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Pope Francis: Anglicans are ‘valued traveling companions’

Catholic News Agency

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.”

“The visit was postponed on account of the troubles in that country. My brother Justin is sending his wife ahead of us for the works of preparation and charity. This is the fine work he is doing with his wife, as a couple, and I thank her very much.”

He added: “Ours will be an ecumenical pilgrimage of peace. Let us pray that it may inspire Christians in South Sudan and everywhere to be promotors of reconciliation, patient weavers of concord, capable of saying no to the perverse and useless spiral of violence and of arms.”

The Anglican Communion is the world’s third-largest Christian communion after the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church. It has an estimated 85 million members in more than 165 countries.

ARCIC was founded in 1967 by the then Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey and Pope Paul VI. Currently in its third phase, the commission’s most recent document is entitled “Walking Together on the Way.”

Catholic-Anglican unity requires walking, working together, pope says

by Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

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.”

The “journey” toward Christian unity is not simply metaphorical, he said.

“As part of this concrete journey, I wish to recommend to your prayers an important step. (Anglican) Archbishop Justin Welby and the moderator of the (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland, two dear brothers, will be my traveling companions when, in a few weeks’ time, we will at last be able to travel to South Sudan.”

Pope Francis, Archbishop Welby of Canterbury and the Rev. Dr. Iain M Greenshields, the new moderator of the Presbyterian church, have announced they will visit South Sudan together July 5-7.

In a land where different denominations evangelized different communities and many of those communities are experiencing political tensions with each other, the pope said: “Ours will be an ecumenical pilgrimage of peace. Let us pray that it may inspire Christians in South Sudan and everywhere to be promotors of reconciliation, patient weavers of concord, capable of saying no to the perverse and useless spiral of violence and of arms.”

Diverging from his prepared text, Pope Francis told the group, “my brother Justin is sending his wife first to do the works of preparation and charity. And this is the good work that he does, as a couple, with his wife. Thank you so much.”

In ecumenical relations, like in civil relations, he said, “we must not fall into the bondage of conflict.”

“We must distinguish between crisis and conflict,” he said. “We, in our dialogue, will have to enter crisis, and that is good,” because a crisis can force people to recognize danger and find creative ways to overcome it.

Catholics and Anglicans, the pope said, are called to walk together, “moving forward, leaving behind the things that divide, past and present, and keeping our gaze fixed on Jesus and the goal that he desires and points out to us: the goal of visible unity between us.”

“Every search for deeper communion must be an exchange of gifts, where each makes his or her own the seeds that God has sown in the other,” the pope insisted. “The gifts of the Holy Spirit are never given for the exclusive use of those who receive them. They are blessings meant for all God’s people: The graces we receive are intended for others, and the graces others receive are necessary for us.”

In the realm of ecumenism, though, the “exchange of gifts” can be reduced to a formal or ceremonial gesture, he said.

“Humility and truth,” the pope said, are necessary to make sure that does not happen.

“To speak honestly to one another both about ecclesiological and ethical questions, to discuss uncomfortable topics, is risky; it could increase distances rather than promoting encounter,” he said. The ecclesiological questions dividing Catholics and Anglicans include the ordination of women as priests and bishops, and the ethical questions include the blessing of same-sex marriages.

The place to begin, he said, must be “by admitting and sharing the struggles we experience. This is the first step: not to be concerned with appearing attractive and secure to our brothers and sisters, presenting ourselves the way we would like to be, but with showing them with an open heart how we are in reality.”

“The sins that have led to our historical divisions can only be surmounted in humility and truth, beginning with experiencing sorrow for our reciprocal wounds and the need to give and receive mutual forgiveness,” the pope said. “This demands courage, but it is the spirit of gift, since each true gift entails sacrifice, entails transparency and courage, and openness to forgiveness.”

Pope to Anglican-Catholic Dialogue Commission: ‘Unity prevails over conflict’

By Linda Bordoni, Vatican News

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.”

“Yours has been a journey, at times fast, at times slow and difficult. Yet, I would emphasize that it has been, and continues to be, a journey.”

Journey

Reflecting on the word “journey”, the Pope remarked on the Commission’s latest document entitled “Walking Together on the Way”, which he said, means “moving forward, leaving behind the things that divide, past and present, and keeping our gaze fixed on Jesus and the goal that he desires and points out to us: the goal of visible unity between us.”

He called for mutual support, pointing out that ecumenical dialogue is a journey “that involves getting to know one another personally,” sharing aspirations and moments of fatigue, and “soiling our hands in shared service to our wounded brothers and sisters discarded on the waysides of our world.”

“It involves approaching with a single gaze and a common commitment God’s creation all around us, and encouraging one another to persevere on the journey.”

Synodal process

Pope Francis reminded those present that the Catholic Church has inaugurated a synodal process, and invited the Anglican Communion to contribute in this journey as well.

“We look upon you as valued travelling companions.”

South Sudan

The Pope did not neglect to look ahead to the journey he is scheduled to undertake in the company of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland to South Sudan.

“Ours will be an ecumenical pilgrimage of peace”

And speaking off-the-cuff, the Pope said the pilgrimage to South Sudan – which had already been in the pipelines for years – was postponed due to local difficulties, “but my brother, Justin, sent his wife ahead to prepare the ground with works of charity… And this [is the] good work he does in his marriage, with his wife: thank you so much!”

