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The path towards unity

· Pope Francis' audience with Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury ·

“Let us travel the path towards unity, fraternally united in charity”. This was Pope Francis' invitation to His Grace Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of the Anglican Communion, received in audience on Friday morning, 14 June. In his Address, the Holy Father did not forget to mention “the history of relations between the Church of England and the Catholic Church is long and complex, and not without pain”. However recent decades “have been marked by a journey of rapprochement and fraternity, and for this we give heartfelt thanks to God”.

A path which has been made possible through theological dialogue with the work of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission and through collaboration at all levels, cordial relations and daily life together, characterized by a profound mutual respect and sincere collaboration. Bonds, which the Holy Father recognized 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”.

Pope Francis also underlined Benedict XVI's initiative “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”. He added: “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.”

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