|Archbishop Justin Welby with Pope Francis at Vespers in the Basilica of San Gregorio al Celio|
A joint declaration admits that issues of women and homosexuality are "currently insurmountable", thus shattering the promises of the earlier 1966 meeting. But an understanding is being sought to make some sort of progress out of the rubble that has been created by the unilateral actions of some churches in the Anglican Communion against the wishes of the much larger Catholic and Orthodox churches.
In his sermon Justin Welby referred to the 'Good Shepherd', a theme which will be familiar to regular readers of this blog, and to the good sheep and the bad sheep, enabling those assembled to categorize themselves along doctrinal lines, each assuming any fault lay on the other side. Nevertheless, it must be seen as a positive step that the two leaders are 'undeterred'.
In a Common Declaration Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby declared that "While we ourselves do not yet see solutions to the obstacles before us, we are undeterred." Their 'sending out' of pairs of Catholic and Anglican bishops shows a willingness to work together, something that the Church in Wales is belatedly learning to do, living with diversity within its own structure.
The ACNS lists the pairs of Commissioned bishops covering 19 countries/areas. There is no mention of Wales or Scotland so unless 'England' is intended to cover Great Britain, Wales and Scotland will be excluded from the united mission "to those who are captive and oppressed".