“Let us pray that it may inspire Christians in South Sudan and everywhere to be promotors of reconciliation, patient weavers of concord, capable of saying no to the perverse and useless spiral of violence and of arms,” he said, recalling that the path began years ago with a spiritual retreat in the Vatican with the leaders of South Sudan, Justin Welby and the present Moderator of the Church of Scotland: “An ecumenical journey with South Sudanese politicians.”

Gift

Pope Francis went on to reflect on the word “gift” noting that “If journey speaks of ways and means, gift reveals the very soul of ecumenism.”

“Every search for deeper communion must be an exchange of gifts, where each makes his or her own the seeds that God has sown in the other,” he said.

Thus, warning against a formal or ceremonial attitude in this respect, the Pope called for an honest exchange regarding ecclesiological and ethical questions, that must always be conducted with humility and truth.

“The sins that have led to our historical divisions can only be surmounted in humility and truth, beginning with experiencing sorrow for our reciprocal wounds and the need to give and receive mutual forgiveness,” he said quoting from Ut Unum Sint.

“This demands courage, but it is the spirit of gift, since each true gift entails sacrifice, entails transparency and courage, and openness to forgiveness,” he said.

Only in this way, he said, will we become attuned to the Holy Spirit, “the gift of God, bestowed upon us in order to restore our harmony, for He Himself is harmony that reconciles unity in diversity.”

“The gifts of the Holy Spirit are never given for the exclusive use of those who receive them. They are blessings meant for all God’s people.”

“The graces we receive are intended for others,” Pope Francis summed up, “and the graces others receive are necessary for us. In the exchange of gifts, then, we learn that we cannot be self-sufficient without the graces granted to others.”

Concluding, he quoted from his own words in 2019 that the Archbishop of Canterbury cited, today, in his speech: “Unity prevails over conflict” and he expressed his belief that we must never fall into “the slavery of conflict”, but discern between crisis and conflict whereby a crisis is useful as it helps us to go beyond conflict that paves the way to war and division.

Anglican and Catholic Archbishops of Armagh joint Easter 2022 message

The joyful carol that we know as the ‘Carol of the Bells’ has its origins in a Ukrainian folk song which in ancient times was sung, not at Christmas, but at this time of the year to mark the fresh beginnings of spring. It tells the tale of a swallow flying into a home after the winter to promise the family a new season of joy, happiness and plenty.

It’s difficult to contemplate such a hopeful scene for the people of Ukraine this Easter as the world continues to witness the horror of death, destruction and displacement being visited on their country these past few months. Peace and prosperity seem a distant dream. It must be much easier for them to meditate on the pain of Good Friday, or on the emptiness of Holy Saturday, than on the joy and happiness of Easter morning.

And yet when the Lord appeared to his disciples after his resurrection, his opening words were ‘Peace be with you’. His words meant much more than the traditional ‘Shalom’ greeting, for in speaking Easter peace, he also showed his friends the wounds of violence in his hands and in his side – the marks of the crucifixion. He therefore identifies himself to them as both the Crucified, and the Risen Saviour, one acquainted with suffering; his peace is offered through the blood of the cross.

On the third day after the crucifixion the disciples remained locked away, in fear and terror, shell–shocked by the trauma of seeing their hero – their Prince of Peace – tortured, mocked and horrifically nailed to a wooden cross. But on resurrection day, the Risen Lord seeks them out, entering in behind the locked doors and walls of their fear and isolation. He had promised that he would not leave them as orphans and that he would gift them a peace that the world cannot give. Now, following his rejection, suffering, death and resurrection, he returns to reassure their troubled hearts that death and evil will not have the last word. He offers them words of deep peace and comfort: ‘Peace be with you’. ‘Do not be afraid’.

How much the world needs to hear and embrace this message of an Easter peace which does not deny the reality of suffering and death. From Ukraine to Tigray, from Syria to South Sudan, the cross of Good Friday continues to cast its shadow in the suffering of millions caught up in the violence and aggression of war. Mercifully, also, the work of peacemakers and the enormous outpouring of love, welcome and humanitarian aid bears witness to the hope and promise of Easter peace that can never be extinguished by war or hatred. One day families will be reunited, homes rebuilt, livelihoods restored; the deafening noise of bombardment will give way once more to the sounds of bells ringing, and birds singing.

Last month, on Saint Patrick’s Day, we pointed out how war is a defeat for humanity; it represents the failure of politics, diplomacy and dialogue. We also remarked that what is happening today in Europe should help us learn lessons for our own peace process, about the importance of never taking our progress in peace for granted, never giving up on dialogue and the building of bridges and mutual understanding across historical divides. The tragedy of what we are witnessing in Ukraine during these days impels us again this Easter to be peacemakers and never to tire in working for a genuine human fraternity as the only way to resolve differences and conflicts.

Global meeting of Anglican Primates takes place in London

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.

This week’s Primates’ Meeting is a precursor to the Lambeth Conference, a once-a-decade gathering to which all bishops in the Anglican Communion are invited. Postponed from 2020, the Lambeth Conference will take place in Canterbury in July and August this year.

