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)

2019 ~ Anglican-Roman Catholic news & opinion

A Joint Christmas 2019 Message from Archbishops Richard Clarke and Eamon Martin
19 December 2019 • Persistent link:
Irish Archbishops Richard Clarke and Eamon Martin. Photo: Church of Ireland

Together we wish you God’s richest blessings this Christmas and through the year ahead.

These few days at the turn of the year offer an opportunity for people who are normally very busy to give worthwhile time to family and friends. It can also be a stressful and difficult time for people who feel estranged from friends and loved ones to whom they were once close, and for those who feel they have no–one they can truly call a friend.

Over Christmas and New Year many people are able to rekindle relationships that have somehow gone sour. We are all capable of bringing light and love into another person’s life – perhaps someone for whom hope itself is fading, someone who desperately needs the rekindling of trust that only care and friendship can bring. Jesus Christ came into the world to bring us not only the light of his love but also the warmth of his friendship. Indeed, he assured his disciples that they were more than just “followers”; they were his “friends” (John 15.15).

Dialogue continues on path of co-operation
1 December 2019 • Persistent link:
Bishop Brian Dunn, Catholic co-chair of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue in Canada

Catholics and Anglicans in Canada have been working on their relationship ever since Gen. James Wolfe surprised Gen. Louis-Joseph, Marquis de Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham in the fall of 1759.

By 1763 King Louis XV had no choice but to cede France’s North American possessions entirely to England’s King George III. The practicalities of a Protestant king and his Protestant army trying to impose their religion on a majority Catholic population were such that the English made allowances for the Catholic Church while they granted land and paid clergy salaries for the Anglicans.

More than 250 years later, the dialogue between Catholics and Anglicans in Canada carries on, unhindered by royalty and without much reference to the Seven Years’ War. The latest round ended Nov. 18 in Toronto after three days with a presentation to theology students at Trinity College of the Toronto School of Theology at the University of Toronto.

Archbishop of Canterbury visits Pope Francis and installs new Director of the Anglican Centre
19 November 2019 • Persistent link:
Pope Francis embraces Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, leader of the Anglican Communion, during a meeting in the pope’s Vatican residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae

On Wednesday 13th November the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Right Reverend Justin Welby, visited Rome and met with Pope Francis at Casa Santa Marta. The Pope and Archbishop spent more than 30 minutes together in private conversation before the Pope greeted members of the Archbishop’s delegation. The delegation included Archbishop Welby’s wife, Mrs Caroline Welby, Archbishop Ian Ernest, the new Director of the Anglican Centre, and his wife Mrs Kamla Ernest, and Bishop Michael Burrows, the Chair of Governors of the Anglican Centre.

Afterwards, Archbishop Welby said of the meeting, “We discussed our shared passion for peace in South Sudan and agreed that if the political situation permits the creation of a transitional government of national unity, it is our intention to visit together. Our commitment to the teaching of Jesus means we long to see a lasting solution to the conflict in South Sudan. We renew our call for spiritual and political leaders there to strive for peace.” It is hoped that Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby will be able to visit South Sudan in the early part of 2020. The Holy See’s press office released an official communiqué relating to the visit.

Vatican notes growing ecumenical consensus on what ‘church’ means
25 October 2019 • Persistent link:
Pope Francis attends an ecumenical prayer service at the World Council of Churches' ecumenical center in Geneva in 2018. Responding in October to a WCC document on the nature and mission of the church, the Vatican said that while Catholics cannot share the Eucharist with other Christians, they can and should pray and work together. Photo: Paul Haring/CNS

Working for Christian unity and engaging in formal theological dialogues to promote it obviously raises questions about what the nature and mission of the church is. In a project that took two decades of work by Orthodox, Anglican, Protestant, Catholic and Pentecostal theologians, the World Council of Churches in 2013 published a document summarizing the points of greatest consensus. In late October, the Vatican gave the WCC its formal response to the document, which was called “The Church: Towards a Common Vision.”

The response, coordinated by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and posted on its website, included input from Catholic theologians from around the world, bishops’ conferences and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. What is meant by “church” is a key ecumenical question as Christians work and pray for the unity Jesus wanted his followers to have, the Catholic response said. Or, as the WCC document said, “agreement on ecclesiology has long been identified as the most elemental theological objective in the quest for Christian unity.”

