On a bitterly cold first day of Spring, our prayers are offered today for the Most Reverend Justin Welby, who will be enthroned this afternoon as the new Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Enthronement can be watched live here
A video interview with Archbishop Welby can be found here;
for his thoughts, written on his new blog, see here
However, David Virtue reports from Canterbury [here] that the deep and bitter theological divisions within the Anglican Communion will be very apparent even at today's enthronement. As we know, these are not 'political' issues over current 'policy' and a contemporary approach to matters of human sexuality, but profound differences about the authority of Scripture, the natural law and the very nature of God's revelation to the human race. It is the failure or refusal of the largely theologically liberal Anglican 'North' (for want of a better term) to appreciate the implications of their current agenda which has made the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury as a focus of unity for the whole Communion harder and harder to fulfil as each successive occupant of the throne of St Augustine has discovered.
[Update : see here]
Pope Francis has sent the following message of greeting to the new Archbishop [here]
"I thank you for the kind words contained in your message to me at my election, and I wish in turn to offer my greetings and best wishes on the occasion of your Enthronement at Canterbury Cathedral.In a message dated February 4th, but only released today, Pope Benedict (now Pope Emeritus) sent his greetings [full text here] to Archbishop Welby:
The pastoral ministry is a call to walk in fidelity to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Please be assured of my prayers as you take up your new responsibilities, and I ask you to pray for me as I respond to the new call that the Lord has addressed to me.
I look forward to meeting you in the near future, and to continuing the warm fraternal relations that our predecessors enjoyed."
"...You take up your office at a time when the Christian faith is being called into question in many parts of the Western world by those who claim that religion is a private matter, with no contribution to offer to public debate. Ministers of the Gospel today have to respond to a widespread deafness to the music of faith, and a general weariness that shuns the demands of discipleship. Yet the hunger for God, even if unrecognized, is ever-present in our society, and the preacher's task, as a messenger of hope, is to speak the truth with love, shedding the light of Christ into the darkness of people's lives. May your apostolate yield a rich harvest and may it open the eyes and ears of many to the life-giving message of the Gospel.
Let us give thanks to God that the bonds of affection between Catholics and Anglicans have become firmly established in recent decades, through dialogue and collaboration, as well as personal meetings between our respective predecessors. It is greatly to be hoped that we will continue to build upon that important legacy. The disappointments that have been encountered and the challenges that remain on our journey towards full communion are well known, but there have also been signs of hope. Recognizing that our unity will arise only as a gift from the Lord, let us entrust ourselves to his Holy Spirit, as we renew our determination to seek genuine unity in faith and to engage more profoundly in common witness and mission...."
God our Father, Lord of all the world,
through your Son you have called us into the fellowship
of your universal Church:
hear our prayer for your faithful people
that in their vocation and ministry
each may be an instrument of your love,
and give to your servant Justin
the needful gifts of grace;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen
And, thanks to TitusOneNine for this, below is a link to a news report of the enthronement of the great Archbishop William Temple in 1942, the first such liturgy to be filmed.
ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY ENTHRONED
O God of love, we pray thee to give us love:
Love in our thinking, love in our speaking,
Love in our doing, and love in the hidden places of our souls;
Love of our neighbours near and far;
Love of our friends, old and new;
Love of those with whom we find it hard to bear,
And love of those who find it hard to bear with us;
Love of those with whom we work,
And love of those with whom we take our ease;
Love in Joy, love in sorrow;
Love in life and love in death;
That so at length we may be worthy to dwell with thee,
Who art eternal love.
Archbishop William Temple (1881-1944)