VATICAN CITY (CNS): The retiring head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, Archbishop George Carey of Canterbury, met privately with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican on June 21.
The meeting was the sixth between the two leaders who have pushed for the unity of their communities but have recognised the ‘serious obstacle’ to full union posed by their opposite positions on the ordination of women as priests and bishops.
Archbishop Carey announced in January he would step down on October 31, two weeks before his 67th birthday.
He was in Rome on June 19-21 for a series of farewell meetings with friends and Vatican officials.
Pope John Paul thanked the archbishop for his visit and said it was ‘a living sign of the close relations which have continued to develop down the years between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church’.
Despite ‘obstacles which keep us from full communion’, the Pope said, Catholics and Anglicans have persevered in their contacts during Archbishop Carey’s 11-year tenure.