VATICAN CITY (CNS): In his first meeting with the new head of the Anglican Communion, Pope John Paul II expressed concern that ecumenical relations face new tensions as Anglicans consider the implications of the ordination of an openly gay bishop in the United States.
Pope John Paul welcomed Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury to the Vatican on October 4 and gave him one of the first pectoral crosses forged to commemorate the 25th anniversary of his pontificate.
But the warm personal relations were mixed with serious concern for the continued unity of the Anglican Communion’s 38 provinces and their decisions regarding the morality of homosexual activity.
At a press conference later, Archbishop Williams said he was not surprised by the Pope’s clear warning that the Anglican Communion’s acceptance of an openly gay bishop, Bishop-elect V. Gene Robinson, would create further obstacles to unity.
“I would expect His Holiness to express himself forcefully on any subject concerned with witness to the Gospel,” he said.
Archbishop Williams and Cardinal Walter Kasper, who is president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said their meeting on October 3 included a serious discussion of the problems that could arise if the Anglican Communion moves away from traditional Christian teaching against homosexual activity.