Anglican Delegation attends John Henry Newman’s Canonization
15 October 2019 • Persistent link:
Anglican Delegation attends John Henry Newman’s Canonization

Among the thousands from England and Wales in Rome this past Sunday, 13 October 2019, for the canonization of John Henry Newman was an official delegation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Anglican Communion and Church of England. This delegation was headed by the Most Reverend Ian Ernest, the newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See. The Prince of Wales lead the UK delegation, along with HM Ambassador to the Holy See, Sally Axworthy.

During the entrance procession, Pope Francis stopped to greet Archbishop Ian Ernest and later gratefully acknowledged the presence of the Anglican delegation before the Angelus: “I address a special thought to the delegates of the Anglican Communion, with profound gratitude for their presence and I also welcome you, dear Brother, the new Archbishop [director of the Anglican Centre] here in Rome.”

Joint statement on the canonization of John Henry Newman
10 October 2019 • Persistent link:
John Everett Millais, ‘Portrait of John Henry Newman’

To mark the canonization of Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman, taking place on Sunday, 13 October 2019, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) have prepared a joint statement of thanksgiving for his Christian witness to the world. The statement is signed by Archbishop Richard Gagnon, President of the CCCB, and Archbishop Linda Nicholls, Primate of the ACC.

Saint John Henry Newman was a disciple of Jesus Christ who was uniquely graced by the Holy Spirit with many personal, intellectual, and spiritual gifts. Baptized into Christ in the Church of England, his particular journey of faithfulness, through the baptism we all share, would call him into service as a priest, scholar, and educator, and later as a Roman Catholic theologian and eventual member of the College of Cardinals. Along the way, his talents and charisms were nurtured and shared in a variety of ways in both our traditions, to their significant mutual benefit.

Cardinal John Henry Newman might well be the patron saint of ecumenism
8 October 2019 • Persistent link:
Bishop Fintan Monahan, the Roman Catholic bishop of Killaloe

Theologian, scholar, educationalist, poet, novelist, convert, cardinal and blessed are some of the outstanding titles of John Henry Newman we can celebrate on the occasion of his canonisation in Rome

Yet, 174 years after he converted from Anglicanism to Catholicism, it is his conversion that we remember as the great watershed moment of his life.

Newman, the convert, created a huge stir at the time as did those of his contemporaries who became Catholics in the Oxford Movement. There is no doubt but that the church then, and oftentimes since, saw Newman’s conversion as a boost to Catholicism that evoked a measure of triumphalism in the church.

Joint effort puts archives under one roof
5 October 2019 • Persistent link:
An artist’s rendition of the interior of a new archive project expected to bring together the archives of the Archdiocese of Kingston with two religious orders and the Anglican Diocese of Ontario at the now closed Church of the Good Thief in Kingston, Ont.

Two dioceses in eastern Ontario — one Catholic and one Anglican — along with two religious orders are in talks to share one facility for all four entities’ archival records. It’s a project that some involved hope sets a precedent for future sharing between different faiths that are seeing declining numbers. “We hope this project will be trendsetting as an ecumenical archives project that relies heavily on partnerships of like-minded institutions,” said Veronica Stienburg, archivist for the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul in Kingston, Ont.

The project would see the archives of the Archdiocese of Kingston, the Sisters of Providence, the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph and the Anglican Diocese of Ontario all moved into the closed Church of the Good Thief in Portsmouth Village area of Kingston. The church was closed by the archdiocese in 2013 due to the deteriorating condition of the building and a lack of clergy to staff it. The archdiocese wants to keep the building however, which was added to the Canadian Register of Historic Places in 2008. It has a heritage property designation from the City of Kingston and is protected by an Ontario Trust heritage easement. Readers of The Catholic Register may also remember it from the columns of the late Msgr. Thomas Raby, who was pastor there late in his life.

ARCIC Theologian, Fr Paul Béré, wins the Ratzinger Prize in Theology, 2019
1 October 2019 • Persistent link:
Fr Paul Béré, SJ has been awarded the 2019 Ratzinger Prize

Fr Paul Béré, SJ will be awarded the Ratzinger Prize in Theology by Pope Francis on 9th November 2019. In announcing the news the President of the Ratzinger Foundation, Fr Frederico Lombardi, made particular mention of Fr Béré’s membership of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission. Father Béré was appointed as a member of ARCIC in 2018.

