Extracts from the homily delivered by HE Cardinal Vincent Nichols on 9.11.19 at the Church of the Most Precious Blood, Borough.

His Eminence quoted from Anglicanorum Coetibus: “In recent times the Holy Spirit has moved groups of Anglicans to petition repeatedly and insistently to be received into full Catholic communion individually as well as corporately. The Apostolic See has responded favourably to such petitions. Indeed, the successor of Peter, mandated by the Lord Jesus to guarantee the unity of the episcopate and to preside over and safeguard the universal communion of all the Churches, could not fail to make available the means necessary to bring this holy desire to realisation.”

“The Church, a people gathered into the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, was instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ, as ‘a sacrament – a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all people.’ Every division among the baptised in Jesus Christ wounds that which the Church is and that for which the Church exists; in fact, “such division openly contradicts the will of Christ, scandalises the world, and damages that most holy cause, the preaching the Gospel to every creature.” Precisely for this reason, before shedding his blood for the salvation of the world, the Lord Jesus prayed to the Father for the unity of his disciples. It is the Holy Spirit, the principle of unity, which establishes the Church as a communion.”

The Cardinal continued: In these words, Pope Benedict began to indicate the particular characteristics and mission of the initiative he had taken. They have been well expressed in two simple phrases: ‘to be a bridge for the unity of Christians’, and ‘a force for true ecumenism’, especially in relation to the great Anglican tradition of Christian discipleship which, in its history and practice, contains, expresses and lives so many of the means of sanctification and truth given to us by the Lord.