Pope Francis met the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, for the first time this morning.
In an address after the meeting the Pope said Catholics and Anglicans should work together to challenge secular society, especially on subjects such as “the sacredness of human life or the importance of the institution of the family built on marriage”.
He also stressed the importance of calling for an “economic system that is at the service of man” and of “giving a voice to the cry of the poor”.
Both leaders remarked on the coincidence of their March installations. Francis celebrated his inaugural Mass on March 19 two days before Justin Welby was enthroned as Archbishop of Canterbury.
Before the meeting Archbishop Welby and his wife, Caroline, were expected to visit the tomb of St Peter beneath St Peter’s Basilica before stopping to pray at the tomb of Blessed Pope John Paul II.
You can read the complete translation Pope Francis discourse at the meeting, followed by the complete text of Archbishop Welby’s address over at Vatican Radio here.
Both are very diplomatic.
Naturally, Pope Francis would have had to touch on the raw nerve:
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.