October ~ 2019 ~ Anglican-Roman Catholic news & opinion
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.