Anglican/Roman Catholic International Commission Issues Statement on Authority
12 May 1999 • Persistent link: iarccum.org/?p=3774
Anglican Communion News Service
At a press briefing in Westminster Abbey, London, today, the co-chairmen of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), the Rt Revd Mark Santer (Anglican) and the Rt Revd Cormac Murphy-O’Connor (Roman Catholic), launched the document “The Gift of Authority”, the latest in study documents issued by 18 members of the Commission.
This new document is the third agreed statement from ARCIC to address the question of authority in the church – its nature, exercise and implications. The statement takes into account the recent work in both Churches concerned with the matter of authority – the Lambeth Conference 1998 resolutions of the topic, “The Virginia Report” (Anglican document sent to the Provinces), and the 1995 Encyclical Letter on Ecumenism, “Ut Unum Sint”.
Section 52 of “The Gift of Authority” (pp. 37/38) lists “Advances in Agreement” on authority reached by the Commission. They are:
52. The Commission is of the view that we have deepened and extended our agreement on:
- how the authority of Christ is present and active in the Church when the proclamation of God’s “Yes” calls forth the “Amen” of all believers (paragraphs 7-18);
- the dynamic interdependence of Scripture and apostolic Tradition and the normative place of Scripture within Tradition (paragraphs 19-23);
- the necessity of constant reception of Scripture and Tradition, and of re-reception in particular circumstances (paragraphs 24-26);
- how the exercise of authority is at the service of personal faith within the life of the Church (paragraphs 23, 29, 49);
- the role of the whole people of God, within which, as teachers of the faith, the bishops have a distinctive voice in forming and expressing the mind of the Church (paragraphs 29-30);
- synodality and its implications for the communion of the whole people of God and of all the local churches as together they seek to follow Christ who is the Way (paragraphs 34-40);
- the essential co-operation of the ministry of ‘episcope’ and the ‘sensus fidei’ of the whole Church in the reception of the Word of God (paragraphs 29, 36, 43);
- the possibility, in certain circumstances, of the Church teaching infallibly at the service of the Church’s indefectibility (paragraphs 41-44);
- a universal primacy, exercised collegially in the context of synodality, as integral to ‘episcope’ at the service of universal communion; such a primacy having always been associated with the Bishop and See of Rome (paragraphs 46-48);
- how the ministry of the Bishop of Rome assists the ministry of the whole episcopal body in the context of synodality, promoting the communion of the local churches in their life in Christ and the proclamation of the Gospel (paragraphs 46-48);
- how the Bishop of Rome offers a specific ministry concerning the discernment of truth (paragraph 47).