March ~ 2022 ~ Anglican-Roman Catholic news & opinion
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Right Hon Justin Welby, is playing host to the senior archbishops, presiding bishops or moderators from across the Anglican Communion this week, at a Primates’ Meeting being held at Lambeth Palace, London.
The leaders of the independent-yet-interdependent autonomous national and regional churches of the Anglican Communion were first invited to gather for “leisurely thought, prayer and deep consultation” by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Donald Coggan, in 1978. Since then, successive Archbishops of Canterbury have invited their fellow Primates to gather at varying intervals at venues around the world.
This week’s meeting is the first in-person gathering of Anglican Primates since they met in Jordan in January 2020. International travel restrictions to protect against the Covid pandemic has prevented further in-person meetings until now. The Primates held online meetings in November 2020 and 2021 to discuss a range of issues, including the global impact of the pandemic.
It had originally been planned for the meeting to take place in Rome, but was switched to London at a time when travel restrictions in Italy meant that a significant number of Primates would not have been able to fully participate. There are currently no Covid-related travel restrictions for visitors to the UK, but a small number of invited Primates will be taking part in the meeting online because of return-travel restrictions in their home countries.
The annual meeting of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) and the Office of Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation (IRDC) of the World Council of Churches (WCC) took place at the PCID Office on 24-25 March 2022.
The meeting was characterized by three features: i) An appraisal of the 45-year ecumenical journey between the PCID and the WCC in fostering interreligious dialogue through joint projects and collaboration and their reception and impact in local communities. ii) Brainstorming and mapping out a plan of action for future celebration of the 50th anniversary of this journey. iii) Prayer for peace in the world, particularly for Ukraine.
Over the years, PCID and WCC have engaged in a dialogue on a shared Christian perspective towards interreligious dialogue, issuing a number of documents including “Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World: Recommendations for Conduct” (2011), “Education for Peace in a Multi-Religious World: A Christian Perspective” (2019), and “Serving a Wounded World in Interreligious Solidarity: A Christian Call to Reflection and Action During COVID-19” (2020).
Church leaders and experts involved in the work on the new Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia presented ‘Praedicate Evangelium‘ to journalists on hand both at the Holy See Press Office, as well as those watching online during a two-and-a-half-hour press conference. The text of the document was released just two days earlier, on the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, when Pope Francis had the Apostolic Constitution promulgated.
Among the presenters at the Press Conference, Bishop Marco Mellino, Secretary of the Council of Cardinals, noted that the title itself of the document, ‘Praedicate Evangelium‘, underscores the missionary dimension and core duty of evangelization, proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel, which regards all the offices assisting the Pope in his pastoral ministry. He also pointed out how the Roman Curia is by its nature at the service of the universal Church and under the direction of the Pope assisting him to carry out his universal pastoral mission throughout the world. He also noted how the concept of synodality enters into the equation now, as the Roman Curia becomes increasingly instrumental in listening and dialoguing with the particular Churches as it carries out its service.
The Anglican Communion’s Director of Unity, Faith and Order, Dr Will Adam will leave his position in the coming months to pursue a new role as the next Archdeacon of Canterbury and Residentiary Canon of Canterbury Cathedral, the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion. He is currently based at the Anglican Communion Office (ACO).
Speaking of his new appointment, Dr Adam said: “it’s a great honour and pleasure to be invited to take up this role. Canterbury is a place very close to my heart – as it has been for pilgrims from around the world for centuries. I’m excited by the opportunities for mission and ministry in Canterbury Diocese and the Cathedral as they work towards building a flourishing and sustainable future for their communities. I can’t wait to get to know the parishes, churches and communities of the Archdeaconry as we work together in God’s service.”
The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, the Most Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, commented: “I am pleased that Will Adam will be taking up this significant post in Canterbury. He comes with long experience as a parish priest and pastor which has been informed by his work in the world Church. We will miss him at the Anglican Communion Office but congratulate Will and the Cathedral and Diocese of Canterbury on this news.”
Northern Ireland’s top Catholic and Anglican prelates are calling on the UK government to do more to help Ukrainian refugees. “I think perhaps the United Kingdom has said let’s think about the bureaucracy and see how many doors we can open. That’s the wrong way round,” said Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, the Catholic primate of All Ireland. “I really feel that where there is a humanitarian disaster of this scale in Europe then it behooves all of us to respond generously and urgently to the need,” he said.
His Anglican counterpart, the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh, John McDowell, called on the UK government to replicate the European Union in opening its doors to Ukrainian refugees. “The Home Office is not a notoriously sympathetic department and has maybe difficulty processing these matters, but we would certainly urge them to do as much as other countries in the European Union have done and to do that with a good grace and a good heart and to do it quickly, so that people who are already extraordinarily anxious don’t have a further anxiety added when they’re coming to the borders,” McDowell said.
Today, on the vigil of the Feast day of Saint Patrick, the Church of Ireland Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop John McDowell, and the Catholic Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, and the led the annual Saint Patrick’s lecture and discussion organised by Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council in the Market Place Theatre & Arts Centre, Armagh. The annual lecture and discussion reflects on how the witness of Saint Patrick speaks into our contemporary world. This year’s theme was: Saint Patrick as a model for reconciliation and peace. Following this event, the archbishops met with assembled media to deliver their Saint Patrick’s Day message and to express concern about the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.
On 15 March a study group of Anglicans and Methodists led by Revd Dr Tim Macquiban from the Methodist Church in Britain and Revd Canon Jane Brooke from the Church of England was received at the office of the PCPCU by Monsignor Juan Usma Gómez, Head of the Western Section.
The visit was part of a three‒day program in Rome to explore how churches are promoting peace and reconciliation. The group was also accompanied by Revd Matthew Laferty, director of the Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome (MEOR).
Fulfilling a promise made years ago, Pope Francis this July will visit South Sudan, a country torn apart by a civil war. He will also visit the Democratic Republic of Congo. “At the invitation of their respective Heads of State and Bishops, His Holiness Pope Francis will make an Apostolic Journey to the Democratic Republic of Congo from 2 to 5 July 2022, visiting the cities of Kinshasa and Goma and to South Sudan from 5 to 7 July, visiting Juba,” says the statement released by the Vatican’s press office a little after noon Rome time.
Francis had announced the trip himself, from the window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, following a Sunday Angelus in 2019. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and the country’s instability delayed the visit. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni did not clarify if Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, would be joining in the South Sudan leg of the visit, but the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury confirmed the Anglican leader would accompany the pontiff. The two have spoken about wanting to visit this African nation together. In fact, Welby spoke about this possibility Feb. 6. “God willing, sometime in the next few months, maybe year, we will go to see them in Juba, not Rome, and see what progress can be made,” Welby said. “That’s history,” Welby said of the likely trip that will mark the first time the two Christian leaders will travel together.