2018 ~ Anglican-Roman Catholic news & opinion
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has spoken of the danger that “fear of the other” poses to “Christian witness and presence”. Speaking to the General Assembly of the Conference of European Churches, meeting in Novi Sad, Serbia, he said that churches working together can help to break down the walls that others seek to build. “The Church breaks across boundaries and frontiers as if they did not exist,” he said. “By being in Christ, I am made one by God in a family that stretches around the world and crosses cultural, linguistic and ecumenical frontiers, driven by the Spirit who breaks down all the walls that we seek to erect.”
He began his address by saying that “fear is the greatest danger that afflicts Christian witness and presence.” He added: “It is fear of the other that causes us to put up barriers, whether within churches, between churches and for that matter between nations. It is fear of the Other the causes us to build walls, whether spiritual or physical. It is fear of the Other that leads to divisions and eventually to the fall of civilisations.”
Thousands of Christians from Uganda and neighbouring countries are arriving in Namugongo for special services to commemorate the Ugandan Martyrs. In 3 June 1886, the Kabaka – or King – of Buganda, Mwanga II, killed 32 young Anglicans and Roman Catholic men – who worked as his pages – by burning them alive at Namugongo. They were among 23 Anglicans and 22 Roman Catholics who were put to death by the king for killed by for refusing to recant their faith between 1885 and 1887.
Yesterday, services were held at both the Anglican and Roman Catholic shrines in Namugongo, led by bishops from both Churches. Other similar events will be held in the coming days, leading up to national commemorations on Sunday.
A joint Anglican-Roman Catholic delegation visited southern Malawi last week to celebrate the success of an ecumenical scholarship programme started last year by the Anglican Diocese of Upper Shire and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mangochi. The St Timothy Scholarship Programme was launched in September 2017 as a direct response to the Common Declaration of Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at San Gregorio al Celio in Rome on 5 October 2016. The two leaders commissioned and sent out 19 pairs of Anglican and Catholic bishops to work together in collaborative mission and witness to the “ends of the earth” to give voice to their common faith in Jesus Christ. The programme has been warmly endorsed by the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM).
The programme, which is funded by offshore donors and managed jointly by the two dioceses, provides scholarships to enable children from the poorest families to attend residential secondary schools run by the dioceses on an all expenses paid basis. The €600 (Euro, approximately £530 GBP) scholarships cover tuition fees, room and board, school uniforms, school shoes, athletic wear, stationery, toiletries, bedding, school bag, scientific instruments and a travel allowance funding the student’s cost of travelling from home to school and return by public transport at the beginning and end of each school term.
An informal but officially-sanctioned ecumenical dialogue between Anglican and Roman Catholic theologians has met to consider “the difficult question of Anglican Orders.” The Malines Conversation Group was originally established in the early 1920s by Cardinal Désiré-Joseph Mercier, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Malines-Brussels; some 24 years after Pope Leo XIII declared that Anglican Orders were “absolutely null and utterly void”. The 1920s Malines Conversations Group envisioned the restoration of communion between Anglicans and Roman Catholics in the phrase l’Église Anglicane unie non absorbée – united, but not absorbed.
The leaders of the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches in Ireland have issued a joint statement celebrating “all that has been achieved in building peace” since the historic Belfast Agreement was signed 20 years ago. In a joint statement on eve of the 20th anniversary of the agreement, which is also known as the Good Friday Agreement, as it was agreed by political parties on 10 April 1998 – Good Friday – Archbishops Richard Clarke and Eamon Martin, say that the agreement “has continuing potential to transform society and life for all of us. Nothing remotely its equal has been outlined then or since.”
Archbishop Richard is the Anglican Archbishop of Armagh and Primates of the Church of Ireland; Archbishop Martin is the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh and leader of the Catholic Church in the country. They say that the Good Friday Agreement “sought to address contentious political problems in the context of decades of violence, divided communities and immense suffering and death on our streets. As such it was a complex and, in places, controversial document.