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A deep sense of appreciation

April 6, 2005

A deep sense of appreciation

Anglican leaders throughout New Zealand have, in recent days, been extending their condolences over the death of Pope John Paul II to the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church here.

Archbishop Whakahuihui Vercoe, who heads the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, says he has sent a personal message of sympathy and support to his Roman Catholic counterpart, Cardinal Tom Williams.

"I have a deep sense of appreciation," says Archbishop Vercoe, "for what the Pope has done for humankind. I am thankful for his stand on so many things.

"I think, for example, of the way he so consistently spoke out for marginalised people, races and nations.

"And the manner in which he approached his own death was just another testimony to his courage and holiness.

"In the coming days, our prayers and thoughts will be especially with our Catholic friends here."

Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Rowan Williams, has accepted an official invitation to attend the funeral of the Pope in Rome, on Friday. He will be the first serving Archbishop of Canterbury to attend a Pope's funeral.

ENDS

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