Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Francis to meet

(AP)
Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury will hold their first meeting since their inaugurations earlier in the year

The Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Reverend Justin Welby will be in Rome on Friday to meet Pope Francis.

The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity said the Archbishop's visit would be "brief" but noted that it was of "particular interest" as the first meeting between the two leaders since their inaugurations earlier in the year.

The two leaders will discuss relations between the two Churches.

"This visit is an opportunity for the Archbishop and Pope Francis to review the present state of relations between the Roman Catholic Church and Anglican Communion," the council said in a statement.

"In particular, the interest shown by Archbishop Welby in global justice and the ethical regulation of financial markets so that they do not oppress men and women, is echoed in the constant teaching of the Holy Father. Ever since his experience as an executive in an oil company, Archbishop Welby has placed great emphasis on reconciliation, and has continued to press for the resolution of conflicts within the Church and society.

"This also evokes Pope Francis' own call to build bridges between people of every nation, so that they may be seen not as rivals and threats, but as brothers and sisters."

Archbishop Welby will be accompanied on the visit by the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, Archbishop Vincent Nichols.

"Anglicans and Catholics also must work together to provide clear moral guidance to society and Archbishop Justin has collaborated closely with the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, to safeguard marriage and other Christian values in society. It is a sign of their close relations that Archbishop Nichols will accompany the Archbishop of Canterbury on this visit," the council continued.

The meeting will be followed by a short service of prayer presided over by the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Archbishop Welby has requested a visit to excavations beneath St Peter's Basilica in order to pray at the tomb of St Peter, as his predecessor Archbishop Rowan Williams did on his first visit to Rome.

He has also asked particularly for a time of prayer before the tomb of the late Pope John Paul II.

The statement from the council concluded: "Following this, Archbishop Welby will call upon Cardinal Koch at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, to renew the acquaintance made at the time of the Archbishop's inauguration at Canterbury, and to learn about the workings of the Pontifical Council."

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