|VATICAN CITY, JULY 24, 2002|
John Paul II sent a congratulatory telegram to Rowan Williams, the newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, and expressed the hope that together they will take steps toward unity between Catholics and Anglicans.
In October, Williams will succeed George Carey as the spiritual leader of 70 million faithful of the Anglican Communion worldwide. Dr. Carey is retiring. "Having been informed of your appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury, I am pleased to extend to you my congratulations and to assure your of my prayers," the Pope said in a message sent after receiving the news while in flight to Toronto. "I have had the opportunity to know and work closely with your predecessors, Archbishop Runcie and Archbishop Carey, in the shared task of promoting understanding between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church," the Holy Father continued. "I am confident that, with God's help, we can make progress along the path towards unity, in order to experience anew 'How Good and Pleasant It Is When Brothers(!) Dwell in Unity!'" (Psalm 133:1). I send my best wishes for your new and demanding ministry," the papal telegram concluded.
These two may well consider themselves brothers in the efforts to align with Rome, however there is a true bond between believers who are born of the Spirit of God and joined in holy fellowship before Him. The unity the Pope refers to, is not that which David the Psalmist refers to, neither is it that which Paul refers to in Ephesians 4: 14 16 nor that for which our Lord prayed before going to the cross.
This is the true unity that Christ prayed for in John 17:21-22 - “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”
This unity is not conceived by man, but born from above.
“ That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” Ephesians 4:14-16.
Leaders of Other Religions Express Support for EventTORONTO, JULY 25, 2002
Toronto's multicultural World Youth Day celebration is not just for Catholics.
Among some 20,000 volunteers, there are Anglicans, Jews and faithful of other religions. Leaders of major religious communities have expressed their support and urged collaboration.
The exact number of non-Catholic volunteers is unknown, because the application forms for these jobs did not require the identification of religious affiliation.
That the event is welcome, was confirmed by the appeal that Anglican Archbishop Terence Finlay of Toronto made to his flock:
"Christ calls us to love God and our neighbour. This event gives us the possibility to deepen our relation with God and to know our neighbour better."
Toronto has 90,000 Anglicans.
The Jewish community has also responded to the occasion by housing young people in its schools.
"It is an incredible opportunity for all," said Bernie Faber, executive director for Ontario of the Canadian Jewish Congress. "Together we can reflect on our future, on society, on good, and there is no better way to do so than through dialogue and meeting. John Paul II's visit pleases many, regardless of the faith they profess. It is an honour to receive him."
Amir Etemadi, leader of the Muslim community, is counting on the "inspirational force" of the event to the point that he hopes that one day WYD "will be held in various parts of the world simultaneously."
"This Pope is one of the most important world symbols," Etemadi said. "I admire him for having been often at the centre of events. We must not and cannot forget that war still exists in this planet. Many conflicts have their origin in the lack of dialogue between religious groups. To choose another way is the least we can do together."
A gravely ill Pope John Paul II is making what is possibly his last attendance at World Youth Day. This gathering of Catholic young people is being held this year in Toronto, Ontario.
At the opening ceremony on July 25 one of the young people who was chosen to give a welcoming speech to the pope called him "Holy Father" and "Your Holiness" and stated,
"You are our compass when we need guidance; you are our luminous beacon of
hope in a world of darkness."
This is blasphemous language. These things can be said in truth only of Jesus Christ.
He alone is our compass and beacon of hope. God alone can be called Holy Father. After the pope left the gathering in the pope mobile, the young people crowded around the chair in which he had sat to give his speech, kissing and rubbing it, some of them weeping.