In September 2010, Benedict XVI made the first official state visit to England by a Roman Catholic Pope since the Protestant Reformation. Although atheists threatened to have him arrested for covering up the activities of pedophile priests, the Pope apologized for the scandal, met with the Queen, and addressed an assembly of British politicians as “the Successor of Peter” and a representative of “the Catholic faith that comes to us from the Apostles” (Telegraph, 18 September 2010). In a show of unity, Benedict prayed together with the head of the Anglican Church, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.
During the visit, the Pope warned about the growing marginalization of Christianity in modern societies and urged Anglicans and Roman Catholics to meet the challenge of aggressive secularism by overcoming their differences and fighting together against this common enemy. After beatifying Cardinal Henry Newman, an Anglican priest who converted to Roman Catholicism, the Pope used his final speech to urge a “restoration of full communion” between the two churches that separated nearly 500 years ago.
This ecumenical outreach by the “mother church” to regain her separated “daughters” has long been predicted in the Scriptures (Isaiah 47:1-8).