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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)

The skyline of Rome from the south of Vatican City with the dome of St. Peter's Basilica on the left and the Apostolic Palace in the centre
2024 Anglican Primates’ Meeting will be held in Rome for pilgrimage, consultation, and meeting with Pope Francis (24 Apr 2024)

The 10th meeting of the Malines Conversations Group was held at the Sofia Centre in Helsinki
Malines Conversations begin in Helsinki (22 Apr 2024)

February ~ 2024 ~ Anglican-Roman Catholic news & opinion

Kilkenny bishops reflect on special international Anglican-Roman Catholic summit
18 February 2024 • Persistent link: iarccum.org/?p=4662
Catholic Bishop Adrian Wilkinson and Anglican Bishop Niall Coll pictured with the Irish ambassador to the Holy See, Frances Collins, outside of the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls in Rome. The bishops, in Rome for the IARCCUM Summit, attended Vespers at the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and were commissioned by Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to return to Ireland and promote relations between the two churches

Visiting holy sites to pray in both Rome and Canterbury was very much part of the process. On January 23 it was moving for us to be part of an Anglican Choral Evensong being held for only the second time ever in the Choir Chapel of St Peter’s Basilica. The meeting coincided in part with the annual Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity which always ends on January 25 when our churches mark the Feast of the Conversation of St Paul.

Appropriately that evening all the bishops attended Catholic vespers at the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls, where the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury both preached and commissioned the IARCCUM delegates in their pairs for their work. For us and many of those attending the liturgy, it was encouraging to observe both church leaders clearly at ease in each other’s company and both committed to the goal of Christian unity.

Bishop Peter Collins reflects on summit in Rome and Canterbury
15 February 2024 • Persistent link: iarccum.org/?p=4660
Bishop Peter Collins, Roman Catholic bishop of East Anglia (right) and Bishop Stephen Race, Anglican bishop of Beverley, reading an extract from the address of St. Gregory the Great sending St. Augustine on his mission to the Angles. The bishops were participating in Morning Prayer at San Gregoria al Celio, where St. Gregory commissioned St. Augustine in 596 AD

I was recently appointed by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales to become a member of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM). 25 Catholic bishops and 25 Anglican bishops from across the world gathered in Rome to be commissioned jointly by Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury on the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul, the conclusion of the Octave of Prayer for the Unity of Christians.

The Catholic and Anglican bishops were paired from each nation, I being united with Bishop Stephen Race of Beverely who was representing the Church of England. We assembled in Rome on Monday January 22 and transferred the conference to Canterbury on Friday January 26, concluding our deliberations on Monday January 29.

The experience was intense, enlightening and fruitful. Each pairing was charged with sharing their national experience of ecumenical dialogue and cooperation. This sharing proved to be a most powerful experience.

Second IARCCUM Summit takes place in Rome and Canterbury
9 February 2024 • Persistent link: iarccum.org/?p=4657
IARCCUM bishops gathered with the Canterbury Cathedral clergy following the Sunday service during the IARCCUM Summit

The second summit meeting of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) took place in Rome and Canterbury from 22 to 29 January 2024. IARCCUM is an official commission of the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church, established to deepen the relationship between Anglicans and Catholics and promote shared mission, based on the significant degree of theological agreement that has been reached over sixty years of dialogue. The first IARCCUM summit took place in 2016. The 2024 event, with the theme Growing Together, gathered pairs of bishops, Catholic and Anglican, from 27 different countries around the world.

The summit began in Rome on 22 January, with introductions to the background and history of the commission and presentations by each bishop-pair on the ecclesial and ecumenical situations in their countries. On Tuesday 23 January, the Anglican office of Choral Evensong was celebrated in the Chapel of the Choir in St Peter’s Basilica. Other elements of the Rome phase of the summit included a discussion on synodality in the two traditions and reflection on justice, peace and reconciliation, including testimonies about the challenging situations in their territories by the bishops from Sudan, South Sudan and the Holy Land.

Roman Catholic document on blessings could bring new perspectives to Anglican same-sex marriage debate, leaders say
7 February 2024 • Persistent link: iarccum.org/?p=4644
Rev. Dr. Iain Luke, principal of the College of Emmanuel & St. Chad in the Saskatoon Theological Union, and Archbishop Linda Nicholls, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada and a member of ARCIC III (the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission)

A document released by the Roman Catholic Church reconsidering its policy on blessings—including those to people in same-sex relationships—offers Anglicans a new way to think about divisions within their own communion, says the Rev. Iain Luke, principal of the Saskatoon-based College of Emmanuel and St. Chad and a member of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue in Canada.

The declaration Fiducia Supplicans, endorsed by Pope Francis on Dec. 18, lays out a shift in the Roman Catholic Church’s approach to blessings. It encourages clergy to offer blessings from the church to any who ask without first scrutinizing whether they are in compliance with the church’s doctrines or meet some moral standard.

When someone asks for a blessing, the document says, regardless of their marital or moral status, they are showing their openness to God’s love and assistance. “This request should, in every way, be valued, accompanied, and received with gratitude,” it states. “People who come spontaneously to ask for a blessing show by this request their sincere openness to transcendence, the confidence of their hearts that they do not trust in their own strength alone, their need for God, and their desire to break out of the narrow confines of this world, enclosed in its limitations.”

A short history of Catholic-Anglican relations — and the last roadblocks to unity
2 February 2024 • Persistent link: iarccum.org/?p=4582
Pope Francis points something out to Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury after an evening prayer service concluding the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity at Rome's Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls

The Roman Catholic-Anglican dialogue is advancing on the path of reconciliation after four centuries of conflict and separation. This decades-long effort is now moving beyond theological dialogue at the international level to building a movement whose guiding principle is: “The Christian churches should do all things together except where deep differences require that we act separately.”