There is very little “formal” business in this week’s Primates’ Meeting – the emphasis is on prayer, Bible Study, relationship-building and spiritual reflection. In some ways, it returns the focus of the Primates’ Meeting to an opportunity for “leisurely thought, prayer and deep consultation”.

While in London, the Primates will hear from Dr Marion Watson, Head of Operations at the Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine at the University of Oxford. Dr Watson has overseen a wide range of clinical trial research and development activities on vaccines for malaria, TB and emerging pathogens, including vaccine trials for Covid-19.

They will also hear from a government minister from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office; and visit the House of Lords.

The church leaders will agree their agenda on the first day of their Primates’ Meeting, but the limited “business” sessions are likely to include updates on the Lambeth Conference and on the next plenary meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council which is due to take place in Accra, Ghana, in early 2023.

They are also expected to discuss a consultation from the Church of England on extending the involvement of the wider Anglican Communion in the choice of future Archbishops of Canterbury.

The main focus of the Primates will be on “leisurely thought, prayer and deep consultation”. They will have Bible studies on 1 Peter – the biblical focus for this year’s Lambeth Conference – and hear reflections on chapters 15 and 16 of John’s Gospel. The Primates will worship at services in Lambeth Palace and elsewhere in London.

Annual meeting between the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and WCC

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).

Expressing happiness over the increasing friendship and mutual collaboration between the two Offices over these 45 years, both delegations looked with anticipation to the 50th anniversary and reiterated their desire to continue common ecumenical engagement in the service of interreligious dialogue.

‘Praedicate Evangelium’ presented at Holy See Press Office

Vatican experts present Pope Francis‘ long-awaited Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia ‘Praedicate Evangelium’ on Monday at the Holy See Press Office.

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.

Missionary dimension

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.

‘Ecclesia semper reformanda’

Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and over these years assisting Pope Francis and the Cardinals in preparing the document, gave an overview and historical context surrounding it.

The new Apostolic Constitution will replace the current one governing the Roman Curia, ‘Pastor Bonus‘, promulgated back on 28 June 1988 by Pope Saint John Paul II. The new Constitution will come into force on 5 June 2022, the Solemnity of Pentecost.

Cardinal Semeraro noted how ‘Praedicate Evangelium‘, many years in the making from discussions going back to the conclave of 2013, brings to completion the reform of the Roman Curia.

Many of the reforms have already been implemented in recent years, even before the new Constitution was finalized, although all the offices of the Roman Curia will need to assure their current statutes are fully in line with the final indications set in the Apostolic Constitution.

Innovation and reforms

Father Gianfranco Ghirlanda, SJ, a Canon lawyer and emeritus professor of the Pontifical Gregorian University, offered his input on the document.

He noted areas of innovation, including the increasingly important role of the laity in the Roman Curia and the possibility they have to hold positions of authority and governance, while at the same time acknowledging responsibilities where Holy Orders are required.

Fr. Ghirlanda also looked at how the role and authority of Bishops Conferences around the world in exercising their authority. And he spoke of how the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors has been given special importance and prominence with its placement under the responsibility of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

He also described the reforms and reorganization of offices regarding the economic and financial areas of the Holy See, in order to bring them up to the latest standards and meet current needs.

In conclusion, he noted beneath all these reforms is an emphasis on “interior reform”, which means assuring the proper interior disposition of all those serving in the Roman Curia by focusing greater attention to personal, ongoing conversion, which is not just a matter for structures “semper reformanda” – continually renewed – but first regarding persons.

Will Adam moving to new role in Canterbury

from ACNS and the Diocese of Canterbury

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.”

Welcoming his appointment, the Bishop of Dover, the Right Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, said: “I am looking forward enormously to Will joining the senior staff team of our diocese. He comes to us with a breadth of experience and an openness and willingness to learn more – so that together as the Body of Christ we may continue the journey towards becoming a flourishing community. I have every confidence that Will and his family will settle well into our diocese and enjoy the varied tapestry of life that Canterbury has to offer. We hold him and his family in our prayers as they say their farewells and prepare to join us.”

“I am delighted by Will’s appointment as Archdeacon of Canterbury and Residentiary Canon of Canterbury Cathedral,” added the Very Revd Dr Robert Willis, Dean of Canterbury. “I know that the whole Cathedral community is looking forward to welcoming him and his family here later in the year.”

Will’s current post involves responsibility for the ecumenical and theological work of the Anglican Communion across the world, as well as playing a key role in the ministry of the Anglican Communion Office.

“I am pleased that Will Adam will be taking up this significant post in Canterbury,” said the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, the Most Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon. “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.”

Will and his family will move to Canterbury in early July, when he will be installed as Archdeacon and begin to take up his new role. He will be seconded back to his role with the Anglican Communion Office for the Lambeth Conference, which takes place 26 July to 8 August.

Will is married to the Revd Lindsay Yates and they have three daughters and a terrier. He has a great love for the Church in all its richness and variety and in his spare time enjoys cooking, poultry-keeping and the seaside.

Prior to his work with the Anglican Communion Office, worked at Lambeth Palace as the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Ecumenical Adviser, working closely with colleagues at the Council for Christian Unity in Church House, Westminster.

