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Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury to meet for the first time

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will meet in Rome on Friday (June 14) for the first time since the two men took office in March.

Francis was inaugurated as the head of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics on March 19, while Welby officially took over as Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual leader of the 77 million-member Anglican Communion on March 21.

Some hope the meeting could put Anglican-Catholic relations on a firmer footing.
Welby’s visit to Rome will be “short but very significant,” said the Rev. Mark Langham, the Vatican’s point man on dialogue with Anglicans.

While its primary purpose is to allow the two leaders to get to know each other, he noted that they share the same concerns about poverty and the global economic crisis.

“They will find they have much in common in their view of how religion and the church must act to change society, and especially to raise up the dignity of the poor and the marginalized,” Langham said.

On the issue of an “economy for the people,” they have “many ideas in common,” said Archbishop David Moxon, the Anglican representative in Rome.

Both men stand in stark contrast to their bookish predecessors. Welby worked as an oil executive before becoming a priest and bishop as a second career, while Francis rode public transportation and lived among the poor as archbishop of Buenos Aires.

With new leadership on both sides, the relationship between Anglicans and Catholics could be primed for a reset after several years of tension following Pope Benedict XVI’s controversial initiative to woo back disgruntled Anglicans

For year, the Catholic Church has been critical of the Anglicans’ decision to ordain women priests in the Church of England, and is unhappy over steps to allow women bishops.

Click to read full article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/pope-francis-and-archbishop-of-canterbury-to-meet-for-the-first-time/2013/06/12/1ca57af0-d38e-11e2-b3a2-3bf5eb37b9d0_story.html

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