Friday, 17 September 2010

Pope Meets Anglicans and Politicans

After lunch the Pope headed to Lambeth Palace to meet Archbishop Rowan for an ecumenical exchange in the presence of both Catholic and Anglican Bishops. The Pope expressed his pleasure in being able to repay Archbishop Rowan for his visits to him in Rome. Whilst acknowledging the difficulties facing ecumenism nevertheless he believed that there has still been great profres in dialogue over the last 40 years. He closed his speech by saying to Archbishop Rowan "let us renew our determination to pursue the goal of unity in faith, hope, and love, in accordance with the will our on Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."

He then went over to Westminster Hall by popemobile to speak to the great and the good. Remembering the spirit of St Thomas More he asked that religion remain "in the public square" and, that faith and reason continue in dialogue. He stressed that religion "is not a problem to solve." It should be a relationship rather of dialogue. He hoped that the good relationship with the United Kingdom on global social issues would continue and deepen especially in relation to "environmental responsibility." He also pleaded that if banks are 'too big to fail' then the need of the poor of the world should also be treated in the same way. He said "Surely the integral human development of the world's peoples is no less important: here is an enterprise, worthy of the world's attention, that is truly 'too big to fail'."

In front of cheering crowds lining the street the Pope entered Westminster Abbey where he again spoke of the need for dialogue not just between Christians but with the whole of modern society. Looking to that great English Saint, the Venerable Bede he asked that his example "inspire the Christians of these lands to rediscover their sahred legacy, to strenghten what they have in common, and to continue their efforts to grow in friendship." He then went in a powerful symbol of this to the tomb of King St Edward the Confessor with Archbishop Williams to kneel in prayers as fellow Christian leaders committed to ongoing ecumenical dialogue and friendship.

What an afternoon! And so to Westminster Cathedral and Hyde Park this Saturday.

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