Despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, like other dialogues, is finding new ways to continue its work. Its plenary session scheduled to meet in Northern Italy this May was transferred into an online meeting over four days (12-15 May). Commission members were able to exchange texts using email and discuss them via an online platform. The Commission is preparing for two further online meetings later in the year. Work for these meetings will be prepared by subgroups of the Commission also working through online meetings. In this way, it is hoped that ARCIC can maintain momentum in working towards an agreed statement on how, in communion, the local and universal church discerns right ethical teaching. A communiqué was issued at the conclusion of the meeting.
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The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission was due to meet this year in the monastery of Bose in Northern Italy from 9–16 May. Due to the coronavirus pandemic it was impossible for members to travel to this venue and so the Commission convened virtually online. We are grateful to the community of Bose for its generosity and understanding that we were not able to meet in person. To enable the participation of members from around the world and across many time zones (New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, Canada and the United States) the Commission met over four days (12–15 May) for two hours, beginning at 12 noon London time each day. Various sub-groups also met directly before and after these plenary meetings. Each day’s meeting began with a time of prayer, and the group remembered in particular Bishop Robert Christian, OP, who sadly died after the last plenary in Jerusalem.
ARCIC III’s mandate identified “two interrelated areas as critical for further work: the Church as Communion, local and universal, and how in communion the local and universal Church come to discern right ethical teaching”. The Commission addressed the first ecclesiological part of its mandate in the agreed statement, Walking Together on the Way published in 2018. ARCIC’s focus now, therefore, is the process es of ethical discernment operative in the communion of the Church. Much of the work of the virtual plenary meeting centred on the schema developed by a sub-group during ARCIC’s 2019 plenary in Jerusalem and since adopted by the whole Commission. Papers were prepared on how discernment is understood within each tradition, the status of ethical teaching, and to what extent ethical differences have proved Church-dividing in Christian history. The Commission also heard presentations regarding the sources and discernment of the Church’s social teaching.
In its final meeting the Commission considered its future work and decided to refine the schema with a view to two further virtual meetings in the autumn of this year, and then for a drafting group to prepare a text for the plenary in 2021 (8-15 May).
The Most Revd Dr Philip Freier
Most Reverend Bernard Longley
Dr Moeawa Callaghan
The Revd Dr Isaias Ezequiel Cachine
The Revd Canon Garth Minott
The Most Revd Linda Nicholls
The Revd Dr Alexander Ross
The Revd Dr Peter Sedgwick
The Rt Revd Christopher Hill (Consultant)
Sister Margaret Atkins OSA
Reverend Father Albino Barrera OP
Reverend Father Paul Béré SJ
Dr Kristin Colberg
Professor Sigrid Müller
Dr Emmanuel Nathan
Reverend Father Vimal Tirimanna CSsR
Professor Paul Murray (Consultant)
Professor Dr Myriam Wijlens
The Revd Dr William Adam (Anglican Co-Secretary)
Reverend Anthony Currer (Catholic Co-Secretary)
The Ven Jonathan Gough (Minutes)
The Revd Neil Vigers (Anglican Communion Office)
Changes to the Commission:
Very sadly the Most Reverend Robert Christian, OP, died suddenly in July 2019. Due to pressures of work, Dr Paula Gooder has had to resign from the Commission and Sister Margaret Atkins announced that she also feels unable to continue due to other commitments.