VATICAN CITY (CNS): Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, the spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, will have his first meeting with Pope John Paul II early next month at the Vatican.
The October 4 meeting, which was organised immediately after Archbishop Williams’ February 27 enthronement, coincides with a service at which the archbishop formally will install English Bishop John Flack as his new representative to the Vatican and director of the Anglican Centre in Rome.
Archbishop Williams’ October 2-5 visit to Rome and to the Vatican will take place less than two weeks before a gathering he has convoked of the primates who head the 38 Churches that make up the Anglican Communion.
The archbishop called the meeting following the August 5 election of the Rev Gene Robinson as the Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, making him the first openly gay man to be elected head of a diocese belonging to the Anglican Communion.
The election was controversial within the US Episcopal Church as well as within the Anglican Communion, and some leaders expressed fears of a schism.