Monday, April 28, 2014

Despite the problems, the redoubtable Archbishop Fisher set out for the Vatican that morning. Only then did he and his party realize that they were being given special honors. The Swiss Guard was arrayed in full dress uniform, the red carpets were out, and he was received ceremoniously by the Chamberlain of Sword and Cape.

Archbishop Fisher was alone with Pope John for more than an hour. They spoke of the relations of all the churches. The pope grouped the Anglicans with other Protestants, and the archbishop suggested there was a difference. Pope John accepted special status for Anglicanism and said how delighted he was, as successor of Gregory the Great, to be meeting with the successor of Augustine of Canterbury.

During the meeting, Pope John made some observations on the Gospel. In his meditations, he thought of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. At the end, the gentle pope asked the archbishop when the Anglicans would come back, and Archbishop Fisher made his now-famous reply — that it was impossible to go back; instead, "we must go forward together."

Read it all.

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