Canada’s Catholic archbishop of Regina, Don Bolen, and the Canadian British-born Anglican suffragan bishop in Europe, David Hamid, explained this to America at the Basilica of St. Bartholomew the Apostle, on Tiber Island in Rome, on Jan. 25.

The two bishops are the co-chairmen of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission, which goes by the acronym IARCCUM. Composed entirely of bishops from both churches, the commission came into existence in 2001 and held a two-part summit in Rome and Canterbury during this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Jan. 18-25. The summit brought together pairs of bishops from 27 countries, one from each Anglican province and one from the Catholic bishops’ conference in the same region.

I spoke to them just before the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, celebrated the Anglican Holy Eucharist in the Basilica of St. Bartholomew “with the permission of the bishop of Rome,” he said. (Archbishop Welby’s predecessor, Archbishop Rowan Williams, celebrated the Holy Eucharist in the Basilica of Santa Sabina on Rome’s Aventine Hill on Nov. 26, 2006, with the permission of Pope Benedict XVI.)

Both bishops agreed that Pope Francis’ approach to ecumenical dialogue dovetails well with the commission’s model. Indeed, from the beginning of his pontificate in March 2013, Francis has encouraged Christians to cooperate in concrete ways in addressing the problems of the world, even when theological or doctrinal problems may still create roadblocks to unity between the different Christian churches. He believes that “by walking together,” “praying together” and “working together” wherever possible, friendships can be built between the leaders and members of the different churches that not only give an important Christian witness to the world but also make it easier to address the theological obstacles to Christian unity.

Catholic, Anglican bishops vow to support one another, work together
2 February 2024 • Persistent link: iarccum.org/?p=4653
Episcopalian Bishop John Bauerschmidt of Tennessee and Romanian Catholic Bishop John M. Botean of the Eparchy of St George in Canton, Ohio, pose for a photo at Canterbury Cathedral in England Jan. 28, 2024, during the final part of a pilgrimage to Rome and Canterbury sponsored by the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission

As Catholics and Anglicans pray and work for the day when they can celebrate the Eucharist together, they are called to support one another in situations of suffering, apologize together for times when they have sinned and work together to share the good news of God’s love, said bishops from both communities.

Pairs of Catholic and Anglican bishops from 27 nations traveled to Rome Jan. 22-25 and to Canterbury, England, Jan. 26-29 for prayer, discussion and a commissioning by Pope Francis and Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury.

The pilgrimage was organized by the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission, a body established in 2001 to promote common prayer and joint projects to demonstrate concretely how the theological agreements the churches have made also have practical implications in witnessing together to the Christian faith.

A final statement drafted by participants was posted Feb. 1 [at IARCCUM.org] and on the websites of the Anglican Communion and the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity.

Anglican and Catholic Bishops of the Growing Together summit share their commitment and call for Christian Unity
1 February 2024 • Persistent link: iarccum.org/?p=4570
IARCCUM bishops in procession in the cloister of Canterbury Cathedral

It’s time to ‘walk together, pray together, and seek justice together’, say Anglican and Catholic Bishops.

Anglican and Catholic bishops participating in the ecumenical summit Growing Together have shared their post-conference ‘Call’ today. Entitled Our Common Witness, Calling and Commitment, it comes after a weeklong gathering (22-29 January) that saw the bishops meeting in Rome and Canterbury, for pilgrimage and discussion on joint mission and witness.

Meeting during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the summit was attended by Catholic and Anglican bishop pairs, representing 27 countries from all over the world. During the summit, each pairing was commissioned by Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury, during Vespers, at the basilica of Saint Paul outside the Walls in Rome.

The summit was organised by IARCCUM, an ongoing International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission. It is supported by the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity in Rome and the Anglican Communion Office, Secretariat to the Anglican Communion.

Anglicans and Roman Catholics sent on the same missionary path
1 February 2024 • Persistent link: iarccum.org/?p=4576
IARCCUM bishops from Canada, Most Rev Martin Laliberté, PME, bishop of Trois-Rivières, and Rt Rev Bruce Myers, OGS, bishop of Québec, stop for a photo outside Canterbury Cathedral. Bishop pairs from 27 countries were commissioned by Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls in Rome before travelling to Canterbury for further work and prayer together

Last week I had the privilege of participating in a summit of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission. IARCCUM’s mandate is to help give tangible expression to the formal agreements reached between our two communions of churches over the past 60 years. Even with so much theological consensus on so many things, there is still so much more that Anglicans and Catholics can and should be doing together.

In that spirit, 50 bishops from 27 countries where Catholics and Anglicans live side by side in significant numbers spent a week gathered in Rome and then Canterbury on an ecumenical pilgrimage of common prayer, relationship building, discussion, and discernment about how we can be better witnesses of reconciliation in our own lands and in the world.

IARCCUM bishops work in pairs – an Anglican and a Catholic bishop from each country represented. My Canadian Catholic “twin” is Bishop Martin Laliberté of Trois-Rivières. He’s also currently the president of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Quebec/Assemblée des évêques catholiques du Québec. Bishop Martin and I have known each other since 2019 when he served as an auxiliary bishop in Quebec City. We got to know each other better still over the course of the week, and discussed ways Anglicans and Catholics in Quebec and the rest of Canada might work more closely together.

Each pair of bishops was invited to briefly share a snapshot of the context of their ministries. Bishop Martin and I explained some of the challenges and opportunities of being the church in a sometimes aggressively secular age – something we were reminded is not unique to Quebec or Canada. We also shared our churches’ involvement in the residential schools system, and our attempts to be reconciled with Indigenous peoples.