2022 ~ Anglican-Roman Catholic news & opinion
Pope Benedict XVI is rightly remembered not only as a gentle pastor but as a dedicated upholder of Catholic teaching. He was also committed to the ecumenical dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian Churches, including the Church of England and the Churches of the Anglican Communion. When he visited Lambeth Palace in 2010 as part of his State Visit to the United Kingdom, he told a gathering of Roman Catholic and Anglican bishops, “I wish to join you in giving thanks for the deep friendship that has grown between us and for the remarkable progress that has been made in so many areas of dialogue during the forty years that have elapsed since the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) began its work. Let us entrust the fruits of that work to the Lord of the harvest, confident that he will bless our friendship with further significant growth”.
The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Bishop Anthony Poggo, has issued a statement following the death of Benedict XVI, expressing his “great sadness” and assuring brothers and sisters in the Roman Catholic Church of his prayers.
Bishop Anthony Poggo is currently returning to the UK from Tanzania after preaching the Christmas Day sermon Christ Church Cathedral in Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania. Speaking at the airport, he said:
“It is with great sadness that I learn of the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
In Pope Benedict’s long life and ministry of service to Christ in His Church he saw many profound changes in the church and in the world. He lived through the Nazi regime in Germany and served briefly in the Second World War. As a younger theologian and priest he witnessed first-hand the discussions of the Second Vatican Council. As a professor and then as an Archbishop he lived in a divided Germany but saw too the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of his homeland.
Pope Francis, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland will make an historic Ecumenical Peace Pilgrimage to South Sudan from 3rd to 5th February next year.
The long-awaited visit was due to take place in July of this year, but was postponed after the Vatican announced that Pope Francis would not be able to travel on advice from his doctors. The visit was promised during a spiritual retreat held at the Vatican in 2019, in which South Sudanese political leaders committed to working together for the good of their people.
The three spiritual leaders have often spoken of their hopes to visit South Sudan – to stand in solidarity with its people as they face the challenges of devastating flooding, widespread famine and continued violence. Pope Francis has said: “I think of South Sudan and the plea for peace arising from its people who, weary of violence and poverty, await concrete results from the process of national reconciliation. I would like to contribute to that process, not alone, but by making an ecumenical pilgrimage together with two dear brothers, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.”
A relic of St Chad is due to transferred from Birmingham to Lichfield cathedral tomorrow as a shrine of St Chad is reinstated in the location of the original medieval shrine.
St Chad, a monk and abbot, moved his see from Repton to Lichfield when he was made Bishop of Mercia in 669. He died just three years later in a plague. He became associated with healing, until his relics had to be moved during the Dissolution. They were eventually enshrined at St Chad’s new Catholic cathedral in Birmingham when it opened in 1841, in a new ark designed by Pugin.
The Second Vatican Council was the universal Catholic Church’s response to God’s love and to Jesus’ command to feed his sheep, Pope Francis said, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the council’s opening.
The council reminded the church of what is “essential,” the pope said: “a church madly in love with its Lord and with all the men and women whom he loves,” one that “is rich in Jesus and poor in assets,” a church that “is free and freeing.”
Pope Francis has appointed an Irish Benedictine to lead the Vatican’s dialogue with the Anglican Communion. The Irish Catholic reports Fr. Martin Browne OSB, a monk at Glenstal Abbey in Murroe, County Limerick, Ireland will shortly take up the post in the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity. He succeeds Fr. Anthony Currer as the official for Methodist and Anglican Relations.
At times of world crisis, the “habits of division” between Christians must end, the Archbishop of Canterbury said on Wednesday. He was addressing the 11th World Council of Churches (WCC) Assembly, meeting in Karlsruhe, Germany (Comment, 2 September).
Archbishop Welby spoke of the Lambeth Conference meeting in Canterbury over the summer (News, 19 August), at which participants had expressed “huge differences” over matters such as human sexuality. “We found our way forward through, not by solving the issues but by living in the light of Christ, by saying we do not agree, by being honest without excluding one another.”
