as a treasure to be offered to the world, but these gifts can bear fruit only when Christians live and work together in harmony. This makes it easier to contribute to building relations of respect and peaceful coexistence with those who belong to other religious traditions, and with non-believers.

The unity we so earnestly long for is a gift that comes from above and it is rooted in our communion of love with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. As Christ himself promised, “where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mt 18:20). Let us travel the path towards unity, fraternally united in charity and with Jesus Christ as our constant point of reference. In our worship of Jesus Christ we will find the foundation and raison d’être of our journey. May the merciful Father hear and grant the prayers that we make to him together. Let us place all our hope in him who “is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Eph 3:20).

Below, please find the complete text of Archbishop Justin Welby’s address to Pope Francis, which was delivered in English:

Your Holiness,
Dear Friends:

I am full of love and gratitude to be here. In the last few days we have been remembering the death of Blessed Pope John XXIII in the midst of the Second Vatican Council. At the Requiem said at Lambeth Palace fifty years ago this weekend by Archbishop Michael Ramsey, my much-loved predecessor said of him: ‘Pope John has shown us again the power of being, by being a man who touches human hearts with charity. So there has come to many a new longing for the unity of all Christians, and a new knowledge that however long the road may be, charity already makes all the difference to it.’

Having for many years found inspiration in the great corpus of Catholic social teaching, and worked on its implications with Catholic groups; having spent retreats in new orders of the Church in France, and being accompanied by the Prior of another new order; I do indeed feel that I am (in the words of Pope Paul VI to Archbishop Michael) coming to a place where I can feel myself at home.
Your Holiness, we are called by the Holy Spirit of God, through our fraternal love, to continue the work that has been the precious gift to popes and archbishops of Canterbury for these past fifty years, and of which this famous ring is the enduring token. I pray that the nearness of our two inaugurations may serve the reconciliation of the world and the Church.

As you have stressed, we must promote the fruits of our dialogue; and, with our fellow bishops, we must give expression to our unity in faith through prayer and evangelisation. It is only as the world sees Christians growing visibly in unity that it will accept through us the divine message of peace and reconciliation.

However, the journey is testing and we cannot be unaware that differences exist about how we bring the Christian faith to bear on the challenges thrown up by modern society. But our ‘goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey’ (Benedict XVI, Spe salvi 1), and we can trust in the prayer of Christ, ‘ut omnes unum sint’ (Jn 17.21). A firm foundation of friendship will enable us to be hopeful in speaking to one another about those differences, to bear one another’s burdens, and to be open to sharing the discernment of a way forward that is faithful to the mind of Christ pressed upon us as disciples.

That way forward must reflect the self-giving love of Christ, our bearing of his Cross, and our dying to ourselves so as to live with Christ, which will show itself in hospitality and love for the poor. We must love those who seek to oppose us, and love above all those tossed aside—even whole nations—by the present crises around the world. Also, even as we speak, our brothers and sisters in Christ suffer terribly from violence, oppression and war, from bad government and unjust economic systems. If we are not their advocates in the name of Christ, who will be?

Your Holiness, dear brother, I assure you of the love, respect and prayer of the bishops, clergy and people of the Anglican Communion.

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20 Responses to Pope Francis receives Archbishop of Canterbury (Full texts)

  1. Giovanni A. Cattaneo says:

    I want to throw up.


  2. Brother Burrito says:


    What did you expect, liturgical wrestling?


  3. Giovanni A. Cattaneo says:

    I rather hang at Tyburn that say anything nice about the church of Tudor or its lap dogs.


  4. golden chersonnese says:

    I gather that the Church at the time was under the thumb of secular princes everywhere, except for parts of Italy perhaps. That was of necessity the arrangement at the time. Hence, only one English bishop stood up to Henry Tudor and the others just carried on as normal. The abbots and priors, well that was diff. Hal Tudor fancied their wealth.


  5. johnhenrycn says:

    Well, one doesn’t have to agree with all that Anglicanism stands for (although there certainly are many important things on which we agree), but Anglicans deserve the same generalized respect and good will due to all men. Who wants a return to the religious conflicts and wars of times gone by? And remember, Giovanni, many Protestants are coming home. It’s our duty to make them welcome as they struggle with the serious emotional rupture caused by leaving the faith of their fathers.


  6. golden chersonnese says:

    Although, let it be saId, nearly all of the abbots and priors (except for some Carthusian martyrs and a few others) just vacated the premises when their turn came round and got their pensions in black and white.


