Archbishop and Pope talk about Christian-Muslim relations

By agency reporter
9 May 2008

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has described his private meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican earlier this week as "friendly and informal". They spent almost half an hour in the Pope's study.

Afterwards Dr Williams said: "[W]e discussed a number of ecumenical issues, some of the Pope's impressions from his American visit and common issues in Christian Muslim dialogue."

This latest meeting was the second private encounter between the two leaders. During Dr Williams' visit to the Vatican in 2006 the Pope hosted a private lunch for the Archbishop, following a formal audience and worship.

Dr Williams has been in Rome to convene the 7th Building Bridges Seminar, a gathering of Christians and Muslims, and to attend the installation of the Rev David Richardson as Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and as the Archbishop's Representative to the Holy See.

Dr Williams told Vatican Radio that the work of the Centre had been instrumental in maintaining strong links between the two churches.

He declared: "[P]artly because of the work of the previous couple of directors, especially Bishop John Flack, tremendously deep foundations have been laid of personal trust and confidence; and in terms of ease of access and honesty of discussion, I think we're in a very good phase of that relationship and I'm absolutely confident that the new director will be building on that".

The full transcript of Dr Williams' Vatican Radio interview and the audio can be found at: www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/1787

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