Pope Francis held an audience with the Archbishop of Canterbury this morning

Pope Francis has told the Archbishop of Canterbury that although unity is distant it is still their goal, during a meeting at the Vatican today.

The Pope and Archbishop Justin Welby prayed together in one of the Vatican chapels following their second private meeting since the Pope’s election.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope also reiterated their committment to fight modern slavery and human trafficking.

During his address to Archbishop Welby, Pope Francis said: “We cannot claim that our division is anything less than a scandal and an obstacle to our proclaiming the Gospel of salvation to the world.” He continued: “The goal of full unity may seem distant indeed, it remains the aim which should direct our every step along the way. I find a source of encouragement in the plea of the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism that we should advance in our relationship and cooperation by placing no obstacle to the ways of divine providence and by not prejudicing future promptings of the Holy Spirit (cf. Unitatis Redintegratio, 24). Our progress towards full communion will not be the fruit of human actions alone, but a free gift of God. The Holy Spirit gives us the strength not to grow disheartened and he invites us to trust fully in the power of his works.