Vatican City

Pope thanks Anglicans for understanding over converts

Francis meets archbishop of canterbury at the Vatican

Pope thanks Anglicans for understanding over converts

Vatican City, June 14 - Pope Francis on Friday said he was ''grateful'' for the Church of England's reaction to Vatican rules helping Anglicans join the Roman Catholic Church during his first meeting with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at the Vatican on Friday. The pontiff expressed gratitude for ''the sincere effort the Church of England has shown in understanding the reasons which led my predecessor Pope Benedict XVI to offer a canonical structure able to respond to the demands of those groups of Anglicans that asked to be received, also as a corporation, within the Catholic Church''. A new section of the Catholic Church in which converted Anglicans can gather was created in 2009 and called ''Anglicanorum Coetibus'', Apostolic Constitution in Latin. This allows Anglicans to become Catholic while retaining some of their traditions and practices. It came as a response to demands from more conservative Anglicans, unhappy with progressive developments, such as proposals to have women bishops, for an easier, large-scale way to convert. The Holy See had previously approached conversion demands on a case-by-case basis. ''I am sure that this will enable the Catholic world to improve its knowledge of the spiritual, liturgical and pastoral traditions that make up the Anglican heritage'', said the pontiff. With some 77 million members, the Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion after the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox churches. Pope Francis was inaugurated as the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics on March 19, two days before Welby took over the helm of the Church of England.

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