Dear Brothers in the Episcopate, let us therefore continue, with our Christian brothers and other believers, to be for the world what Cardinal Suenens called the “soul supplement”. I am happy to tell you that besides Catholic Bishops, I have been able to have brotherly meetings with Archbishop Rowan Williams and with some other non Catholic religious leaders; it is interesting to note they share this view. After my seven year mission in the Russian Federation, where I had the opportunity and privilege of meeting closely with two great Patriarchs and knowing the Russian Orthodox Church pretty well, I hope that my mission here will also enable me to know and share our concerns with the Church of England and other churches and religious denominations in this country.
As you know, following the proclamation made by the Holy Father, the Holy See is preparing the Ecumenical Meeting of Assisi. That meeting, as similar previous meetings, will certainly be an occasion to highlight what we can commonly offer to our society.
Dear brother Bishops, I have the honour to tell you that during my meeting with the Holy Father before I left Rome to come here to take up the function that he had entrusted to me, he asked me to bring his pastoral solicitude to all of you and to the clergy, religious, faithful and people of Great Britain. He recalled keenly the hospitality he had received from Her Majesty and Her Majesty’s Government, and also from the Church and the British people. He remains grateful to all of you. He also reminded me that he had asked you to be “generous in implementing the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus” (Address to the Bishops of England, Scotland and Wales, St Mary’s Oscott). In his name, I wish to thank all of you for the way you have meticulously carried out that mandate. At the same time, I wish to congratulate and encourage Monsignor Keith Newton who was appointed first Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, and pray for the continuous development of the relations between Anglicans and Catholics in this country.