Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ is the 5th statement of the second phase of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) and brings to completion the mandate the Commission was given when it began its work in 1983. This Seattle Statement is an agreed statement concerning Christian faith and devotion related to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is portrayed within the pattern of grace and hope.
The bound edition includes supporting essays and theological commentary by distinguished theologians including Timothy Bradshaw, Sara Butler, Charles Sherlock and Jared Wicks. A detailed study guide addresses the main themes of the Seattle Statement, and is designed to introduce the document and its subject to students at all levels, and is particularly oriented towards use in parishes and discussion groups.
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Status of agreed statements:
Agreed statements have been agreed by the dialogue members and submitted to the sponsoring churches for study. These texts express the careful considerations of the members of the dialogue but are not official statements of either of the churches.
In framing this Agreed Statement, we have drawn on the Scriptures and the common tradition which predates the Reformation and the Counter Reformation. As in previous Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) documents, we have attempted to use language that reflects what we hold in common and transcends the controversies of the past. At the same time, in this statement we have had to face squarely dogmatic definitions which are integral to the faith of Roman Catholics but largely foreign to the faith of Anglicans. The members of ARCIC, over time, have sought to embrace one another’s ways of doing theology and have considered together the historical context in which certain doctrines developed. In so doing, we have learned to receive anew our own traditions, illumined and deepened by the understanding of and appreciation for each other’s tradition.
Our Agreed Statement concerning the Blessed Virgin Mary as pattern of grace and hope is a powerful reflection of our efforts to seek out what we hold in common and celebrates important aspects of our common heritage. Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, stands before us as an exemplar of faithful obedience, and her “Be it to me according to your word” is the grace-filled response each of us is called to make to God, both personally and communally, as the Church, the body of Christ. It is as figure of the Church, her arms uplifted in prayer and praise, her hands open in receptivity and availability to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, that we are one with Mary as she magnifies the Lord. “Surely,” Mary declares in her song recorded in the Gospel of Luke, “from this day all generations will call me blessed.”
Our two traditions share many of the same feasts associated with Mary. From our experience we have found that it is in the realm of worship that we realize our deepest convergence as we give thanks to God for the Mother of the Lord who is one with us in that vast community of love and prayer we call the communion of saints.