News & Opinion


Members of the official Anglican–Roman Catholic International Commission pose for a photo during their meeting May 11-18, 2024, in Strasbourg, France. Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, England, center left, is the Catholic co-chair of the commission, and Archbishop Philip Freier of Melbourne, Australia, center right, is the Anglican co-chair
Anglican-Catholic dialogue examines churches’ ethical teachings (29 May 2024)

The members of ARCIC III gathered in Strasbourg, France for their annual meeting
ARCIC III meets in Strasbourg (28 May 2024)

Pope Francis gives a gift to Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury during a meeting with Anglican primates in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican. The Pope's gift to Archbishop Welby was a bronze icon of the Mother of God, in the style of the image in Santa Maria Maggiore before which Pope Francis prays before and after all his trips, Maria Salus Populi Romani
Meeting Anglican primates, Pope Francis talks about overcoming divisions (2 May 2024)

Pope Francis gives a gift to Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury during a meeting with Anglican primates in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican. The Pope's gift to Archbishop Welby was a bronze icon of the Mother of God, in the style of the image in Santa Maria Maggiore before which Pope Francis prays before and after all his trips, Maria Salus Populi Romani
Pope to Anglican bishops: ‘Patient dialogue’ needed on papal primacy (2 May 2024)

The Primates of the Anglican Communion meeting in Rome had an audience with Pope Francis
Anglican Primates enjoy historic meeting with Pope Francis (2 May 2024)

2014 ~ Anglican-Roman Catholic news & opinion

Buffalo bishops say region’s economic progress should also benefit immigrants and the poor
10 December 2014 • Persistent link:
Most Reverend Richard Joseph Malone, Catholic Bishop of Buffalo, left, and Right Rev. R. William Franklin, Episcopal Bishop of Western New York, during a meeting with reporters to discuss the letter they wrote together

The bishops of Buffalo’s Catholic and Episcopal dioceses have written a joint pastoral letter urging church members to help make sure immigrants, minorities and the poor, among others, share in the region’s economic progress. While noting new development and revitalization in Buffalo, Bishop Richard J. Malone of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and Bishop R. William Franklin of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York said not everyone is benefitting. “Blacks and Hispanics still live in poverty in greater proportion than do other groups in our population,” the two bishops wrote in the letter to distributed in churches this weekend. “Children still go to bed hungry. Jobs and security elude too many families.” In what they called a pioneering letter, the two called on business and political leaders to “further all efforts to make opportunities for employment, training and advancement that grow out of this hopeful time of growth and expansion accessible to all.” For all church members, “what we say and pray on Sundays must now go out into the world, into the workplace, to the ballot box and to the councils of government to ensure that Western New York becomes a more prosperous community, not only in dollars, but in our investment in each other,” they wrote. The letter marks the first time a Catholic bishop from Buffalo, leader of more than half a million Catholics, and the Episcopal bishop, who leads about 19,000 members, issued a joint pastoral letter.

A moving gift from our Roman Catholic dialogue partners
29 November 2014 • Persistent link:
Bishop Brian Farrell (left), the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity gave a gift of an episcopal ring to the Rev. Kenneth Kearonas he leaves his role as General Secretary of the Anglican Communion. The Rev. Kearon is bishop-elect of the Anglican diocese of Limerick in the Church of Ireland

Every year those who hold official positions in the Anglican Communion with regard to Roman Catholic relations meet with their counterparts in the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) for what are termed “the Informal Talks”. These are sessions when information is shared about developments in each Communion (including our ecumenical relations with other partners) and the progress in the dialogue between us is monitored and assessed.

I participate in these “Informal Talks” in my role as the Anglican Co-Chairman of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Communion for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) along with the Anglican Co-Chairman of ARCIC, who also happens to be the Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, Archbishop Sir David Moxon. The Anglican Communion’s Director of Unity, Faith and Order, the Revd Canon Dr Alyson Barnett-Cowan attends, as well as the Secretary General of the Communion, the Revd Canon Dr Kenneth Kearon. The Roman Catholic Church fields our opposite numbers.

At our recent sessions Canon Kearon, who has recently been elected Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe in his home Church of Ireland, was given a gift by Bishop Brian Farrell, the Secretary of the PCPCU. It was an Episcopal ring. Canon Kearon said of this moving gesture, “This is both a personal gift from someone who has become a good friend during our annual meetings and other conversations, and also symbolic of the deep relationships which now exist between our two Communions, which are now being expressed at every level of our Churches”.

It was a gesture reminiscent of the visit of Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey to Pope Paul VI in 1966. At that time, the Pope gave an Episcopal ring to the Archbishop. That historic meeting led to the setting up of the Anglican Centre in Rome and to the inauguration of the official dialogue between the two Communions.