Will read theology at Manchester University, trained for ordination at Westcott House, Cambridge and the Ecumenical Institute of the World Council of Churches, Geneva and later studied for a master’s degree and a doctorate in Canon Law at Cardiff Law School.

He was ordained deacon in 1994 and from then until 2017 served in parishes in the dioceses of Oxford (1994-2002), Ely (2002-2010) and London (2010-2017). Since 2017 he has been an honorary assistant priest in a deeply rural parish in West Sussex.

To read the Anglican Communion’s press release, please click here, and to read the Diocese of Canterbury’s press release, please click here.

N. Ireland’s top prelates say UK should waive visas for Ukrainian refugees

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.

The Home Office is the UK government department that deals with immigration and security.

“I certainly would join with Archbishop John and others in the many Christian churches on these islands who have been calling for more action from the United Kingdom government,” Martin added.

The two archbishops were speaking to journalists at an event publishing their annual joint St. Patrick’s Day message.

The UK government on Monday announced a scheme where people and institutions could host Ukrainian refugees, who still need to apply for visas to enter the country. The EU – which includes the Republic of Ireland – has waived visa requirements for those fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“We need to get real. There are going to be a lot of people who are in need of our help, so by appealing to the UK government in Westminster we’re also indirectly appealing to our own [Northern Ireland] Assembly and to the [Northern Ireland] Executive here to look at ways there might be a free flow of people that wish to receive refuge in Northern Ireland,” he added.

The archbishops also called for cross-border cooperation which would allow resources and refugees to move freely between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

“We were very pleased to note how quickly many of the European governments immediately pledged their support for refugees and indeed in Ireland the waiving of the visas and we have called upon the UK Government to be equally generous,” Martin said.

“I think, personally, that more could be done at government level in the United Kingdom. I also think we need to look at the cross-border situation. There will be people arriving south of the border who may wish to travel north. I think these are complex issues and I would really be encouraging our elected leaders to take a look at these situations and do what we can,” the Catholic prelate said.

“It would be terrible if bureaucracy was another barrier in front of these people who must be awfully traumatized at the moment,” he added.

“I think at the end of the day, governments will be moved by the will of the people. I have noticed over the last few weeks; people are deeply disturbed by what they’re seeing. They instinctively want to reach out to help and they will look to their elected representatives to make that possible,” Martin said.

Both archbishops said their respective churches were looking at properties that could host refugees.

“In all our parishes, we have invited our parish, pastoral councils and finance councils and the priests to consider if there are properties that we could make available for Ukrainian families,” Martin said.

“And I think that in the coming days and weeks there’ll be a lot of activity on the ground. I think our parishes would like to be at the forefront of this,” he said. “I think this really will be an effort of the whole community here, both north and south, to open our hearts and open our doors in welcome for these refugees who have been through such horrors that we’re seeing on our screens.”

Joint Message by the Archbishops of Armagh for St Patrick’s Day 2022

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.

The full message is as follows:

Like millions of others in Europe and around the world we are deeply disturbed and saddened by the terror of war which has been devastating life and property in Ukraine for the past three weeks. We call for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the relentless bombardment which has trapped countless civilians in a nightmare of destruction and displaced millions of others from their homes and families. We fear that the humanitarian crisis which this madness has caused may yet accelerate before it dissipates.

It would be unconscionable for us to celebrate the feast of Saint Patrick this year without offering the solidarity of our prayers, charity and welcome for the people of Ukraine. We pray for the Ukrainian people who already share this island with us, and for their families and friends who are trapped in the horror of destruction and bloodshed at home. We join our small Lenten sacrifices with their immense suffering. We also acknowledge the many Russian people, here and in their homeland, who bear no responsibility for this heart–breaking situation and who share our desire for peace and an end to this terrible violence.

Tradition tells us that Saint Patrick himself, in the face of great danger and peril to his own life, prayed his Breastplate Prayer, taking comfort in his faith that God does not forsake us, and that Christ is present with all who suffer: Christ is always with us, behind us and before us. We appeal through our prayers this Saint Patrick’s Day for an end to this pointless massacre and pulverising of the property, bodies and spirit of the Ukrainian people. May all Christians of Europe, including Patriarch Kirill and the Russian Orthodox Church, unite in daily spiritual and practical efforts in support of a ceasefire, humanitarian outreach and the immediate laying down of weapons. Christ’s cause can only be advanced by Christ’s means.

Although we are many miles away from the horrific bombardment and loss of life, the sacrifice of the Ukrainian people shockingly comes home to us this Saint Patrick’s Day. It is encouraging that Christians, people of other faiths and all those of goodwill here in Ireland are instinctively reaching out in a massive humanitarian effort of support and solidarity, especially towards the millions of refugees who have fled their homeland. At a young age Saint Patrick was captured and trafficked to these shores – no doubt frightened, disoriented, distressed and fearful for his life. In the opening words of his Confession, he describes how he and others “were scattered among many nations”.

