Ecumenical war on slavery
THE ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury is joining with the Pope to back an ecumenical initiative to combat the ‘evil’ of modern slavery and human trafficking.
The Most Rev Justin Welby and Pope Francis are coming together on a ‘ground-breaking’ ecumenical project to eradicate the ‘networks of malice and cruelty’ that affect up to 29 million people worldwide.
The initiative was co-signed on 17 March by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See, Archbishop Sir David Moxon, the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Science, Bishop Sanchez Sorondo and Mr Andrew Forrest, the founder of the international philanthropic anti-slavery organisation ‘Walk Free’, based in Australia.
Following the announcement this week, the Archbishop said: “Anglicans and Roman Catholics have, since 1966, been in serious and prayerful dialogue with each other, to seek the unity that Christ wills for his church in the world.
“Jesus has said ‘May they all be one,’ and this imperative has inspired and sustained the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, and the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission, for many years as an act of faith.”
Justin Welby said Christians are now being challenged to find more profound ways of putting ministry and mission where faith is and ‘and being called into a deeper unity on the side of the poor and in the cause of the justice and righteousness of God’.
“Many are already engaged in the struggle and we join them with much to learn as well as much to contribute,” he added.
“All are called to join common cause to end this crime and suffering. The more we share the pain and oppression of the poor and suffering in the name of God, the more God will draw us closer to each other, because we will need each other’s strength and support to make the kind of difference that is needed.”
The Pope has used much of his first year to speak out against slavery, inviting experts to the Vatican to debate the issue, and learning what can be done to tackle it, ensuring the Catholic Church plays a role in eradicating it.
The Archbishop said: “We are struggling against evil in secret places and in deeply entrenched networks of malice and cruelty.
“No one of us is strong enough, but together we are ready for the challenge God is placing before us today, and we know that he will strengthen us so that all people may live in freedom and dignity.”