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Bishop Christopher meets the Pope
Bishop Christopher met the Pope during a meeting in the Vatican last week.
He visited Pope Francis with Catholic bishops from England and Wales, who were visiting the Vatican as part of a pilgrimage they make every few years.
Bishop Christopher, who co-chairs the English Anglican Roman Catholic committee, was invited along as part of the commitment of Catholic bishops in England and Wales to ecumenical relationships.
It was thought to be the first time that a Church of England observer had joined Catholic bishops in the so-called 'ad limina' pilgrimage they make to Rome every five to eight years. It's therefore a significant step forward in ecumenical relations.
As he met Pope Francis, Bishop Christopher said: “I am very honored. Thank you for receiving me. We pray for each other and for all we share.”
Because our bishop was at our Diocesan Conference for the first three days of the week, he was unable to be with the Catholic bishops for the whole of their week-long visit. the Bishop of Chichester, the Rt Rev Martin Warner, attended on the Monday of that week in Bishop Christopher's place.
According to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool, who participated in the visit, ecumenism plays an important part between the different denominations in England and can serve as an example for others.
The Rt Rev Malcolm McMahon, Archbishop of Liverpool, said: “We are very ahead in our understanding of ecumenical dialogue and the way in which it can enrich our Church, that is the message in which we have received from the Second Vatican Council and from the teachings of the popes since that time.”