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Anglican leader hopes vote for women bishops won’t prevent ‘full communion’ with Catholic Church

Archbishop Welby with Pope Francis (AP)

In a letter sent to Pope Francis, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said he hopes the vote to allow the ordination of women bishops would not prove a stumbling block to future “full communion” between the Anglican and Catholic churches.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the Most Rev Justin Welby admitted in the letter that the vote at the General Synod earlier this month to allow women bishops was a “further difficulty” as far unity is concerned.

In the letter to Francis and other church leaders from around the world, the Archbishop said: “We are aware that our other ecumenical partners may find this a further difficulty on the journey towards full communion.

“There is, however, much that unites us, and I pray that the bonds of friendship will continue to be strengthened and that our understanding of each other’s traditions will grow. It is clear to me that whilst our theological dialogue will face new challenges, there is nonetheless so much troubling our world today that our common witness to the Gospel is of more importance than ever.”

Archbishop Welby referred to regions of the world currently affected by conflict, poverty and unemployment and said that the Anglican and Catholic Churches “need each other as we, as churches empowered by the Holy Spirit, rise to the challenge and proclaim the good news of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and strive for closer fellowship and greater unity.”