So too the thousands of refugees arriving in Ireland must feel scattered amongst the nations. We pray that our land of welcomes will continue to offer compassionate respite to our sisters and brothers in their time of need. This is the light of the Gospel shining through the darkness: the outpouring of prayer, charity and solidarity across Ireland towards the people of Ukraine has been heartening. Many individuals and parish communities have already been extremely generous in establishing active links with charitable projects in Ukraine and along its borders to support refugees and those remaining in their homeland. We wholeheartedly support and encourage these efforts.

We also encourage Christians in Ireland, and our diaspora, to be inspired by the life and witness of Saint Patrick to be reconcilers and peacemakers. It is poignant to think that as the world comes out of a global pandemic which reminded us so strongly of our connectedness and interdependence, that our continent has so easily lapsed into the pointless divisions and devastation of warfare. War is a defeat for humanity. It represents the failure of politics, diplomacy and dialogue.

Our community reflection here in Ireland on what is happening today in Europe should help us learn lessons for our own peace process, about the importance of never taking our progress in peace for granted, never giving up on dialogue and the building of bridges and mutual understanding across historical divides. The tragedy of what we are witnessing in Ukraine during these days impels us again here in Ireland to work for a genuine human fraternity as the only way to resolve differences and conflicts.

For all the people of Ukraine we pray Saint Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer:

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me. Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

Visit of study group of Anglicans and Methodists to PCPCU

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).

Pope Francis to visit South Sudan, DR Congo in July

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.

Pope Francis kisses the feet of President Salva Kiir of South Sudan, at the conclusion of a two-day retreat at the Vatican for African nation’s political leaders
Pope Francis kisses the feet of President Salva Kiir of South Sudan, at the conclusion of a two-day retreat at the Vatican for African nation’s political leaders. Photo: Vatican Media ~ 11 Apr. 2019

Pope Francis has joined forces with other Christian leaders in the past on his trips, such as the visit to the Greek Island of Lesbos, where he traveled with Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.

The aim of the trip would be to strengthen the tenuous peace forged by the African country’s leaders following a spiritual retreat that Welby and Francis led at the Vatican in 2019.

Over 400,000 people died in South Sudan’s 2013-2019 civil war.

In December, Vatican Foreign Minister Archbishop Paul Gallagher traveled to Juba, the capital of South Sudan, where he met with the country’s political and religious leaders.

While noting that “there is no perfect time for such a visit,” Gallagher said there was “strong support” from local authorities for a papal trip in 2022.

The first time Francis spoke of the possibility of traveling to South Sudan with Welby was in 2017, during a meeting with the Anglican community in Rome.

“My collaborators are studying the possibility of a trip to South Sudan,” Francis said. “But why? Because Anglican, Presbyterian and Catholic bishops came to tell me: ‘Please come to South Sudan, maybe just for one day. But don’t come alone, come with Justin Welby.’ This came from the young church in that country, and it made us think about a very bad situation there, and the fact that they want peace, to work together for peace.”

Already in October of that year, it seemed that the visit could take place, but the worsening of the political context and the escalation of clashes in different areas of the country and a serious humanitarian crisis put a stop to the initiative.

South Sudan is a land-locked nation that won its independence from Sudan in 2011, making it the most recent sovereign nation with widespread recognition. However, the country soon descended into a civil war largely based on tribal affiliation.

The conflict came to an unsteady end in Feb. 2020, when rivals Salva Kiir Mayardit and Riek Machar formed a coalition government.

On the surface, Francis’s visit to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) raises fewer security concerns: It is the largest Catholic country in Africa, with around 35 million Catholics, but given the country’s surging population, it’ll more than double that total by mid-century.

Yet in western Congo, members of the Batende and Banunu groups are locked in a deadly cycle of ethnic violence that’s left hundreds dead. In the east, numerous armed groups – according to some estimates, as many as 116 – operate with near impunity.

A staggering 5.5 million Congolese are classified as internally displaced, and one million are registered as refugees and asylum seekers in 20 countries. The country is also home to the third-largest population of poor people in the world, trailing only India and Nigeria. Roughly 80 percent of the country’s population lives on less than $1.25 a day.

Pope Francis has made four visits to Africa since his election in 2013: Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic in 2015; Egypt in 2017; and twice in 2019, visiting first Morocco and then a week-long visit that took in Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius.

No previous pope has ever visited South Sudan, and it will be the first papal visit to Congo since St. John Paul II visited the country in 1985, when it was still known as Zaire.

The trip to South Sudan and DRC is the second papal visit announced for this year, with Francis set to travel to Malta in early April.

Anglican Primates’ Meeting transferred to London from Rome

Next month’s meeting of Anglican Primates – the senior archbishops, moderators and Presiding Bishops from the 42 Churches of the Anglican Communion – will be held in London, England. The meeting had been planned to take place in Rome, Italy. However, Covid-related travel restrictions in Italy meant that around half of the church leaders would not be eligible to fully participate.

The meeting, called by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, will take the form of a spiritual retreat, with the church leaders praying and studying the Bible together. The Primates will also discuss the latest plans for the Lambeth Conference – the decennial meeting to which all Anglican bishops from around the world are invited. The next Lambeth Conference, postponed from 2020, will take place in Canterbury, England, in July and August this year.

The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, said: “it is not feasible to gather in Rome due to Italy’s Covid-related restrictions that would prevent a significant proportion of primates – including virtually all Primates from Africa – fully participating in the meeting in person.

