Stories of news & opinion from the Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogues
The Ecumenical Adviser to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr William Adam, is to be the new Director of Unity, Faith and Order for the Anglican Communion. His new role, which he takes on with immediate effect, will be held alongside his role at Lambeth Palace, which he has held since 2017. He succeeds the Revd Canon Dr John Gibaut, who was appointed to the post in 2014 and held it until earlier this year, when he became President, Provost and Vice-Chancellor of Canada’s Thorneloe University.
Will Adam was ordained in the Church of England in 1994 and held parish appointments until taking up his post advising the Archbishop of Canterbury. From 2017 until now he has also served as Ecumenical Officer in the Church of England’s Council for Christian Unity. He has experience of ecumenical dialogue at national and international level.
The Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) has elected Linda Nicholls, the Bishop of the Diocese of Huron, as its next primate. She will become the first woman to hold this position in the ACoC and only the second female primate in the Anglican Communion.
The election, held during the Church’s General Synod at Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver on 13 July, began with five nominees. Bishop Linda was elected on the fourth ballot, with 64 per cent of lay votes and 71 per cent of votes among the clergy.
Speaking shortly after the election, Bishop Linda said: “you have bestowed on me an honour that I can hardly imagine, and it is terrifying. But it is also a gift, to be able to walk with the whole of the Anglican Church of Canada from coast to coast to coast.”
Despite an amendment to slow down the process, the Church of England’s General Synod has agreed a series of motions to take forward its Covenant with the Methodist Church in Britain to allow interchangeability of ministries and intercommunion between the two Churches.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, told the General Synod: “I for one am profoundly committed to moving forward in this matter, for the sake of the Gospel, for the sake of the Church and for the sake of the world we are sent to serve.”
At the end of Mass on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, Pope Francis and Orthodox Archbishop Job of Telmessos walked down the stairs under the main altar in St. Peter’s Basilica and prayed together at the apostle’s tomb. The archbishop was representing Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople at the pope’s celebration of the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, who were martyred in Rome and are the patron saints of the Roman church.
Greeting the archbishop in his homily June 29, Pope Francis told him, “Your presence reminds us that we can spare no effort in the journey toward full unity among believers, in communion at every level. For together, reconciled to God and having forgiven one another, we are called to bear witness to Jesus by our lives.” Meeting members of the Orthodox delegation June 28, the pope said Sts. Peter and Paul are exemplars of “the apostolic courage of proclamation, which also entails a commitment to respond to the new challenges of the present time.” Patriarch Bartholomew and his longstanding theological and pastoral concern about climate change is one example of that, the pope said, and “has been a source of inspiration for me.”
Lutherans and Ukrainian Catholics in Regina, Saskatchewan joined the annual celebration of the Anglican and Roman Catholic ecumenical Covenant on Sunday afternoon, May 26. The Covenant began in 2011 between the Anglican Diocese of Qu’Appelle and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina. In recent years, the Covenant partners have been working towards a renewed covenant which will include the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) and the Ukrainian Catholic Church. This year’s annual covenant service was an opportunity to give thanks to God for drawing the four churches towards this renewed relationship.
The Bishop of Mauritius, the Most Revd Ian Ernest, has been appointed Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Personal Representative to the Holy See. Archbishop Ian, who served as Primate of the Anglican Church of the Indian Ocean for 11 years until 2017, will take up his new role towards the end of 2019. One of his last duties as Bishop of Mauritius will be to welcome Pope Francis to the island when he makes an official visit in September.
“I feel deeply honoured and humbled by this appointment. It is a calling from God which I accept with all humility”, Archbishop Ian said. “I will try my best to honour this calling and to honour the office. I look forward to working in close collaboration with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Board of Governors of the Anglican Centre in Rome.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Right Reverend Justin Welby led a retreat with Pope Francis in Casa Santa Marta this week (10-11 April) for the political leaders of South Sudan. The Reverend John Chalmers, former Moderator of the Church of Scotland was also in attendance. The ecumenical retreat was the fruit of an unprecedented collaborative effort by Lambeth Palace and the Secretariat of State.
A remarkable, spontaneous gesture. Breaking protocol, at the conclusion of his remarks at the end of the spiritual retreat, Pope Francis fell to his knees, kissing the feet of South Sudan’s civil authorities.
“To the three of you who signed the Peace Agreement, I ask you, as a brother, remain in peace”, the Pope said. “I ask you from the heart. Let us move forward. There will be many problems, but don’t be afraid, go forward, resolve the problems”. In impromptu remarks following his address, Pope Francis said, “You have started a process; may it end well. Although struggles will arise, he said, these should stay “within the office”. However in public, he said, “before the people: [keep your] hands united”. In this way, the Pope said, “from simple citizens, you will become Fathers of the Nation”.
