The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) met from 10 to 18 July at the Focolare centre Am Spiegeln in Vienna, Austria, under the co-chairmanship of the Most Reverend Alexander J Brunett, Archbishop of Seattle, USA, and the Most Reverend Frank T Griswold, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, USA. The Reverend Charles Morerod OP joined the Commission as a new member from the Roman Catholic Church. Fr Morerod is a Swiss national who teaches at the Angelicum in Rome. The Revd Jonathan Gough also joined the Commission as an observer from the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Fr Gough is the Archbishop’s Officer for Ecumenism, based at Lambeth Palace, London.
The main focus of study continues to be the place of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the life and doctrine of the Church. The Commission first considered some new material from Anglican authors of the 17th century which completed its comprehensive survey of matters related to Mary in the Scriptures, Patristic thought, Medieval, Reformation and post-Reformation periods. It then proceeded to discuss in detail a preliminary draft of an agreed statement, which had been prepared earlier in the year. Work in small groups produced a more mature stage of a draft, which will be further refined over the next year.
A report on the first meeting of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) was received. IARCCUM was established after the historic meeting of Anglican and Roman Catholic Primates and Bishops in Mississauga Canada in 2000, and complements the work of ARCIC by promoting ways of deepening our communion in life and mission.
The Commission’s work in the service of unity is set in the context of worship and prayer. Morning and Evening Prayer were celebrated daily, along with the Holy Eucharist, alternating the Roman Catholic and Anglican rites, and respecting the discipline of both traditions.
The Commission noted with sadness the death of the Revd Canon Professor Eugene Fairweather in April of this year. Professor Fairweather, a Canadian, had been a member of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Preparatory Commission and ARCIC I. His outstanding contributions to the dialogue were recalled and he was commemorated at one of the daily Eucharists.
During its plenary meeting the members of the Commission were honoured to be invited to a reception hosted by His Eminence Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the Archbishop of Vienna. The reception was preceded by a service of Evensong in the Cardinal’s chapel led by the Revd Canon Patrick Curran, the chaplain of the Church of England congregation in Vienna. Also in attendance at the reception was Sister Christine Gleixner, the president of the Ecumenical Council of Austria. The Commission also received the generous hospitality of the Abbot and Canons of the Augustinian Abbey of Klosterneuburg, which included a tour of the treasury of the Abbey Church of the Nativity of Our Lady, dating from the 12th century.
The Commission expressed its gratitude to Luisa Sello and the members of the Focolare Community and staff at Am Spiegeln whose warm hospitality and assistance contributed so greatly to the success of the meeting.
ARCIC will next meet in the USA from 10 to 18 July 2003.
18 July 2002