“I would like to thank everybody who has worked hard to facilitate a meeting in Rome, especially the Director and staff of the Anglican Centre in Rome and our colleagues at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

“It will be possible for all Primates to gather in England and to participate in person and we now shift our focus to preparing for that.”

Ends

Note: Primates’ Meetings take place in private. A communiqué is usually issued at the conclusion of the meeting. A post-meeting press conference sometimes take place.

Nominations Commission for future Archbishops of Canterbury

A Press Release from the Church of England

The Archbishops’ Council has launched a consultation on a proposal to change the make-up of the body which nominates future Archbishops of Canterbury.

The proposal would give the worldwide Anglican Communion a greater voice on the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) for the See of Canterbury.

At present the entire Communion outside of England is represented by just one of the current 16 voting members, compared to six from the Diocese of Canterbury alone.

The proposal would increase the Anglican Communion representatives to five while reducing the number of members from the Diocese to three. As at present, there would also be nine other members from the Church of England, including six elected by General Synod.

The idea originated from the Diocese of Canterbury itself where the Diocesan Synod agreed a motion asking the Archbishops’ Council to consider decreasing the representation of the Diocese of Canterbury on future CNCs for the See of Canterbury.

The consultation, which will include key partners from across the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, will run until March 31.

Responses will be collated in the spring with an expectation of a final proposal being put to the General Synod for a vote in July. If approved it would change the Synod’s standing orders, which govern CNCs.

The General Synod, as part of the consultation, will also debate the proposal within the consultation document at its next meeting next month.

Update on ecumenical relations of the Holy See

As in previous years, during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity L’Osservatore Romano published a series of articles prepared by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity on the ecumenical relations of the Holy See. The texts, which are published in Italian, offer an update on the ecumenical situation and on initiatives undertaken in 2021.

“Ecumenism in a Time of Pandemic: From Crisis to Opportunity”. A working paper of the PCPCU

On Thursday 20 January 2022 the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity published a working paper on the consequences of the current pandemic for ecumenical relations. Entitled “Ecumenism in a Time of Pandemic: From Crisis to Opportunity”, the text summarizes the outcomes of a survey undertaken in 2021 among the Bishops’ Conferences and Eastern Catholic Synods.

After analysing the opportunities of the pandemic for relations among Christians, as well as the negative impact, the document identifies a range of challenges that the ecumenical movement faces in a post‒pandemic world. The document aims at offering an initial contribution to reflection in the hope that it may promote further discussion and stimulate dialogue at all levels with other Christians.

The text was presented during an ecumenical panel at the Institute for Ecumenical Studies of the Angelicum held on the theme “Ecumenism in a Time of Pandemic” with the attendance of the students of the Bossey Ecumenical Institute.

After an introductory greeting by Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Bishop Brian Farrell, Secretary of the PCPCU, presented the main outcomes of the working paper prepared by the PCPCU on the basis of a survey amongst the episcopal conferences.

The various ecumenical, ecclesiological and social challenges of the current pandemic were addressed by the following speakers:

Presented at the Institute for Ecumenical Studies of the Angelicum as part of the “CRISIS” research program run by the Pontifical University Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome, the text is available in English (original text), French, and Spanish.

Watch the ecumenical panel.

Pray for unity, pray for the synod

For the forthcoming 2022 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Cardinal Mario Grech and Cardinal Kurt Koch invite all Christians to pray for unity and to continue to journey together

In a joint letter sent on 28 October 2021 to all bishops responsible for ecumenism, Cardinal Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Cardinal Grech, General Secretary of the Synod of the Bishops, offered suggestions aimed at implementing the ecumenical dimension of the synodal process in the local churches. “Both synodality and ecumenism are processes of walking together,” the two Cardinals wrote.

The 2022 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity on the theme “We saw the star in the East, and we came to worship him” (Mt 2:2) prepared by the Middle East Council of Churches, offers a propitious occasion to pray with all Christians that the Synod will proceed in an ecumenical spirit.

Reflecting on the theme, both Cardinals affirm, “Like the Magi, Christians too journey together (synodos) guided by the same heavenly light and encountering the same worldly darkness. They too are called to worship Jesus together and open their treasures. Conscious of our need for the accompaniment and the many gifts of our brothers and sisters in Christ, we call on them to journey with us during these two years and we sincerely pray that Christ will lead us closer to Him and so to one another.”

The General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity are therefore pleased to offer this prayer inspired by the theme, which could be added to the other intentions of the Week of Prayer:

Heavenly Father,
as the Magi journeyed towards Bethlehem led by the star,
so by your heavenly light,
guide the Catholic Church to walk together with all Christians during this time of synod.
As the Magi were united in their worship of Christ,
lead us closer to your Son and so to one another,
so that we become a sign of the unity that God desires for his Church and the whole creation.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen

The Archbishops of Armagh’s joint Christmas Message

Just before Christmas 1937, Monsignor Ronald Knox wrote a letter to the English Catholic periodical, The Tablet. Knox was the son of a Church of England bishop and had converted to Catholicism shortly after taking a brilliant First at the University of Oxford. He later became the first Catholic Chaplain to Oxford since the Reformation.