Originating from Burkino Faso, though born in Ivory Coast, Fr Béré entered the Jesuits in 1990. He completed a doctorate at the Biblical Institute in Rome and has taught Old Testament and biblical languages at the Jesuit theologate in Abidjan (Ivory Coast) and more recently has been appointed to teach in the Biblical Institute in Rome. Fr Béré has led several important projects for the development of theology in Africa, participated in the establishment of the first Jesuit School of Theology in Africa and launched a journal to promote research in African theology. His participation as an expert in several synods of bishops and his contribution to the General Secretariat of the Synods have enabled Africa to establish itself in the world of theological research. In recognising him the Ratzinger Foundation paid tribute to this contribution he has made to the development of theology in Africa.

Papal embrace for new director of the Anglican Centre in Rome during Mauritius visit
13 September 2019 • Persistent link:
Pope Francis delivers a speech in Port Louis on 9 September 2019 during his visit to Mauritius. Photo: Vatican Media/Reuters

The visit of Pope Francis to Mauritius on Monday brought fresh energy and confidence to Christians in the country, according to the Bishop of Mauritius, Ian Earnest, who leaves this month to take up his new role as Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome.

Former Primate of the Anglican Church of the Indian Ocean, Archbishop Ian Ernest, attended the mass at the Mary Queen of Peace Monument at which the Pope presided during his day-long visit to the Island. The Archbishop said the timing of the Pope’s visit, just weeks before he begins his new role in Rome, made him think about how God works. “It was a great opportunity to meet with him, to be part of this eucharistic celebration at which he presided in front of 100,000 people with the authorities of the country.”

The eucharist was attended by people from all areas of Mauritius and of many different religious persuasions. Archbishop Ian said: “As Anglicans we were praying the Pope’s visit would create an impact on our people so that they can see and discover the values of the kingdom of God. We had been preparing for that and we have not been disappointed.”

New Director of Unity, Faith and Order appointed for the Anglican Communion
3 September 2019 • Persistent link:
The Revd Dr Will Adam with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

The Ecumenical Adviser to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr William Adam, is to be the new Director of Unity, Faith and Order for the Anglican Communion. His new role, which he takes on with immediate effect, will be held alongside his role at Lambeth Palace, which he has held since 2017. He succeeds the Revd Canon Dr John Gibaut, who was appointed to the post in 2014 and held it until earlier this year, when he became President, Provost and Vice-Chancellor of Canada’s Thorneloe University.

Will Adam was ordained in the Church of England in 1994 and held parish appointments until taking up his post advising the Archbishop of Canterbury. From 2017 until now he has also served as Ecumenical Officer in the Church of England’s Council for Christian Unity. He has experience of ecumenical dialogue at national and international level.

Interpreting our 30-year embargo
4 August 2019 • Persistent link:

The IARCCUM steering committee has established a 30-year embargo on documents from the international Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogues. This policy corresponds to the practice at the Lambeth Palace Library and the Anglican Centre in Rome. This means that there are new documents coming available all the time. Of course, the policy does not apply to materials that have been published by the dialogues, such as the agreed statements and press releases. It also does not apply to materials published in other places, such as journal articles. As I work through the catalogue, I occasionally identify items that do not need to […]

ARCIC II catalogue is only partial
4 August 2019 • Persistent link:

As I have pieced together the ARCIC II catalogue, I have found some unusual gaps. The majority of the catalogue was provided as an Excel file by the Lambeth Palace Library. It provided the ARCIC II protocol numbers and the corresponding LPL file numbers. The LPL makes the following comment: “Unlike the ARCIC I series of papers, the ARCIC II referencing does not replicate the original numbering; but the original numbers of the papers are included in the catalogue descriptions.” The LPL has also included additional materials that may not have been included in the original sequence but which had […]

ARCIC I material completed, ARCIC II begins
3 August 2019 • Persistent link:

After seven years of work on this website, the complete archive of ARCIC I has been digitized and catalogued. Many thanks to our partners at the Anglican Centre in Rome and the Lambeth Palace Library. Each document has been identified by the original protocol numbers assigned by the ARCIC co-secretaries. Protocol numbers have been modified slightly because of the computer coding requirements. Blank spaces and slashes (/) have been replaced with a dash (-). There are also a number of preparatory and special commissions that have been digitized along the way. The complete list of commissions included in this archive […] development notes
3 August 2019 • Persistent link:

This website has now been in development for over seven years. The initial scanning of the ARCIC I materials in 2009 was a project of, at that time Msgr. Don Bolen, a staff member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. He was responsible for the Anglican desk at the PCPCU from late 2001 to late 2008. In the months before he left Rome, he collected the documents, borrowed some from the Anglican Centre in Rome, and took them to a quiet summer rental in Sicily where he proceeded to individually scan nearly 18,000 pages on a flat-bed scanner. […]

Anglican Church of Canada elects its first female primate – Bishop Linda Nicholls
15 July 2019 • Persistent link:
Bishop Linda Nicholls was elected as primate of the Anglican Church of Canada in July

The Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) has elected Linda Nicholls, the Bishop of the Diocese of Huron, as its next primate. She will become the first woman to hold this position in the ACoC and only the second female primate in the Anglican Communion.

