Ec­u­meni­cal war on slav­ery

The Church of England - - FRONT PAGE - By Amaris Cole

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.”

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