The letter arose from a remark that a friend of Knox’s had made, that she “wasn’t going to have her house turned upside down just because it was Christmas”. Thinking afterwards about what she had said, Knox wrote in his letter, “What is Christmas from start to finish but things being turned upside down?”

Even the days, continually darkening in the run–up Christmas, turn with the solstice and light begins to win again. Just when trees should be at their barest, lustrous evergreen branches are brought indoors and enhanced with lights and glitter. And just at a time (especially in the ancient world) when darkness was a cover for thieves in the night coming to burgle homes, in our modern recasting of the story, a genial old boy squeezes himself down the chimney and leaves gifts.

Everything started to turn upside down from that first Christmas. Those who were least got the best places – the ox and the ass beside the manger and Kings asking directions from shepherds. Perhaps, the greatest revolution of all: the Virgin conceives and gives birth to a child. The wonder of all this ‘topsy–turvydom’ is summed up in the words of the beautiful ancient hymn, sometimes sung at Midnight on Christmas Eve, ‘O magnum mysterium!’

O great mystery,
and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the newborn Lord,
lying in a manger!
Blessed is the virgin whose womb
was worthy to bear
the Lord, Jesus Christ.
Alleluia!

There is to a degree a natural instinct in us to try to turn the world back on its feet again, because God’s coming into his own creation knocks us badly off balance. So we tie ourselves ever more tightly into the world of “getting and spending” and have communion in consumption. But we can’t shake off the feeling that there is a fragility about our indulgence; that somewhere there is a frail seam that will give way; a nagging feeling that there will come a day when there won’t be more tomorrow.

At this time of the year, perhaps, it is the very lavishness of Christmas that gives us a heightened consciousness of (and a bad conscience about) the “little ones” mentioned so often in the Gospels: the homeless, the poor, the rejected, and all those who long to see the world turned upside down again, when “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters fill the sea”.

At present there are many people who have had not just the two worst Christmases ever, but two of the worst years ever – those whose bodies have been overwhelmed or whose minds have been scrambled by Covid–19; those who’ve had bereavements during the pandemic, whose plans have been cancelled, families separated, visits curtailed, operations postponed, businesses and livelihoods upturned.

If the Spirit is saying anything to the Churches this Christmas, might it not be to think about how we, as individuals but also as a society, can enter prayerfully and hopefully into that great mystery of the “Word made flesh”, and hold on to more of the upside down world embodied in the Gospel narratives? Happy Christmas and may God bless you and your families.

Dialogue group calls for Catholic recognition of Anglican ordinations

A group of Catholic and Anglican theologians has publicly called on the Vatican to review and overturn a papal document from 1896 that declared Anglican ordinations “absolutely null and utterly void.”

“Where we once walked apart, we now walk together in friendship and love,” wrote members of the Malines Conversations Group after tracing the history of ecumenical agreements between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion and, especially, reviewing examples of collaboration and gestures of recognition.

The judgment made by Pope Leo XIII in his apostolic letter “Apostolicae Curae” in 1896 “does not accord with the reality into which the Spirit has led us now,” said members of the group, which is an informal Catholic-Anglican dialogue that began in 2013.

Members of the group, who are not appointed to represent their churches but keep their respective ecumenical offices informed of their studies and discussions, presented their document Dec. 15 at Rome’s Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas.

The 27-page document is titled, “Sorores in Spe — Sisters in Hope of the Resurrection: A Fresh Response to the Condemnation of Anglican Orders.”

Bishop Brian Farrell, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said that while his Vatican office does not sponsor the group’s dialogue, “we are very happy” that the question of Anglican orders is “being examined in the wholly different ecumenical context of today, when so much has been achieved in Anglican-Catholic relations.”

“From the Catholic point of view, it is a question of finding the theological and canonical language that would better reflect what we do in practice, which is to acknowledge a genuine ministry in other churches,” he told Catholic News Service. “As the Second Vatican Council teaches, the Holy Spirit does indeed work through them for the salvation of their members.”

The context for “Sorores in Spe” is the theological and practical difference in Catholic-Anglican relations over the past 125 years and, especially, since the formal Anglican-Roman Catholic theological dialogue was established in 1967 by St. Paul VI and Anglican Archbishop Michael Ramsey of Canterbury.

The theological and canonical motivations for Pope Leo’s decision, as explained in the document, were “defects” of both form and intention in the Anglican ordination rites because, in the Vatican’s eyes, “it was not made clear that the priest received ‘the power of consecrating and of offering the true Body and Blood of the Lord’” and because the Anglican Communion had introduced a rite not approved by the church. (more…)

Sorores in Spe – Sisters in Hope of the Resurrection: A Fresh Response to the Condemnation of Anglican Orders (1896)

The members of the Malines Conversations Group are honoured to invite you to the presentation of their new document:

SORORES IN SPE – Sisters in Hope of the Resurrection: A Fresh Response to the Condemnation of Anglican Orders (1896)

during an ecumenical seminar at the Angelicum’s Institute for Ecumenical Studies, Rome, Wednesday, 15 December 2021, 15:00-16:00, in presence at Aula 11 of the Angelicum or in direct streaming on Angelicum YouTube.