The election, held during the Church’s General Synod at Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver on 13 July, began with five nominees. Bishop Linda was elected on the fourth ballot, with 64 per cent of lay votes and 71 per cent of votes among the clergy.

Speaking shortly after the election, Bishop Linda said: “you have bestowed on me an honour that I can hardly imagine, and it is terrifying. But it is also a gift, to be able to walk with the whole of the Anglican Church of Canada from coast to coast to coast.”

Covenant for “historical cousins” – the Methodist Church and the Church of England – moves forward
12 July 2019 • Persistent link:
Bishop Christopher Cocksworth addresses the Church of England's General Synod

Despite an amendment to slow down the process, the Church of England’s General Synod has agreed a series of motions to take forward its Covenant with the Methodist Church in Britain to allow interchangeability of ministries and intercommunion between the two Churches.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, told the General Synod: “I for one am profoundly committed to moving forward in this matter, for the sake of the Gospel, for the sake of the Church and for the sake of the world we are sent to serve.”

Pope Francis: Goal of ecumenism is unity, not leveling differences
1 July 2019 • Persistent link:
Pope Francis walks with Orthodox Archbishop Job of Telmessos as they leave Mass marking the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican June 29, 2019. Archbishop Job was representing the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople

At the end of Mass on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, Pope Francis and Orthodox Archbishop Job of Telmessos walked down the stairs under the main altar in St. Peter’s Basilica and prayed together at the apostle’s tomb. The archbishop was representing Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople at the pope’s celebration of the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, who were martyred in Rome and are the patron saints of the Roman church.

Greeting the archbishop in his homily June 29, Pope Francis told him, “Your presence reminds us that we can spare no effort in the journey toward full unity among believers, in communion at every level. For together, reconciled to God and having forgiven one another, we are called to bear witness to Jesus by our lives.” Meeting members of the Orthodox delegation June 28, the pope said Sts. Peter and Paul are exemplars of “the apostolic courage of proclamation, which also entails a commitment to respond to the new challenges of the present time.” Patriarch Bartholomew and his longstanding theological and pastoral concern about climate change is one example of that, the pope said, and “has been a source of inspiration for me.”

Four Churches Gather to Renew Ecumenical Covenant
27 May 2019 • Persistent link:
Archbishop Donald Bolen, Bishop Sid Haugen, Bishop Robert Hardwick, and Fr. Vasyl Tymishak at the annual covenant service for Anglican and Roman Catholic churches in southern Saskatchewan (Canada). The covenant will be expanding to include the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the Ukrainian Catholic Church in 2020

Lutherans and Ukrainian Catholics in Regina, Saskatchewan joined the annual celebration of the Anglican and Roman Catholic ecumenical Covenant on Sunday afternoon, May 26. The Covenant began in 2011 between the Anglican Diocese of Qu’Appelle and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina. In recent years, the Covenant partners have been working towards a renewed covenant which will include the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) and the Ukrainian Catholic Church. This year’s annual covenant service was an opportunity to give thanks to God for drawing the four churches towards this renewed relationship.

Former Archbishop of the Indian Ocean appointed Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome
17 May 2019 • Persistent link:
Archbishop Ian Ernest was appointed as the new Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome in 2019

The Bishop of Mauritius, the Most Revd Ian Ernest, has been appointed Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Personal Representative to the Holy See. Archbishop Ian, who served as Primate of the Anglican Church of the Indian Ocean for 11 years until 2017, will take up his new role towards the end of 2019. One of his last duties as Bishop of Mauritius will be to welcome Pope Francis to the island when he makes an official visit in September.

“I feel deeply honoured and humbled by this appointment. It is a calling from God which I accept with all humility”, Archbishop Ian said. “I will try my best to honour this calling and to honour the office. I look forward to working in close collaboration with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Board of Governors of the Anglican Centre in Rome.”