Vatican Ecumenical Minister Cardinal Kurt Koch has congratulated the new Anglican Primate Justin Welby on his election. On behalf of Pope Benedict XVI. and the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, he conveyed congratulations to the new Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion.
At the same time, Koch emphasized the great importance of ecumenical relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, according to the letter published at the Vatican on Saturday.
For 50 years, the Vatican and Anglicans have engaged in a formal theological dialogue that seeks a deeper understanding of the great heritage of the separated church, Koch said. The goal of this dialogue, he said, is to restore full ecclesial communion. At the same time, the cardinal referred to the numerous meetings of popes with the archbishops of Canterbury. Koch expressed a desire to meet with Welby as soon as possible.
Welby takes over cathedral seat on 21. March 2013
Queen Elizabeth II. Had appointed Anglican Bishop Justin Welby, 56, as Archbishop of Canterbury on Friday. Welby thus also becomes honorary head of the Anglican world communion with 77 million members. The former bishop of Durham succeeds Rowan Williams, 62, who had been archbishop of Canterbury since 2002. Welby would take the cathedral seat on 21. March 2013 to take over, church leaders in London announced.
In an initial statement, Welby said he was "overwhelmed" by his appointment. "This has been the best kept secret since the last cabinet reshuffle," he joked at a press conference. At the same time, he announced he would speak out in favor of allowing women to become bishops. The Anglican Communion is divided on the ie. The General Synod of the Church of England will discuss the ie on 20. November.
Welby, like the rest of the leadership of the Anglican Church in England, opposes the British government's plan to put homosexual couples on an equal footing with heterosexual couples when it comes to marriage. At the same time, he spoke out against discrimination against homosexuals. "In no part of the church should we have anything to do with homophobia," The Times newspaper quoted him as saying (online edition Friday). He himself wanted to "listen carefully" to homosexuals and "prayerfully consider" his opinion of them.
Still-Primate Williams welcomed the decisionu
Outgoing Primate Williams welcomed the personnel decision. In Welby, he appreciated his "extraordinary range of abilities" and gifts of patience, wisdom and humor. Welby, he said, has a wealth of pastoral experience and sensitivity to international ies. In working with him, he said he always felt "enriched and encouraged by his experience".
Among the first well-wishers was the president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, Archbishop Vincent Nichols. He expressed hope Welby would work to "strengthen the bonds of Christian friendship and mission that already exist between the Catholic Church and the Church of England". He said he wants to work closely with the new Archbishop of Canterbury.
Congratulations also came from Methodist church leaders. Anglican Archbishop of York John Sentamu, 63, himself considered a promising candidate for the post, praised Welby as a "cleric of many gifts and unique experience". Above all, he said, "like Archbishop Rowan, he is a man of God".
Anglican Church emerged at time of Reformation in England. King Henry VIII. Broke with the pope in 1533 for refusing to annul the king's marriage. As head of a new state church, Henry VIII sat down. 1534 himself.