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby addressed the World Council of Churches 11th Assembly on 7 September.
The archbishop spoke of how the theme of the WCC assembly—“Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity”—resonates with the theme of the Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops, held in August under the theme “God’s Church for God’s World.”
Archbishop Justin today addressed the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches. The WCC Assembly is the highest governing body of the World Council of Churches, and normally meets every eight years. This year’s conference took place between 31st August – 8th September 2022. It is the only time when the entire fellowship of member churches come together in one place for prayer and celebration. The theme of the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches is “Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity”.
Pope Francis, sent greetings to the World Council of Churches 11th Assembly as it opened.
The Pope wished the representatives of the churches at the 31 August to 8 September assembly “a meaningful and fruitful meeting that deepens and strengthens the bonds of communion between the Churches and the ecumenical organizations present.”
The pontiff said in advance greetings that he has a “pastoral interest in the work of the Assembly.”
Pope Francis also noted that the Catholic Church has sent “delegated observers” to WCC assemblies since the WCC 3rd Assembly took place in New Delhi in 1961.
The Executive Director of the Living Church Foundation, Dr Christopher Wells, has been named as the next Director of Unity, Faith and Order for the Anglican Communion. Dr Wells will succeed the Venerable Dr William Adam, who was installed as Archdeacon of Canterbury last month.
As Director of Unity Faith and Order, Christopher Wells will lead and support the work of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) – the international body that advises provinces, the Secretary General and the Instruments of Communion on ecumenical relations and doctrine. He will also serve as the lead staff member for Anglican Communion delegations to official international ecumenical dialogues.
The Vatican’s lead cardinal for promoting Christian unity has warned of an “ecumenical emergency” which undermines evangelisation, unless Churches can find a common purpose in the ecumenical movement.
Cardinal Kurt Koch, the prefect of the dicastery for promoting Christian unity, said in a message to the Anglican bishops attending the Lambeth Conference that a “common ecumenical witness to Jesus Christ in the present world is only possible when Christian churches overcome their divisions”.
He said that there were different visions of ecumenism, from Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox perspectives, so “asking questions about the goal of the ecumenical movement, and consequently of a more precise understanding of Church unity cannot simply be done in an abstract way”. Instead, “this questioning is always directed and informed by prior ecclesial decisions of a confessional nature”.
“This means that the still largely lacking agreement on the goal of the ecumenical movement is rooted in a still largely lacking ecumenical agreement on the nature of the Church and its unity.” This means, he continued, that “there are basically as many ecumenical goals as there are confessional ecclesiologies”.
The headlines were always likely to be: “Archbishop validates Lambeth 1.10” — but that’s only part of the story, the Bishop of Monmouth, the Rt Revd Cherry Vann, said on Thursday, at the Lambeth Conference.
One of the joys of the Call on Human Dignity on Tuesday, she said, had been the recognition, for the first time, that countries across the world were in very different places over human sexuality. “Justin very clearly said that to bless civil partnerships and gay marriages, in most parts of the Anglican Communion, would mean the end of the Church, because there would be no credence or credibility whatsoever.
“Similarly, if in the West we were not to do that, exactly the same thing would apply. I think that, for the first time, that is being publicly acknowledged by someone of Justin’s standing.
They marched up the hill wearing vestments of all styles and colors and speaking an array of languages from around the world. They laughed, sang and danced as they climbed the bleachers and lined up in rows, from shortest to tallest. And then, after some final adjustments and one fainting spell, the last one took her seat and there they were: the bishops of the Anglican Communion.
The portrait of all 650+ bishops in attendance is a tradition dating back to the first Lambeth Conference in 1867. That first portrait, showing a small group of white men in black suits, is unrecognizable from the one taken on July 29 on an athletic field at the University of Kent, under a blazing sun.
From across the 165 countries of the Anglican Communion, bishops are gathering in Canterbury today to pray, study scripture, discuss global challenges and seek God’s direction for the decade ahead.
