by MICHAEL OTTO
NEW PLYMOUTH — The new Anglican Archbishop of New Zealand and Pope Francis have something in common — both have wasted no time in emphasising the importance of true discipleship of Jesus.
Archbishop-elect Philip Richardson, who is the Anglican Bishop of Taranaki, was confirmed at an Anglican meeting in Wellington on March 23, becoming one of three archbishops who will lead that Church in New Zealand.
According to the Anglican Taonga website in a story dated the same day, Archbishop Richardson said the Church’s ability to contribute to the life of the nation will depend, above all, on “deepening its discipleship”.
“Conforming oneself day by day to the way of Jesus and to the person of Jesus is the hardest but most important challenge Christians face — because I think that is where our authenticity comes from, and that is where our ability to speak into our community comes from,” he said.
Archbishop Richardson also said his top priorities will be helping the Church work together for the common good, to advocate for people on the margins and to help the Church “deepen its discipleship” — in other words, to live out its faith.
Celebrating the first Mass of his pontificate in the Sistine Chapel with cardinals last month, Pope Francis linked discipleship with the cross of Christ.
“When we walk without the cross, when we build without the cross, and when we profess Christ without the cross, we are not disciples of the Lord. We are worldly, we are bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, but not disciples of the Lord,” Pope Francis said.
He said if the Church does not confess Jesus Christ, nothing will avail.
“We will become a pitiful NGO, but not the Church, the Bride of Christ. When one does not walk, one stalls.”
Pope Francis encouraged the cardinals to “walk in the presence of the Lord, with the cross of the Lord: to build the Church on the Blood of the Lord, which is shed on the cross, and to profess the one glory, Christ crucified. In this way, the Church will go forward.”
Archbishop-elect Richardson will succeed Archbishop David Moxon, who is taking up an appointment in Rome as the Anglican Communion’s chief ambassador to the Catholic Church.
by MICHAEL OTTO