Archbishop Welby: the Anglican Communion’s challenges and the way forward
17 November 2014 • Persistent link:
The potential of the Communion under God is beyond anything we can imagine or think about - Archbishop Justin Welby

In his Presidential address to the General Synod today, Archbishop Justin spoke about the issues faced by the Anglican Communion and possible ways forward. “During the last eighteen months or so I have had the opportunity to visit thirty-six other Primates of the Anglican Communion at various points. This has involved a total of 14 trips lasting 96 days in all. I incidentally calculated that it involves more than eleven days actually sitting in aeroplanes. This seemed to be a good moment therefore to speak a little about the state of the Communion and to look honestly at some of the issues that are faced and the possible ways forward.”

Time to take commitment to ecumenism seriously
12 November 2014 • Persistent link:
Saskatoon Bishop Don Bolen, left, presides with Anglican Bishop Linda Nicholls at an ecumenical celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Decree on Ecumenism from the Second Vatican Council. Bolen is now Archbishop of Regina and Nicholls is Archbishop and Primate of Canada

When Saskatoon’s Bishop Don Bolen worked for Cardinal Walter Kasper in the Vatican, the boss would tell him that all those documents produced at the Second Vatican Council weren’t supposed to sit on shelves gathering dust. “We’re supposed to act on them,” said Bolen, recollecting his time with Kasper at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Bolen had just finished co-presiding with Anglican Bishop Linda Nicholls at a Nov. 9 ecumenical celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Decree on Ecumenism, one of the most significant documents of Vatican II. The evening event was held at St. James Anglican Cathedral in Toronto. Bolen used the occasion to officially launch “A Church In Dialogue,” a first-of-its-kind publication of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops intended to help Canadian Catholic dioceses act on the Decree on Ecumenism. Catholics have studied and praised the 16 documents of the Second Vatican Council in seminaries and universities for half a century, but have seldom found a way to take up the challenge in each of them. “Our beautiful documents have not had the transformative effect they were meant to have,” said Bolen.

Anglican, Catholic colleges build ecumenical bridges
7 November 2014 • Persistent link:
Ambassador Andrew Bennett addresses Wycliffe College and St. Augustine Seminary students at Wycliffe College

Earlier this week, seminarians at St. Augustine’s Roman Catholic Seminary in Scarborough, Ont., were invited to join the Wycliffe College community in Toronto for an evening of ecumenical fellowship and a lecture from Andrew Bennett, Canada’s ambassador to the Office of Religious Freedom.The evening was structured in three parts, beginning with a service of evening prayer featuring a sermon by the Rev. John-Mark Missio, lecturer in pastoral theology at St. Augustine. The service was followed by a shared meal and Bennett’s lecture.

Such events have been taking place on an annual basis for some 10 years, according to the Rev. Dr. Peter Robinson, who teaches worship and ministry at Wycliffe College, and grew out of a friendship between their respective presidents. Robinson noted that such events are held in the spirit of ecumenism, with the hope that they will give Catholics and Anglicans an opportunity to get to know each other.

Ecumenism needs to get more pastoral
6 October 2014 • Persistent link:
Saint Paul University theology professor, Dr Catherine Clifford

Fifty years on, it’s time for the ecumenical movement to take on a more pastoral mission and worry less about trying to untie the knots of history and theology, Saint Paul University theology professor Catherine Clifford told a small gathering of bishops, clergy, and laypeople in Toronto commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism. Clifford and Anglican ecumenist Archdeacon Bruce Myers were the featured speakers at a prayer service marking the anniversary sponsored by the Ontario Diocesan Directors for Ecumenical and Interfaith Affairs and the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario. “We’ve lost sight of the pastoral importance of ecumenism,” Clifford said. From interchurch marriages to dwindling communities that can’t survive in isolation, the Church’s ecumenical mission is urgent, she said. “A perception that it (ecumenism) has been the domain of professional ecumenists” must be overcome, said Myers.

Richard III’s funeral will bring Catholic and Anglican clergy together
29 September 2014 • Persistent link:
Late 16th century portrait of King Richard III, housed in the National Portrait Gallery, London

King Richard III ruled for two short years, between 1483 and 1485, before he was defeated by the future Henry VII during the Battle of Bosworth, according to Biography. The usurper’s son, Henry VIII, was the king who severed his country’s ties with papal authority, creating the Church of England which is now known around the world as the Anglican Communion. Historical sources suggested Richard was buried in the Grey Friars church, close to the battle site but far from his ancestral home in York. The church was destroyed in the 1530s and Richard’s gravesite remained lost for nearly 500 years. Two years ago, his bones were discovered in a Leicester parking lot. Richard is currently the only English monarch without a marked grave. Now, centuries later, Catholic and Anglican clergy are working together to give the last king of England’s Plantagenet dynasty a proper funeral.

