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WASHINGTON (November 27, 2002) — Meeting from September 12-15, 2002, members of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Consultation in the United States (ARC-USA) concluded an in-depth discussion of The Gift of Authority, the last document released by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission. The text is the third major agreed statement on authority in the church released by the international commission and is known for suggesting 11 points on which agreement has been deepened or extended, naming a number of specific issues related to authority facing Anglicans and other issues facing Catholics, and recommending ways for Anglicans and Catholics to make more visible the communion they already have.
ARC-USA began a paragraph by paragraph review of The Gift of Authority at its March 2002 meeting in Menlo Park, California. That review was not completed, and so at the September meeting at the College of Preachers, Washington, DC, members spent an entire day summing up their views and making plans for a draft response to be prepared. They were aided in their discussion by materials prepared by Professor Mary Hines and the Rev. Dr. Ellen Wondra. The task of drafting a response to be discussed at the next meeting has been handed over to the Rev. Dr. Robert Imbelli and Dr. William Franklin.
On the exercise of authority in the church ARC-USA is conducting its own study. In 1999, the U.S. dialogue released an Agreed Report on the Local/Universal Church. Over several meetings, the dialogue has discussed papers on the authority of the independent provinces of the Anglican Communion and the role of episcopal conferences in the Catholic Church. With the help of Professor Jon Nilson and a overview of the authority project which he had prepared, members of the dialogue at the September meeting identified the need for additional work on the history of these structures in the Catholic Church. They also agreed to review an outline of the next agreed report which Professor Nilson and Rev. Wondra will draft for the next time the dialogue meets.
Two members of ARC-USA, Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers and Professor Joanne Pierce, are drafting a study guide on the agreements on Eucharist and ministry which have already been received by the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church. A detailed outline of that study guide was presented by Rev. Meyers for a thorough discussion by ARC-USA at this meeting. The dialogue is expecting to review a draft when it meets again.
At the beginning of their meeting in September, Bishop John Chane of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington welcomed the members of ARC-USA to Washington, DC, and the College of Preachers, located on the grounds of the Washington National Cathedral.
Archbishop William Levada of San Francisco and Bishop Edwin F. Gulick, Jr., of Kentucky serve as co-chairmen of the U. S. dialogue. In addition to the co-chairmen, attending the September meeting of ARC-USA were: Bishop Barry Howe of Kansas City (MO), Bishop John Dunne of Rockville Centre (NY), Rev. Dr. Michael Battle, Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers, Rev. Dr. Robert Pichard, Rev. Dr. Ellen Wondra, Dr. Marsha Dutton, Dr. R. William Franklin, Rev. Canon Dr. J. Robert Wright, Bishop Christopher Epting (staff for the Episcopal Church), Professor Mary Hines, Rev. Dr. Robert Imbelli, Professor Jon Nilson, Rev. Dr. Francis A. Sullivan, Rev. Dr. George Tavard, Rev. Msgr. Robert Trisco, Dr. John Borelli (staff for the USCCB) and Rev. Dirk Reinken and Mr. Benjamin Brown taking minutes. Rev. Dr. Arthur Kennedy (Director of the USCCB Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs) was also present at some of the sessions. This was the 53rd meeting of ARC-USA since its foundation in 1965.
The next meeting of ARC-USA will be March 27-30, 2003, at St. Paul”s College, Washington, DC.