October ~ 2018 ~ Anglican-Roman Catholic news & opinion
“Synodality,” a key concept of Pope Francis‘ papacy, was used repeatedly in the final document of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocation discernment. In simple terms, “synodality” means “walking together” with every member of the church, recognizing that the grace of baptism makes one part of the body of the church and, therefore, responsible for its life and mission. “The church must really let herself be given shape by the Eucharist that she celebrates as the summit and source of her life,” being like “the bread made from many stalks of wheat and broken for the life of the world,” the synod document said.
A Roman Catholic bishop and his Anglican counterpart have been inspired by an official international ecumenical mission partnership to create a joint project to address the development needs of children living in poverty. In October 2016, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Francis jointly commissioned and sent out 19 pairs of Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops to do joint mission across the world. The Roman Catholic Bishop of Saint John, Robert Harris, and the Anglican Bishop of Fredericton, David Edwards, were not part of that initiative; but inspired by it the two bishops – whose dioceses overlap – have signed a joint declaration to launch a child development programme.
The project, “Dads & Tots”, will work with single fathers from the Waterloo Village and South End neighbourhoods of Saint John, a port city in Canada’s New Brunswick province. The project will enable mentoring relationships with experienced fathers who can teach them parenting skills and facilitate weekly relationship-building sessions whereby the fathers can interact with their children in a controlled literacy- and play-based environment.
The project follows the formation last year of a Saint John IARCCUM Group between the two dioceses. Dads & Tots has now begun as a six-week pilot ahead of its permanent launch in January. It is being run by a specialist in early childhood intervention and will use facilities and equipment donated by the two dioceses.
Pope Francis‘ top-down change of the Roman Catholic Church took on an ecumenical dimension last week as two Church of England bishops were officially included in the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales visit ad limina to Rome.
In their 1 Oct 2018 communique the bishops’ conference reported among the “firsts” of their 24-29 Sept 2018 meeting with Francis was the presence of two Anglican bishops and a representative from the Conference of Religious in England and Wales.
“In a number of our visits we have been accompanied by two bishops of the Church of England, Bishop Martin Warner and Bishop Christopher Foster. On one occasion we were joined by Sister Frances Orchard CJ of the Conference of Religious in England and Wales. We also visited the Pontifical Commission for Communication, whose Prefect, Dr Paolo Ruffini, is a layman. These are all ‘firsts’ – examples of openness and change” they said.
According to Catholic canon law, diocesan bishops and prelates with territorial jurisdiction are obliged to meet with the pope every five years to report on the state of their dioceses and prelatures. Last week’s visit included the 22 diocesan bishops of England and Wales, the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, the Ordinary of the Military Ordinariate, the Apostolic Eparchs of the Ukrainian and Syro-Malabar Churches in Britain, and the Apostolic Prefect of the Falkland Islands.