VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis and the archbishop of Canterbury denounced human trafficking as a crime against human dignity Monday and pledged to combat it jointly — finding common ground on a social issue amid deep theological divisions over the Anglicans' ordination of women bishops.
Francis and Archbishop Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the 80 million-strong Anglican Communion, met in private and then prayed together in a Vatican chapel, their second such meeting since both were elected within days of one another last year.
Francis has made the fight against modern-day slavery a priority of his pontificate: The Vatican has hosted two conferences, Francis has met with women who were trafficked and the Vatican has teamed up with the Anglican church and Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the world's foremost seat of Sunni learning, to launch a global initiative to fight human slavery.
"Let us persevere in our commitment to combat new forms of enslavement, in the hope that we can help provide relief to victims and oppose this deplorable trade," Francis told Welby.
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