The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Anglican Communion Office announced in a communique today that the most recent report of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), entitled “Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ,” will be presented on May 16, 2005 in Seattle, U.S.A., where the Commission last met and completed its work on the document. Cardinal Walter Kasper is the president of the pontifical council.
Pointing to relations between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, the text notes: “Over the past two years, the Pontifical Council has been concerned by the impact of recent developments in Anglicanism in North America on our relations. The publication of ‘The Windsor Report’ and the communique issued by the Anglican Primates on February 24 have sought to clarify the direction (in which) the Anglican Communion wishes to move” and “have offered new hope that our dialogue can continue to make progress towards the full communion which has been its aim since it was first conceived in March of 1966” by Pope Paul VI and then Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey.
The statement says, in an overview of recent developments: “In 2003, the decision of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America to ordain as bishop a priest in an active homosexual relationship, as well as the introduction of a rite of blessing for same sex couples in the Diocese of New Westminster in the Anglican Church of Canada, created new obstacles for relations between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. As a result of these actions and the uncertainty they created, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity agreed with representatives of the Anglican Communion to put on hold the plenary meetings of the International Anglican – Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) while maintaining close communication with the Anglican Communion Office and with Lambeth Palace.”
“Faced with major tensions within the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, established the ‘Lambeth Commission’, mandating it to prepare” The Windsor Report, which was published in October 2004 and “proposes various practical steps to situate the autonomy of Anglican provinces more clearly within the interdependence of the Anglican Communion.” Archbishop Williams invited Cardinal Kasper to write a letter offering reflections on the report and to come to London for conversations at the Anglican Communion Office. On both occasions, Cardinal Kasper emphasized the importance of clarifying both ecclesiological and moral issues related to the current situation.
Following the publication of “Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ,” IARCCUM will resume its review of the work of ARCIC II, and present a synthesis of that work to respective Anglican and Catholic authorities.