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Geoff Pugh/REX
UK News

Archbishop Welby 'to express remorse' over Reformation rifts

by Aaron James

According to the Mail on Sunday, Most Rev Justin Welby is due to issue a joint statement with the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, expressing remorse over the time when various people challenged and abandoned Catholic Church teachings.

Significant moments of the period include German priest Martin Luther's nailing of an academic paper to a a church in Wittenberg, outlining his opposition to certain Catholic theology, and King Henry VIII's formation of the Church of England.

It's thought the statement will urge believers to ask for forgiveness for atrocities which happened on both sides during the Reformation and for there to be greater unity and relationship between the Catholic and Protestant churches today.

The statement's due to come a month before members of the Church of England's General Synod discusses the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Rev Andrew Atherstone, a member of the Synod, told the Mail on Sunday: "As the Church of England prepares to celebrate the Reformation, it should also repent of the violence and brutality it sometimes committed in God's name."

But former Conservative Home Office minister Ann Widdecombe, who converted from Anglicanism to Catholicism, thought a statement urging repentance over the Reformation period was unnecessary.

She told the paper: "These gestures are pointless.

"The Archbishop has not put anyone to death, as far as I know.

"Modern Christians are not responsible for what happened in the Reformation. You might as well expect the Italians to apologise for Pontius Pilate."

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