[USCCB, 9 October 2008] WASHINGTON – Catholics and Anglicans launched a new round of dialogues, September 29-30, at the 64th meeting of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue in the United States (ARC-USA) in Washington.
The meeting followed a new format, in light of ARC-USA’s decision in 2006 to meet in rounds. Each round, or phase, of the dialogue will address a specific topic and include members from both sides with expertise on the question at hand. The dialogue involves fewer members from each church than in the past and each round will be flexible in length, ordinarily lasting approximately five years.
Co-chairs of the dialogue are Bishop Thomas Breidenthal, Episcopal Bishop of Southern Ohio, and Bishop Ronald P. Herzog of Alexandria, Louisiana. The working title of the new round’s first project is “Ecclesiology and Moral Discernment: Common Ground and Divergences.”
At the meeting participants heard presentations on the history of the relationship between the two communions by John Borelli, Ph.D., Special Assistant to the President of Georgetown University for Interreligious Initiatives and former Catholic staff for the dialogue, and by Rev. Dr. Ellen Wondra of Seabury Episcopal Seminary in Evanston, Illinois.
Participants examined “Life in Christ: Morals, Communion and the Church,” the statement finalized by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission in Venice in 1993, and the response to it issued by ARC-USA in 1995. Members also exchanged information about recent major events in their churches, including the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United States in April and the Lambeth Conference last summer.
Following ARC-USA custom, members prayed Morning and Night Prayer together, alternating between the Roman Catholic and Anglican traditions. In addition, Bishop Breidenthal celebrated Eucharist in the Anglican tradition on Monday, and Bishop Herzog presided at a Roman Catholic Eucharist in the St. Paul’s College chapel on Tuesday. Members of the dialogue participated in these services as allowed by the discipline of their respective churches.
The next ARC-USA meeting is May 24-27, 2009, in Cincinnati and hosted by the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio.
In addition to the co-chair, Catholic members of the dialogue are Msgr. David A. Bohr, Rector of St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton, Pennsylvania; Father Charles Caccavale of the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, New York; M. Therese Lysaught, Ph.D., Department of Theology of Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Theresa Notare, Ph.D., of the USCCB’s Secretariat for Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth; Jesuit Father Thomas P. Rausch, Ph.D., Department of Theological Studies of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles; and Paulist Father Ronald G. Roberson, Ph.D., Associate Director of the USCCB’s Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs and staff to the dialogue.
Representatives of The Episcopal Church, in addition to Bishop Breidenthal, include the Dr. Wondra; the Rev. Matthew S. C. Olver, Church of the Incarnation in Dallas, Texas; Mary Reath, governor of the Anglican Center in Rome and author of “Rome and Canterbury: The Elusive Search for Unity” (2007); Timothy Sedgwick, Ph.D., Professor of Christian Ethics at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia; the Rev. Canon. J. Robert Wright, Ph.D, Assistant Professor of Church History at the General Theological Seminary in New York, New York; and the Right Reverend Christopher Epting, ecumenical officer of The Episcopal Church and staff to the dialogue.