Pope and Anglican Head Discussed Rifts
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and the leader of the Anglican Communion Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams met at the Vatican Saturday, November 21, 2009 to discuss recent issues between the churches. The two met in private for twenty minutes.
It was last month when the Pope offered dissatisfied Anglicans to convert to Roman Catholicism while allowing them to retain some of their own traditions. An example of which are married priests and women priests.
The Anglican Church calls it foul and accused the Vatican of poaching. The Vatican replied that they were simply “reaching out”.
The Anglican Communion, so called instead of “Church” which is with universal juridical authority, has each national or regional church with full autonomy. The communion just recognizes “full communion” with “mother church”, the Church of England and its main primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury. From this concept, the communion is divided among issues due to its numerous “country members”. The issues that divide the communion include women priests, divorce, abortion, contraception and homosexuality.
This has been the cause of “dissatisfaction” among some members.
The Anglican Communion started when it split (as Church of England) with the Catholic Church in 1534 after Pope Clement VII refused a request of divorce for King Henry VIII with wife Catherine of Aragon (mother of Queen Mary I) to marry Anne Boleyn (mother of Queen Elizabeth I). It was King Henry who first claimed that he is the head of his own church in his own country (Anglican Communion foundation) and could therefore grant himself divorce.