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Boston College to host theologians for dialogue on Anglican-Roman Catholic relations

23 March 2015 • Persistent link:

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (March 2015) — An international group of 16 prominent Anglican and Roman Catholic theologians and church leaders is gathered at Boston College March 22-26 for the third annual meeting of the Malines Conversation Group, a grassroots forum committed to dialogue and  unity.

The Malines Conversation Group has support from both the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity and the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace. The group takes its name from the Malines Conversations hosted in the 1920s by then Archbishop of Mechelen (Malines)-Brussels Cardinal Désiré-Joseph Mercier. The Malines Conversations were resurrected in Belgium in 2013. Another meeting followed in England in 2014. This is the group’s first meeting in the United States.

One of the group’s participants, Rev. Keith F. Pecklers, S.J., a professor of liturgy at the Pontifical Gregorian University and a professor of liturgical history at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute, Rome, suggested Boston College as a location for the meeting. Fr. Pecklers has previously held visiting posts at Boston College, as Gasson Professor (2006-07) and as a visiting scholar for the Jesuit Institute (2002-03).

The group is expected to discuss the sacramentality of the Word and the Eucharist. Last year’s conversation focused on themes surrounding communion, memory and the future. The group’s first meeting included reflection on socio-cultural, liturgical and ecclesial developments from the time of the Malines Conversations to the present, and on the anthropological dimension of liturgical experience in the two Communions.

According to Fr. Pecklers, a significant moment at this year’s meeting will be the joint presentation Mar. 24 by Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin, C.Ss.R., and The Right Rev. Catherine Waynick, Episcopal Bishop of Indianapolis. It is believed to be the first time leaders of the Roman Catholic Church and the Episcopal Church of the same city will make a joint presentation of this kind in the U.S.

The Malines Conversation Group’s patrons are Cardinal Godfried Danneels, archbishop emeritus of Mechelen-Brussels, and the Right Rev. and the Right Hon. Lord Williams of Oystermouth Rowan Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury.

The Malines Conversations participants will join with the Boston College community at noon on Mar. 25, the Feast of the Annunciation, for a Mass to be celebrated by Bishop of Saskatoon (Canada) Donald Bolen. Archbishop Tobin will preside.

The Malines Conversations participants are:


  • Rev. Dr. Jennifer Cooper, Lecturer in Theology, College of the Resurrection, Mirfield, and member of the Faculty of Theology, Oxford University
  • Rev. Dr. James Hawkey, Precentor of Westminster Abbey, London, and  Dean-elect of Clare College, Cambridge University
  • Rev. Dr. Simon Jones, Chaplain and Fellow of Merton College, Oxford University
  • The Most Rev. Sir David Moxon, Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See, Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, and co-Chair of ARCIC III (The official Anglican-RC International Dialogue)
  • Rev. Dr. Michael Nai-Chiu Poon, Director and Asian Christianity Coordinator of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in Asia at Trinity Theological College in Singapore
  • The Very Rev. Canon David Richardson, Former Representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Holy See; Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome.
  • Rev. Austin K. Rios, Rector of St. Paul’s  Episcopal Church, Rome
  • Rev. Canon Nicholas Sagovsky, Former Canon Theologian at Westminster Abbey, London


  • The Most Rev. Donald Bolen, Bishop of Saskatoon (Canada)
  • Rev. Anthony Currer, Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, Vatican
  • Joris Geldhoff, Professor of Liturgical Studies and Sacramental Theology, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium
  • Dr. Maryana Hnyp, Theological Faculty of the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium
  • Paul Murray, Professor of Systematic Theology, University of Durham, member of ARCIC III
  • Rev. Keith F. Pecklers, S.J., Professor of Liturgy at the Pont. Gregorian University; Prof. of Liturgical History at the Pont. Liturgical Institute, Rome
  • Rev. Thomas Pott, O.S.B., Monastery of Chevetogne, Belgium; Professor of Sacramental Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Pontifical Liturgical Institute, Rome
  • Rev. Cyrille Vael, O.S.B., Monastery of Chevetogne, Belgium