Kilkenny bishops reflect on special international Anglican-Roman Catholic summit

Visiting holy sites to pray in both Rome and Canterbury was very much part of the process. On January 23 it was moving for us to be part of an Anglican Choral Evensong being held for only the second time ever in the Choir Chapel of St Peter’s Basilica. The meeting coincided in part with the annual Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity which always ends on January 25 when our churches mark the Feast of the Conversation of St Paul.

Appropriately that evening all the bishops attended Catholic vespers at the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls, where the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury both preached and commissioned the IARCCUM delegates in their pairs for their work. For us and many of those attending the liturgy, it was encouraging to observe both church leaders clearly at ease in each other’s company and both committed to the goal of Christian unity.

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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

Now available: ARCIC-II fonds 1983-1990 with some gaps.

• 6 agreed statements
• Responses & commentaries
• Minutes
• Study papers
• Draft texts

About IARCCUM

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:

Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby pause to pray at the chair of St Gregory the Great, following the vespers and commissioning of the IARCCUM bishops on October 5, 2016. Photo: Rev Amanda Currie
Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby pause to pray at the chair of St Gregory the Great, following the vespers and commissioning of the IARCCUM bishops on October 5, 2016. Photo: Rev Amanda Currie

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.