The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Right Reverend Justin Welby led a retreat with Pope Francis in Casa Santa Marta this week (10-11 March) for the political leaders of South Sudan. The Reverend John Chalmers, former Moderator of the Church of Scotland was also in attendance. The ecumenical retreat was the fruit of an unprecedented collaborative effort by Lambeth Palace and the Secretariat of State.
A remarkable, spontaneous gesture. Breaking protocol, at the conclusion of his remarks at the end of the spiritual retreat, Pope Francis fell to his knees, kissing the feet of South Sudan’s civil authorities.
“To the three of you who signed the Peace Agreement, I ask you, as a brother, remain in peace”, the Pope said. “I ask you from the heart. Let us move forward. There will be many problems, but don’t be afraid, go forward, resolve the problems”. In impromptu remarks following his address, Pope Francis said, “You have started a process; may it end well. Although struggles will arise, he said, these should stay “within the office”. However in public, he said, “before the people: [keep your] hands united”. In this way, the Pope said, “from simple citizens, you will become Fathers of the Nation”.
A Spiritual Retreat involving civil and ecclesiastical authorities of South Sudan is held in the Vatican, and is opened by the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin. Reflections include a meditation centered on the national anthem of Africa’s youngest country.
A time of grace dedicated to reflection and prayer, to ask God “for a future of peace and prosperity for the people of South Sudan”. In the words of the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, this is the meaning of the spiritual retreat currently underway in the Vatican, at the Casa Santa Marta.
The Catholic bishops of England and Wales and Church of England bishops met in Leicester from 16 to 17 January for their biennial conference. Together 27 Catholic and 27 Anglican bishops explored a diverse range of subjects including opportunities for closer collaboration at a regional and national level. Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu were present throughout. Cardinal Nichols and Archbishop Welby addressed the gathering.
Fifty bishops – 25 Anglicans and 25 Catholics – will convene in the British city next January 16-17. Rev Worthen told SIR: “Spirituality, theology and coexistence will be the ingredients of the meeting” that with a tight agenda: liturgy and debates with the spotlight on the Declaration “Walking Together On The Way.” Next January 16 and 17 fifty bishops, half of them Catholic and half of them Anglican, will convene in Leicester, central England, a city with an important tradition of interreligious dialogue, for a two-day ecumenical meeting.
Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue:
Online resource centre for Anglican-Roman Catholic relations
Welcome to the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) website, an online resource centre for Anglican-Roman Catholic relations.
Highlights of the IARCCUM.org collection
21 study papers from the 1967-1975 Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission on the Theology of Marriage, including:
• Mixed Marriage: Status Quaestionis ~ ARCJPC-MM-2
• John Macquarrie, On the Nature of the Marriage Bond (Vinculum Conjugale) ~ ARCCM-17
• Aloysius M. Ambrozic, Indissolubility of Marriage in the New Testament: Law or Ideal? ~ ARCCM-19
• Prof. G.R. Dunstan, The Anglican Understanding of Natural and Sacramental Marriage ~ ARCCM-23
IARCCUM is a commission established by the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church as an official joint commission. IARCCUM exists in parallel with the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, the theological commission known as ARCIC. IARCCUM’s purpose is:
In 2000, Archbishop George Carey, then Archbishop of Canterbury, and Cardinal Edward Cassidy, then President of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, convoked a conference of Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops at Mississauga in Canada to discern the progress made in theological conversations since the 1960s, and whether closer co-operation could be developed between the two traditions. The result was IARCCUM, which has been meeting since 2001. In February 2007, it published the first fruit of its work, the report Growing Together in Unity and Mission, accompanied by two commentaries. IARCCUM’s work continues under the co-presidency of Archbishop Donald Bolen and Bishop David Hamid.
In October of 2016, IARCCUM gathered 19 pairs of Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops in Canterbury and Rome for an 8-day pilgrimage. This gathering was an opportunity to study and pray together at the tombs of Saints Peter, Paul, Augustine of Canterbury, and Thomas à Becket. The bishop-pairs were commissioned by Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby at vespers at San Gregorio al Celio. On the site where St Gregory the Great commissioned St Augustine to evangelise the English, these bishops were commissioned to promote the growth in communion between these two churches and the reception of the agreements reached in the theological dialogues.