Saturday, October 22, 2016

Pope in Sweden could break ground on inter-communion, bishop says

The English bishop William Kenney is a key figure in the official Catholic-Lutheran dialogue, and will be with Pope Francis in Sweden at the end of the month. He believes unity is a matter of decades away, and it's possible that Francis may use the trip to make a gesture on inter-communion.

To describe English bishop William Kenney as an “auxiliary of Birmingham” doesn’t capture the depth and range of his longstanding roles in pan-European church bodies - for two terms, for example, he was president of Caritas Europe, and he played a key role in organizing relief efforts for former Soviet countries following the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

Next week he will be part of a small, inner core at the joint Catholic-Lutheran commemoration of the five-hundredth anniversary of the Reformation for which Francis will be going to Sweden. It’s the first visit by any pope to Scandinavia since John Paul II’s 1989 visit, which Kenney, incidentally, coordinated.

A fluent Swedish-speaker who spent 37 years in Sweden, Kenney  - who also speaks good German -  has long been involved with ecumenical dialogues at the inter-Nordic level, especially in the formal dialogue between Catholics and Lutherans. In 2013 he was appointed by the Holy See as co-chair of the international dialogue between the Lutheran World Federation and the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Recently he sat down with Crux in London to talk through the background to the event, the dialogue that’s expected to take place, and what Pope Francis might do or say to take it to a new level...

Read the rest here.

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