The Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi, former Primate of Burundi, has been installed as director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s representative to the Holy See.
The archbishop was installed Oct. 27 during Anglican evensong at the Oratorio di San Francesco Saverio del Caravita, a frequent host church for Anglican Centre events.
In the morning, the Archbishop of Canterbury escorted Archbishop Ntahoturi to the Vatican for a private audience with Pope Francis. They then joined the pope for lunch at his residence.
“It is not common for Francis to invite people he meets for official audiences to lunch so the gesture can be read as a sign of the warmth and ease of the relationship that exists between the Pope and Welby,” Christopher Lamb wrote for The Tablet.
Ntahoturi is a former civil servant who served as chief of staff to Burundi’s President Jean-Baptiste Bagaza from 1979 to 1986. He served four years in prison after the 1987 military coup. Later, he was appointed Bishop of Matana and then Archbishop of Burundi. He also worked as vice chairman of the country’s commission on truth and reconciliation.
In an interview for the Diocese of Chicago’s Thrive magazine, Jim Naughton asked Ntahoturi whether the work of the centre could be affected by tensions within the Anglican Communion and disagreements with the Vatican on issues such as the ordination of women.
“Issues will always be there in any organization in any human society,” he said. “For me, I feel that the only place where we shall not have differences and issues is when we get to heaven.
“So I believe that those questions within the Anglican Communion between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church and others will continue, but what is important to me is, ‘Are we ready, are we willing, to sit and discuss and accept that in spite of those issues we can continue witnessing to the world?’
“When we talk about unity, I don’t think we will be talking about an organic unity — that we be under the same umbrella — but the unity that Jesus Christ prayed for, and that I think we should been encouraging now. It is a unity of saying, ‘Can we join hands and then witness to the world in action and also through our faith?’”
Adapted from ACNS