I’m honoured to be a Patron of the Anglican Centre in Rome – but I have never visited. Alison’s cousin, Canon Bruce Ruddock, used to be the Director. The current Director is Archbishop Sir David Moxon whom I got to know when he was one of the three archbishops in New Zealand. We discovered significant commonality around questions of faith and identity as experienced in the three main communities in New Zealand and the communities in Ireland. It’s all about symbols and memory – and of course about who is allowed to make jokes about any of it.
I hope to meet Pope Francis on Wednesday – that will be a great honour. While it will be brief, I hope it will be longer than my encounter with Pope Benedict. When introduced by Archbishop Rowan Williams, he murmured, ‘ Ah, Scotland’ and moved on!
The publication of Amoris Laetitia gives particular interest to the visit. The Anglican Consultative Council is meeting in Lusaka. It will be trying to square the Anglican circle – of how geographical and cultural diversity can be accommodated in the context of a majority view among the Primates of what constitutes doctrinal orthodoxy.
What is of course particularly interesting about Amoris Laetitia is the suggestion that the response of the church may be affected by matters of cultural context. Whatever challenges that may bring, one can only welcome the softer tone of the document and hope that it will also make ecumenical engagement more productive,