That they may be one

In the parish lounge at Most Precious Blood, the Ordinariate church in South London, we are building a collection of photographs. They are images of Popes and Archbishops of Canterbury, meeting each other: they are a constant reminders of the vocation of the Ordinariate to pioneer the reunion of the Church of England (and the whole Anglican Communion) with the Catholic Church. This is to happen, not by absorption, but by the re-making of the Communion of the Church. For this unity and communion, the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Peter, has a special care and concern.

Pope John Paul II & Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

Pope John Paul II & Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

The picture above shows one such meeting. Pope John Paul II, is clearly weakened by advancing Parkinsons. The Archbishop, younger and stronger, kneels to kiss his ring. (And immediately afterwards the Pope kisses the ring on the hand of the Archbishop, given to Archbishop Michael Ramsey by Pope Paul VI) What is so moving about this image is how it reverses the power structures of the world. The Pope is weak, bowed over in his chair – yet he is a living witness to St Paul’s cry, “For when I am weak then I am strong”. The Archbishop is not there to “submit” to a worldly image of Papal power, but he acknowledges by his gesture the moral authority of one who is now sharing the weakness and humiliation of Christ. “I when I am lifted up will draw all men to myself.”

Queen Elizabeth II and Pope John XXIII

In this photo Pope John XXIII meets the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Queen Elizabeth II. The photographer has caught the animation and the smiles as they walk together, in spite of the (to our eyes) splendour and formality of their dress. Many Anglicans – and Anglicans-who-are-now-Catholics – revere John XXIII for his vision and courage in calling the Second Vatican Council. The renewal of the life of the Catholic Church, brought about by the Council, was a godsend on the path to unity. Undoubtedly Vatican 2 opened the doors to the reconciliation of many Christians, and to their embrace within the communion of the Church.

One-euro sheet features two popes to be canonized

Thank God for Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II.


About Scott Anderson

Formerly an Anglican priest (ordained 1975) received into the Catholic Church in February 2012, and ordained to the Diaconate on 27th July 2013. I took early retirement, and divide my time between London and northern France. I am deeply committed to the Ordinariate as a gift of the Holy Spirit in the search for unity. Like many Ordinariate members I feel a personal gratitude to Pope Emeritus Benedict, together with loyalty to our Holy Father, Pope Francis. My blog tries to make a small contribution to the growth of the Ordinariate by asking questions (and proposing some answers) about the 'Anglican Patrimony'. I have always been fascinated by the whole issue of growth and decline, and therefore concerned for appropriate means of evangelisation in western Europe. I believe that the Holy Spirit is constantly renewing the People of God and that we must be open to him. My love of music and motorcycles will occasionally surface in my posts. On Saturday 19th October 2013, I was ordained to the Priesthood at Most Precious Blood, Borough, by the Most Revd Peter Smith, Archbishop of Southwark, for the service of the Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham. I continued to serve the Ordinariate group and Parish at Most Precious Blood until the end of 2014. Subsequently, I helped in the care of the Ordinariate Groups at Hemel Hempstead and Croydon, and in the Archdiocese of Southwark, until the beginning of September 2015. With the agreement of my Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton, the Bishop of Amiens appointed me Administrator of the Parish of Notre Dame des Etangs (Pont Remy) in Picardie, France. This appointment is to last for a year, to give the Bishop the opportunity to assess the future of the parish.
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2 Responses to That they may be one

  1. “Thank God for Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II.”

    Thank God indeed for these two great men.

  2. Matthew the Wayfarer says:

    Pope Saint John XXIII was the first Pope that had an effect on me after seeing a made for TV movie that starred Raymond Burr (Godzilla/Perry Mason). I was born in 1947 in a non – Roman Catholic family and I knew nothing about Pope Pius XII.
    I am not all that impressed with JPII. “Mistakes were made” and opportunities missed.
    Also, I am deeply disappointed that Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII were not also canonized. They both went through some major world shattering events.

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