A moving gift from our Roman Catholic dialogue partners

29 November 2014 • Persistent link: iarccum.org/?p=1766

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.