Access to zoom link: ecumenism [at] pust [dot] it

More information & Text of SORORES IN SPE


Abstract & Quotations

Sorores in spe resurrectionis (sisters in hope of the Resurrection) argues that there is an overwhelming body of evidence in favour of revising the negative judgment on Anglican ordinations expressed in Pope Leo XIII’s Apostolic Letter Apostolicae Curae (1896). The ecclesial and sociocultural contexts then and now are significantly different. Through the intervening years, there has been a vast development of ecumenical exchange, cooperation and dialogue – including the groundbreaking Malines Conversations (1921-6). Anglicans and Catholics are now committed to “walking together” on a way of reconciliation, harmony and common witness to the gospel. Important resources for the proposal to revise the judgment on Anglican orders include the insights of the 20th century Liturgical and Ecumenical Movements, the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and telling symbolic gestures from Church leaders. To these should be added reflection on the revised rites of ordination, both Anglican and Catholic. Much theological wisdom can be found in contemporary ordination rites to support a renewed understanding of the ministry of all the baptized, deacons, priests and bishops. A broadened understanding of ecclesiality, mystery, participation and anamnesis has encouraged us to look again with fresh eyes at the reality of the Church as the People of God and the Body of Christ beyond the confines of separated ecclesial bodies. Taking into account all of this evidence, both historical and theological, the Malines Conversations Group believes it is time for the negative judgment of Apostolicae Curae on Anglican ordinations to be revised so that our two communions can more fully embrace one another as “sisters in hope of the Resurrection”.

Times have changed since 1970

“Since 1970, our two communions have grown substantially in unity of faith and service. Much has been achieved. But, there is still much to address. One major issue yet to be resolved is the negative judgement on Anglican ordinations in Leo XIII’s apostolic letter Apostolicae Curae.” (#1)

A call for re-examination

“In the spirit of the friendship at the heart of the Malines Conversations, we have together concluded (i) that the condemnation of contemporary Anglican ordinations because of the perceived deficiencies of rites from the past needs to be re-examined. We also suggest (ii) that the implied judgment that the apostolic succession of the Church of England was lost at the Reformation should be re-examined in the light of contemporary ecclesiological and liturgical understanding of the variety of means by which apostolic succession takes place within authentic traditions of Christian life and worship.” (#23)

The fundamental contribution of symbolic gestures

“Visits of Archbishops to Popes, the attendance of Anglican bishops at ad limina visits and Roman Synods, the visits of St John Paul II and Benedict XVI to England and the offering of joint blessings have cast our relationship in a thoroughly new light. Such actions interpret and develop our theological dialogue. They make visible the practical implications of what we say together. We currently, however, experience a dissonance between theory and practice. The language of signs and symbols reveals a different, deeper reality about mutual recognition which extends beyond the brusque, negative theological judgment of ordination rites in 1896. We need an honest assessment of what all this means. We need an aggiornamento of theory and practice.” (#5)

Vatican II and its theological legacy

“The Second Vatican Council offers a solid theological and hermeneutical basis for questioning the approach and judgment of Apostolicae Curae. In anchoring faith, Church and theology in God’s mystery as God Himself communicated it to humankind, inviting his Church to participate fully in His unique work of redemption and orienting us towards the realisation of His Kingdom, the Council promoted a powerful dynamic of liturgical renewal, mission and service to the world.” (#12)

A view of the priesthood that differs from the one prevailing in 1896

“After much shared study, we feel compelled to present a view of what is entailed by ordination and priesthood which significantly differs from and even questions the view underlying the judgment that Anglican ordinations must be seen as ‘absolutely null and utterly void’.” (#13)

The rediscovery of the diaconate

“When an understanding of the diaconate, which is deeply rooted in the ministry of Jesus Christ and expressed in remarkably similar ordination rites, is shared by both our traditions, it seems untenable that there should be no mutual recognition of ministry at this point.” (#16)

The broad and deep sacramental meaning of liturgical celebrations

“When baptized Christians gather for the liturgy of ordination, when they open the Scriptures to listen to God’s Word, when they have these words clarified through preaching, often by the liturgical president, when they sing psalms and hymns, when they join in prayers of thanksgiving, blessing and petition, when special prayers are said with laying on of hands for the Holy Spirit to bestow the gifts of the ministries of the diaconate, the priesthood or episcopate upon tried, examined and well-selected candidates, and when all share in the Eucharist together, receiving and forming the Body of Christ (cf. Augustine, sermo 272), one must conclude there is such a density of sacramental grace that a narrow focus on the question as to whether the form and formula of the ordination rite are precisely correct can actually obscure the mystical reality of what is taking place.” (#19)

To conclude…

“As we have studied the painful historical estrangement between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church, we have been struck by how much change there has been in the last century. Since the time of the Malines Conversations, Anglicans and Catholics have learnt to pray together and for one another, our shared study of Scripture and tradition has brought renewal, we have engaged in joint projects of dialogue, discipleship and witness, we have experienced growing friendship. In a world utterly transformed since the end of the nineteenth century, facing difficulties and threats on a scale beyond imagining at that time, we have learnt what it is to share a common hope. We long for our Churches to be able to embrace one another as sisters in Christ.” (#23)