Anglican XI beat Vatican in historic cricket match
22 September 2014 • Persistent link:
The Archbishop of Canterbury with the triumphant Anglican XI at Kent County Cricket Ground

Church of England cricketers beat a Vatican team on Friday in a historic match in support of a joint initiative to wipe out modern slavery and human trafficking. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, congratulated both sides and presented the trophy to winning captain Stephen Gray after the match, played in the shadow of Canterbury Cathedral at Kent County Cricket Ground. The match was organized to raise awareness and funds for the Global Freedom Network, a joint initiative between religious leaders including Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury which is committed to eliminating modern slavery and human trafficking across the world.

Archbishop writes to ecumenical partners about women bishops
17 July 2014 • Persistent link:

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has written to ecumenical partners about the Church of England General Synod’s decision to allow women to become bishops, emphasizing that churches “need each other.”

Anglicans to play Roman Catholics in charity cricket match
23 June 2014 • Persistent link:
Archbishop Justin Welby meets the Vatican First XI during his recent visit to Rome

Anglican and Roman Catholic First XIs will face each other in Canterbury on 19 September in a historic match to raise awareness of slavery and human trafficking. Details of a historic cricket match between Anglicans and Roman Catholics to raise awareness of modern slavery and human trafficking have been announced today. The Twenty20 match, which will be played at Kent County Cricket Club in the shadow of Canterbury Cathedral on 19 September at 4pm, will raise funds for the Global Freedom Network, the joint Anglican-Roman Catholic anti-trafficking initiative launched in March.

Archbishop Welby meets Pope Francis in Rome
16 June 2014 • Persistent link:

Archbishop Justin Welby and Pope Francis meet in Rome and recommit to the struggle against modern slavery and human trafficking

In their second meeting within eighteen months Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin Welby today recommitted themselves resolutely to the struggle against modern slavery and human trafficking.

Following their first meeting last year the two global leaders have continually spoken out to challenge this crime against humanity, and have acted decisively to support the foundation of the new faith based global freedom network. They both endorsed this network as a crucial force in the struggle to rid the world of a global evil.

Archbishop Justin’s gifts for Pope Francis
16 June 2014 • Persistent link:

Archbishop Justin gave Pope Francis the following gifts during their meeting in Rome on 16 June.

Lambeth Palace Fig Tree Cutting: The Ficus carica ‘White Marseilles’ fig tree was brought to Lambeth Palace by the last Roman Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury, Cardinal Reginald Pole in 1556. It probably came from southern Italy where Pole spent a lot of time. The fruits are white fleshed and very rich and sweet, they are ripe when the skins turn a chartreuse colour and start to split.

The Register of Cardinal Reginald Pole: This is a specially bound facsimile copy of two leaves from the Register of Archbishop. The images show the Archbishop’s coat of arms as both Cardinal and Archbishop, with both the papal Cardinal’s hat and the coat of arms of the Archbishop of Canterbury together, and then the elaborately decorated opening page of the Register itself. They come from the long series of archbishops’ registers (from the thirteenth century onwards) which are held by Lambeth Palace Library. The text is the opening of Pole’s register as Archbishop, which recites his various titles, such as Papal Legate and Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria in Cosmedin.

Finally, a copy of Lambeth Palace Library: Treasures from the Collection of the Archbishops of Canterbury will be presented for the Vatican library. This is the volume published to mark the 400th anniversary (in 2010) of Lambeth Palace Library.

Anglican leader comes to Vatican, launches IARCCUM website
14 June 2014 • Persistent link:
Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, visited Rome for a fraternal visit to Pope Francis, June 13-17, 2014.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby arrives in Rome on Saturday for a two day visit that will culminate on Monday in a meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace. On Sunday the Anglican leader will preach at Vespers at the church of St Gregory on the Caelian Hill, visit the two Anglican churches here in Rome and take part in a prayer service with the St Egidio community at St Bartholomew’s on the Tiber Island. During his packed programme, the Archbishop will also launch a new website for the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission (IARCCUM), showcasing ways in which members of the two communions are increasingly worshipping, working and witnessing side by side.

To find out more, Philippa Hitchen spoke with Canadian bishop Donald Bolen, co-chair of IARCCUM and Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan, director of Unity, Faith and Order at the Anglican Communion office in London and co-secretary of IARCCUM.

Canada: Roman Catholic bishop receives Anglican honour
30 May 2014 • Persistent link:
The Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops of Saskatoon, the Rt. Rev. David Irving (left) and the Most Rev. Donald Bolen. Bishop Don was invested as a fellow of the College of Emmanuel and St. Chad where Bishop David serves as Chancellor. Bishop Don also gave the convocation address for the Saskatoon Theological Union

The Anglican-run University College of Emmanuel and St. Chad has awarded an honorary fellowship to the seventh bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, Donald Bolen. Bolen, 53, a well-respected ecumenist in Canada and internationally, received the honour May 9 in recognition of his work in building Anglican-Roman Catholic relations, according to a press statement. Anglican Diocese of Saskatoon Bishop David Irving, who is also the university’s chancellor, presented the award during the 13th Joint Convocation of the Saskatoon Theological Union, where Bolen was the convocation speaker. In a telephone interview, Bolen said it was “a great privilege and a great delight,” to have been bestowed the award. “It’s been a great joy to work with Anglicans to foster reconciliation,” said Bolen. There is a “deep bond of friendship and deep relations between Anglicans and Roman Catholics. We hold so much in common that it’s a lovely field of ecumenism to work in.”

