May ~ 2022 ~ Anglican-Roman Catholic news & opinion
In 1889 an English aristocrat, Viscount Halifax (Charles Lindley Wood) and a French Roman Catholic priest, Abbé Fernand Portal, met on the beautiful island of Madeira. A friendship began that led to the Malines Conversations of the 1920s which were the precursor of the modern bilateral dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, which now has two official commissions, ARCIC and IARCCUM.
The Malines Conversations continue in a modern form today as a theological working group, supporting the official dialogues through exploring ways to address some vital points which may still hinder our journey towards the unity to which we are committed as Anglicans and Catholics. Last December we published Sorores in Spe an evaluation of Apostolicae Curae, Pope Leo XIII’s negative judgement on Anglican Orders dating from 1896.
A recent session of the Malines Conversations were held in Madeira, returning to the place where one could say that the journey towards the restoration of full communion between Anglicans and Roman Catholics began. It was in many ways a pilgrimage to the roots of our dialogue.
The Anglican Chaplain of Holy Trinity Funchal, the Revd Michael Jarman, and the Bishop of Funchal, Dom Nuno Brás da Silva Martins, both played their part in hosting the dialogue group. On Sunday 15 May, the Revd Fr Thomas Pott delivered the sermon at the Anglican Eucharist in Funchal, and Dom Nuno later in the week presided at an ecumenical service at which I preached, and hosted the group for a reception and dinner. Ecumenical relations between Anglicans and Roman Catholics in Madeira are very good indeed. It was wonderful that Fr Michael and his parishioners at Holy Trinity could host the group at their Sunday mass; it is quite likely that Viscount Halifax worshipped at Holy Trinity in the late 19th century.
Pope Francis said on Friday that members of the Anglican Communion are “valued travelling companions” as Catholics take part in a worldwide synodal process.
Speaking to the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Dialogue Commission (ARCIC) on May 13, the pope said he hoped that Anglicans would contribute to the two-year initiative leading to the Synod on Synodality in Rome in 2023.
He said: “As you know, the Catholic Church has inaugurated a synodal process: for this common journey to be truly such, the contribution of the Anglican Communion cannot be lacking. We look upon you as valued travelling companions.”
The 85-year-old pope noted that in July he is due to travel to South Sudan with Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the Anglican Communion.
The pope, who has been making his public appearances in a wheelchair since May 5 due to a torn ligament in his right knee, said: “As part of this concrete journey, I wish to recommend to your prayers an important step. Archbishop Justin Welby and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, two dear brothers, will be my travelling companions when, in a few weeks’ time, we will at last be able to travel to South Sudan.”
Divided Christians must recognize how their sins have fractured Christ’s church, be honest about the struggles their communities are facing and be humble enough to recognize that others have gifts they need, Pope Francis said.
Welcoming members of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission to the Vatican May 13, the pope also insisted that while the formal theological dialogues continue, divided Christians also must be willing to get their hands dirty “in shared service to our wounded brothers and sisters discarded on the waysides of our world.”
Pope Francis encourages the Anglican Communion to contribute to the Catholic Church’s synodal process, and looks ahead to his “pilgrimage of peace” to South Sudan in July in the company of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland.
Pope Francis has reiterated the Church’s commitment to walk together with the Anglican Communion towards full Christian unity, while reflecting on the ongoing synodal process and expressing his desire to promote peace and reconciliation in South Sudan.
Speaking to members of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Dialogue Commission (ARCIC), whom he received in the Vatican on Friday, the Pope recalled the establishment of the Commission in 1967 by Pope Paul VI and Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey, to embark on a journey of full reconciliation.
He noted that during three phases of work the Commission has sought “to leave behind what compromises our communion and to nurture the bonds that unite Catholics and Anglicans.”
The Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada (ARC Canada) has been meeting regularly for 50 years, with a mandate to serve the cause of visible Christianity unity and common witness between the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) and the Roman Catholic Church in Canada. Having continued the Dialogue online from 2020-2021, members rejoiced to be able to convene in person on May 2-5 at the Manoir D’Youville in Châteauguay, QC.
These days were the source of a renewed beginning in several ways: ARC Canada welcomed a few new members into its ranks, continuing a long tradition of gifted and dedicated ecumenical leaders who have contributed to its work over the decades. A new proposed terms of reference was reviewed that would, among other things, expand the participation of representatives from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) from a role as observers to full membership, as full communion partners within the ACC delegation. There was also a chance to engage with recent discussions of synodality in the Roman Catholic Church, and to review aspects of some of the latest ecumenical study on the subject of Anglican ordinations.