  7. Roger says:

    The Anglican Schism was again at the top of English hierachy. King, Bishops, Nobility. The first shrine destroyed was Canterbury St Thomas A’Beckett’s Shrine , off course forever enshrined in Chaucer’s works.
    The Maid Of Kent Elizabeth Barton was an extrodinary visionary who was destined to tell Henry VIII to his face. Everything pertinent to her was destroyed and she was martyed without a trial. The details of her condemnation and supposed recantation come from Thomas Cromwell official sources.
    The propaganda behind the reformation and the destruction of wonderful libraries and the shrines was pure Satanic.
    But few or many we remain Our Lady’s Dowry. There are Prophecy’s that speak of Englands Conversion (sic Cure D’Ars, Dominc Barberi, Teresa Higginson) Leo XIII was a patron for Englands Conversion.
    Do not be to harsh a judge of the Anglican remember the Reformation was imposed top down by the Crown and Nobility.


  8. JabbaPapa says:

    Who cares about this boring rubbish !!!

    Coming soon at CP&S “Toad meets John Henry

    FULL texts included !!!

    WARNING : they are LONG, LONG, LONG, LONG LONG !!!!! (also repetitive)


  9. johnhenrycn says:

    Giovanni, just got an e-mail from a Jew inviting me to his synagogue. We were supposed to do that together at Passover, but circumstances didn’t permit. Now, should I turn him down because he’s not a Catholic? Should I call him a “lapdog” of Judaism? Signed, Breathless in Canada.


  10. Our pope emeritus had it right by creating the Ordinariate. Keep relations cordial, and continue the work of God no matter how much the CoE objects.

    PS Greetings to you JohnHenry:)


  11. Giovanni A. Cattaneo says:

    I don’t really understand the circumstances of your story as they don’t really make any sense. According to what your write the opportunity to get together with your friend seems to have already passed, so what would be the point of turning him down? In the other hand if you are making new plans, why would you turn him down, if you wanted to go? I am not sure as of the facts of your story.

    In the other hand if you are trying to make some sort of parallel comparison between Judaism and the church of Fatass I am sure I am missing your point as per my view of things one is quite different from the other. As one is simply a modern invented version of a religion that serves no purpose today and that resemble little of what it was when it started and it has long been bereft of any authority what so ever, while the other is the so called “anglican” church.

    No Johnhenryen I do not think those two reasons are very good ones not to attend a synagogue as a matter of fact go, its good to be exposed to other cultures you will grow as a person. However, I would recommend that after you attend his synagogue you invite him to church so he can see that which he still hopes (if he is a believing jew) God has already fulfilled in our Lord Jesus Christ.


  12. kathleen says:

    The history of the beginnings of the Anglican church is so flawed (based as it is on a lustful, ambitious, self-proclaimed leader), many sincere Anglicans, like Bl. John Henry Newman, realise they just cannot justify it. The very fact that under the Ordinariate many of these Anglicans are now seeking to be reunited into the One True Church of their former ancestors, obliges us to be welcoming and understanding towards them, surely. I have not found these converts to show any arrogance or vestiges of their former Protestanism – quite the contrary in fact – and I admire them for, as johnhenry points out, the often difficult road many have had to undertake to ‘come Home’.

    I have to admit I am not keen on Ecumenical get-togethers, although on a few isolated occasions in the past I have tried them out. I want to be open to well-meaning Protestants who, after all, confess the same Triune God as Catholics, but to have to keep quiet in their company about Our Blessed Mother, my rosary hidden, and unable to mention all the richness, beauty and fullness found only in the Catholic Church, I feel uncomfortable…. and like a fish out of water. Just singing a few songs, and praying some non-committal prayers together, is all so trivial.

    Besides, Catholic parishes that are really into this Ecumenical thing, often end up watering down Our Glorious Faith to accommodate their Protestant chums….. and that, of course, is bad, and quite wrong!


  13. kathleen says:

    Naturally it is a Christian duty to be respectful and friendly to our Anglican neighbours, who do indeed share a lot more with Catholics nowadays (even if their priestly orders are invalid, and their doctrines, sacraments and teachings are incomplete). However, that used not to be the case at the terrible time of the English Deformation, er, Reformation. Anything, or anyone, that sniffed of Catholicism (which was derogatorily called “papistry”) was rooted out, smashed to pieces and/or persecuted without mercy. Starting under Henry VIII’s son, Edward, Catholic Great Britain was turned into a very, very Protestant country.

    Over the last 150 years (more or less), one part of the Anglican church, often called High Church Anglicanism, has been sidling back towards Catholic teachings and practices. It is these ‘High Church’ Anglicans that I have found to be interested and kindly towards Catholics on the whole, whereas the more Protestant-leaning ones still mistrust and hold many reservations about the Catholic Church. They have been painted a one-sided picture of what the True Church really is.