Archbishop Justin to visit Rome
30 May 2014 • Persistent link:
Archbishop Welby reading his address to Pope Francis

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will meet Pope Francis in Rome next month.

The visit, from 14th to 16th June, will focus on the joint modern slavery and human trafficking initiative launched by Archbishop Justin and Pope Francis earlier this year.

The Archbishop will visit the Anglican Centre in Rome and hear about the new international Anglican Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission website, which will be launched at this time.

Uganda: Anglican, Roman Catholic Archbishops break ground for martyrs museum
28 May 2014 • Persistent link:
The Namugongo Martyrs Shrine in Uganda

The Archbishop of Kampala, Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, together with his counterpart Stanley Ntangali, the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, on Wednesday, broke the ground for the foundation of the Uganda Martyrs Museum estimated to cost sh36b. As part of the activities to commemorate the Uganda Martyrs Day due June 3, next week Tuesday, the Christian leaders, accompanied by several other bishops of both the Catholic and Anglican faiths, also paid homage to both the Catholic and Anglican martyrs’ shrines, located in Namugongo.

England: Archbishop Welby and Cardinal Nichols meet with Great Lakes church leaders
19 May 2014 • Persistent link:
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster met with Anglican and Roman Catholic leaders from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, and Rwanda at Lambeth Palace

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Cardinal Vincent Nichols met with delegates from the Peace in the Great Lakes campaign at Lambeth Palace last Thursday. The campaign brings together Roman Catholic and Anglican leaders from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi and Rwanda to encourage a grass-roots movement for peace in the Great Lakes region, which for decades has been affected by political instability and armed conflicts, porous borders and humanitarian crisis, along with tensions over natural resources. The initiative, which was formally launched in December 2013, reaches out to those most affected by the conflict and longing for peace, including women and girls who have experienced trauma and sexual violence.

Ecumenism must involve dialogue and social action, says Welby
11 April 2014 • Persistent link:
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Toronto, Cardinal Thomas Collins, at an ecumenical reception in St. James Cathedral Centre. Welby visited the Anglican Church of Canada, April 7 to 8

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has underscored the value of continuing ecumenical dialogue at a “passionate theological level” while at the same time having “a closer relationship of action” that addresses the needs of the world in such areas as poverty and social justice. Ecumenism must be “something that is our burning desire,” Welby told a gathering of ecumenical guests at a reception at Toronto’s St. James’ Cathedral Centre, during his “personal, pastoral visit” to the Anglican Church of Canada April 8 to 9. “In the last seven verses of John: 17, Jesus prays with extraordinary passion and extraordinary directness about the absolute necessity of the visible unity of the church… Love one another…” In a divided and diverse world, Welby said the church could demonstrate “how humanity can overcome its cultural divisions and truly be… a holy nation of God’s people.”

England: Listen to God: Hear the Poor
6 April 2014 • Persistent link:
Archbishops Justin Welby and Vincent Nichols

Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Justin Welby have jointly launched an initiative this Lent to encourage people to pray for the work churches do to support those in their parishes and beyond. During this week Archbishop Justin and Cardinal Vincent will give also give thanks to God daily for this essential act of service and they will pray for his blessing on the work of churches serving people in need. Their aim is that by joining together in prayer and encouraging others to join them they will foster the work of the church in strengthening communities and helping those in need across the country.

Archbishop Justin and Pope Francis back Anglican-Catholic anti-slavery and human trafficking initiative
17 March 2014 • Persistent link:
Archbishop Welby reading his address to Pope Francis

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Pope Francis have given their backing to a ground-breaking ecumenical initiative to combat modern slavery and human trafficking.

The agreement to help eradicate an injustice affecting up to 29 million people was co-signed on March 17th by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See, Archbishop Sir David Moxon; the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Science, Bishop Sanchez Sorondo; Dr Mahmoud Azab on behalf of the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Egypt; and Mr Andrew Forrest, the founder of the large international philanthropic anti-slavery organisation from Perth, Western Australia “Walk Free”.

The joint statement by the Global Freedom Network signatories, which underscores the searing personal destructiveness of modern slavery and human trafficking, calls for urgent action by all other Christian churches and global faiths. The Global Freedom Network is an open association and other faith leaders will be invited to join and support the initiative.