Stretching Hands across the Gulf

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, head of the Anglican Communion, went on pilgrimage today to the Catholic shrine of Lourdes, site of a church approved apparition of Mary to St. Bernadette. Catholic News Service says he gave the homily for a mass celebrated by Cardinal Walter Kasper. BBC.

See the text of his sermon, in which he seems to accept the story:

When Mary came to Bernardette, she came at first as an anonymous figure, a beautiful lady, a mysterious ‘thing’, not yet identified as the Lord’s spotless Mother.  And Bernardette – uneducated, uninstructed in doctrine – leapt with joy, recognising that here was life, here was healing.  Remember those accounts of her which speak of her graceful, gliding movements at the Lady’s bidding;  as if she, like John in Elizabeth’s womb, begins to dance to the music of the Incarnate Word who is carried by his Mother.  Only bit by bit does Bernardette find the words to let the world know;  only bit by bit, we might say, does she discover how to listen to the Lady and echo what she has to tell us.