  14. Roger says:

    Exposure to Other Faiths?
    No wrong its the road to pluralism. Equally the highhand I am right is wrong, if you take my meaning.
    What God requires off Us is putting him first (no confusion over Faith or Creed). But with His outpouring of Love of Neighbour (without distinction). We should become His hands, His feet, His voice.
    Do not hide your Faith. Live your Faith.
    I always carry my Rosary with me and on wonderful occasions can give it away, which is a great blessing.
    Henry VIII became a monster, but he found plenty of like minded sycophants more than willing to do His bidding. Protestant Europe was created by those disaffected princes, bishops leaders etc.. But also a corrupt and Idol institution that had developed in Rome. Think of St Francis and the need to rebuild a Church that had become an Institution in His Day.
    Think of the scandal of Popes and Anti Popes.
    The Jews knew they were Gods chosen people and reached the erroneous belief that they were untouchable.
    Rome has suffered from the same illusion over the centuries. The Church is the mystical Body of Christ and beyond criticism! But an Institution can be full of error. St Thomas More knew that the Institution in His day was not perfect. St More didn’t confuse the Church with the Institution.
    Anglicanism under Henry continued to resemble Catholicism, that is the irony. Princes and Kings actually had to great a say in the Church in their Day,
    The Anglican Church however morphed into a Protestant format especially under Elizabeth I. We also see the growth of wealth and power with the rise of these very very rich individuals, privateers and buccaneers working with the Crown. The power and growth of masonry begins to grasp and sieze control and the porting of the Dutch Empire and banking under an puppet Crown (Constitutional monarch) . England became the mother country of Satanism.
    Do not flaunt NOR Hide your Faith. Let your Faith Live and cascade into your Life. Let Christ Live and Self die.
    And do not get drawn into fighting Old battles that have already been judged by God!
    I would pray my Rosary with the Devil if this was possible,


  15. johnhenrycn says:

    Giovanni @ 07:37: “…the opportunity to get together with your friend seems to have already passed…”

    Er, no? Ever hear tell of a second invitation, which is the one I received yesterday? My friend, btw, belongs to the Reform branch of Judaism, which, if you were an Orthodox Jew, would definitely be one of those “modern invented” religions that you denigrate, so perhaps I should steer clear of his synagogue, although I shall demur from calling him a “lapdog” or “fatass”, thanks very much.
    And a good day to you, too, Irenaeus!! Long time no see. How are things in the City That Never Sleeps, or am I thinking of Vegas? Don’t you just love the avatars they assign to us here?
    Best regards, JH


  16. johnhenrycn says:

    Have to agree with Kathleen about superficial happy-clappy ecumenicism; but there also exist more serious and productive forms of contact with those alien life forms we call “Protestants”. I’m thinking, for instance, of the the symposium founded by Fr Richard John Neuhaus (RIP) and Charles Colson (RIP) known as Evangelicals and Catholics Together. Due largely to lines of communicationkept open by groups like ECT, and the willingness of Catholics to reach out to our separated brethren, American Evangelicals, who just 30 years ago were still debating whether Catholics were Christians, and who were deeply conflicted about abortion, are now firmly part – a very important part – of the pro-life camp. Conversely, Anabaptists, such as the Amish, Mennonites and Hutterites, have been lifestyle role models for the Plain Catholic movement in North America, written about by our very own JoyfulPapist on her blog about three years ago. Indeed, some Plain Catholics jokingly refer to themselves “CathAmish”.


  17. johnhenrycn,
    Things are well thanks. Yes, I think both those cities are referred to as not sleeping… much like my two little ones 🙂


  18. kathleen says:

    Glad to hear about these friendly groups JH. Occasionally I listen into Marcus Grodi’s “The Journey Home” programme on EWTN, where sometimes you hear these former Protestants talk about the Catholic Church as being known as the very ‘Anti-Christ’ by their various churches (mostly Baptists and Presbyterians)! This is what makes their conversion stories to Catholicism all the more amazing.

    If you have a spare hour, you might like to listen to this fascinating testimony of the conversion of Dr. David Anders. He is now an apologist on EWTN Radio’s “Open Line” programme:


  19. Magnus says:

    A correction to Mr. johnhenrycn’s comment re Plain Catholics. They were born from the Catholic Land Movement and the concepts of Distributism of which GK Chesterton was a contributor. Their outreach is TO the Plain Anabaptists, not vice versa.

    The Plain Catholic life is simplified akin to the Franciscan and Benedictine charisms. Their clothing is also simple. You can read more about the Plain Catholic history here:


  20. Magnus says:

    “Conversely, Anabaptists, such as the Amish, Mennonites and Hutterites, have been lifestyle role models for the Plain Catholic movement in North America, written about by our very own JoyfulPapist on her blog about three years ago. Indeed, some Plain Catholics jokingly refer to themselves “CathAmish”.”

    This statement is incorrect. Firstly, the Plain Catholics come from the Catholic Land Movement 100 years ago. The CLM supports a Distributionist model and was supported by such notables as GK Chesterton. You can read about the history of the Plain Catholics here

    Secondly, Plain Catholics do not refer to themselves as CathAmish, not even in jest. Their charism is simplified life similar to the Franciscans and Benedictines. Their apostolate is to the Anabaptists (Amish, Mennonites, Hutterites, Brethren, Charity groups).


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