The Lambeth Conference 2022, which runs until August 7, is only the 15th such global gathering of Anglican bishops in 155 years.
The event was postponed from 2020 because of the Covid 19 pandemic and takes place against a backdrop of global uncertainty – including the climate emergency, war and poverty.
Taking as their theme “God’s Church for God’s World”, the bishops will spend time praying and studying the Bible together (focussing on the book of 1 Peter) as well as discussing major challenges faced by their global communities – ranging from climate change and scientific progress to Christian Unity and inter-faith relations.
Churches from the global Anglican Communion will be formally represented on the body which nominates future Archbishops of Canterbury.
Until now the wider worldwide Anglican Communion, outside of England, has been represented by just one of the 16 members of the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) for the See of Canterbury.
But under changes to the Standing Orders of the General Synod formally approved today, there will now be five representatives of other churches of the Anglican Communion – one each from Africa; the Americas; Middle East and Asia; Oceania and Europe.
The new rules will also ensure the inclusion of laity and clergy as well as bishops; a balance of men and women and that at least half of the five will be of Global Majority Heritage.
All diocesan bishops of the Church of England, including the archbishops, are appointed by Her Majesty the Queen following a nomination by the Crown Nominations Commission for the see.
Anglicans have an indispensable role to play as Roman Catholics start a two-year conversation on how to become a more “synodal” church, Pope Francis said at his first meeting with Archbishop Linda Nicholls, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.
Nicholls met the pope at the latest meeting of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), which took place in May at the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace in Rome. Due to the absence of Philip Freier, archbishop of Melbourne and Anglican co-chair of ARCIC who was attending the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia, the primate spoke on behalf of the Anglican side of the dialogue. Nicholls presented a formal statement on ARCIC from the Anglican perspective. ARCIC’s other co-chair, Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham, England, spoke on behalf of Roman Catholics.
“It was really very lovely,” the primate said of her meeting with Francis. “The pope is a very warm and gracious man who really pays attention to the people he’s with and gives you his full attention while you’re there.”
Archdeacon of Canterbury Dr Will Adam shares ecumenical insights and hopes ahead of the 15th Lambeth Conference.
Anglican bishops from around the globe are gearing up for a major event in the life of their communion which will shape the ministry and mission of its members over the next decade. The fifteenth Lambeth Conference takes place in Canterbury from 26 July to 8 August, bringing together over 600 bishops, alongside spouses, ecumenical observers and other invited guests.
The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) General Secretary Rev. Anne Burghardt will be taking part in that meeting, together with Prof. Dirk Lange, LWF’s Assistant General Secretary for Ecumenical Relations. Among those on hand to welcome them to the ancient city on the south-eastern tip of England will be a friend and ecumenical expert, Rev. Dr Will Adam, who was recently appointed Archdeacon of Canterbury.
Originally held at Lambeth Palace, the residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury on the banks of the river Thames in London, the Lambeth Conference has been meeting more or less once a decade since 1867 for prayer, reflection, fellowship and discussions on the challenges facing the 80-million-member global communion. It is one of the four, so-called Instruments of Unity of the Anglican Communion.
With the 15th Lambeth Conference scheduled this summer, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is seeking to unite the Anglican Communion under common expressions of faith and social engagement, rather than focusing on debates over human sexuality that have divided bishops at past conferences.
“The aim of this conference – which, like all the [Lambeth] conferences, is a very significant moment in the life of the community – is to encourage Anglicans around the world to be looking outwards to the world,” he said in a press conference with conference organizers on June 22. “The church should express its mission and its life of discipleship through engagement with the great challenges that the next 30 or 40 years will impose upon the vast majority of Anglicans, especially those in areas of climate fragility, and political and other fragility.”
The Lambeth Conference, a gathering of bishops from across the Anglican Communion that has taken place about every 10 years since 1867, is being held July 26 to Aug. 8 at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England; Canterbury Cathedral; and Lambeth Palace in London. The conference is one of the three Anglican instruments of communion, in addition to the Primates’ Meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council, the communion’s main policymaking body.