A Spiritual Retreat involving civil and ecclesiastical authorities of South Sudan is held in the Vatican, and is opened by the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin. Reflections include a meditation centered on the national anthem of Africa’s youngest country.
A time of grace dedicated to reflection and prayer, to ask God “for a future of peace and prosperity for the people of South Sudan”. In the words of the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, this is the meaning of the spiritual retreat currently underway in the Vatican, at the Casa Santa Marta.
Participants at a historic gathering of church leaders from five Christian World Communions have issued a statement recommitting themselves to communicating the biblical message of salvation in new ways to contemporary society. We “wish to make more visible our common witness, in worship and service, on our journey together towards visible unity, walking together, praying together and working together.”
The meeting, which took place at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, United States from 26 to 28 March, brought together ecumenists from the five global Christian communions who have affirmed the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ). That landmark agreement was originally signed by leaders of the Catholic Church and The Lutheran World Federation in 1999 and has since been broadened to include the World Methodist Council, the Anglican Communion and the World Communion of Reformed Churches.
In the statement, participants say that their churches witness to the fact that through the JDDJ process “centuries-old controversies” are being overcome. They underline the urgency of bringing this witness of reconciliation to a “broken, divided and contentious world” and they pledge to “communicate this message to people of our time in meaningful and relevant ways through our common witness and service.”
The Catholic bishops of England and Wales and Church of England bishops met in Leicester from 16 to 17 January for their biennial conference. Together 27 Catholic and 27 Anglican bishops explored a diverse range of subjects including opportunities for closer collaboration at a regional and national level. Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu were present throughout. Cardinal Nichols and Archbishop Welby addressed the gathering.
Fifty bishops – 25 Anglicans and 25 Catholics – will convene in the British city next January 16-17. Rev Worthen told SIR: “Spirituality, theology and coexistence will be the ingredients of the meeting” that with a tight agenda: liturgy and debates with the spotlight on the Declaration “Walking Together On The Way.” Next January 16 and 17 fifty bishops, half of them Catholic and half of them Anglican, will convene in Leicester, central England, a city with an important tradition of interreligious dialogue, for a two-day ecumenical meeting.
“Synodality,” a key concept of Pope Francis‘ papacy, was used repeatedly in the final document of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocation discernment. In simple terms, “synodality” means “walking together” with every member of the church, recognizing that the grace of baptism makes one part of the body of the church and, therefore, responsible for its life and mission. “The church must really let herself be given shape by the Eucharist that she celebrates as the summit and source of her life,” being like “the bread made from many stalks of wheat and broken for the life of the world,” the synod document said.
At Solemn Vespers in the Shrine Church on Monday 24th September – the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham – a new Covenant agreed between the Anglican and the Roman Catholic Shrines in Walsingham was announced and signed by Fr Kevin Smith (Priest Administrator of the Anglican Shrine) and Mgr John Armitage (Rector of the Roman Catholic Shrine). Messages from the Bishop of Norwich and the Bishop of East Anglia were read out to mark the occasion. This historic event was witnessed by visiting pilgrims and members of the local community.
The latest agreed statement by the third Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC III) was released July 2. “Walking Together on the Way: Learning to be the Church – Local, Regional, Universal” indicates that Anglicans and Catholics are still on the way together and learning from each other. The year 1966 included a watershed moment for Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue: Then-Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey paid a visit to Pope Paul VI, and a common journey began. In 1970, ARCIC was instituted and, since then, has explored the themes of authority and ecclesiology of communion.
La differenza non è più motivo di sospetto o di rimprovero, ma è soprattutto un’opportunità arricchente per l’ascolto reciproco, l’apprendimento e la conversione. È questo lo spirito innovativo che sottende il nuovo documento adottato dalla Commissione internazionale anglicana-cattolica. Si tratta della prima dichiarazione concordata della terza fase di dialogo ufficiale, nota anche come ARCIC III. Il documento, intitolato Walking Together on the Way: Learning to Be the Church – Local, Regional, Universal (Camminare insieme sulla strada: imparare a essere la Chiesa – locale, regionale, universale) è stato concordato nel corso di una riunione svoltasi a Erfurt, in Germania, nel 2017, ma è stato diffuso il 2 luglio scorso dopo sette anni di riunioni e consultazioni congiunte.
An agreed statement produced by the official commission for dialogue between the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches has been heralded as “ground-breaking” and an “important step on the pilgrimage towards fuller unity in Christ”. The text for the work – “Walking Together on the Way: Learning to be the Church – Local, Regional, Universal” – was agreed at a meeting of the third phase of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC III) in the German city of Erfurt in May 2017. It was the first document produced by ARCIC III and is the culmination of seven years’ work.
After nearly seven years of deliberation, the third Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC III) has issued a statement on authority, structure, and decision-making, which sets out how the two traditions might learn from each other. The 34,000-word statement Walking Together on the Way: Learning to be the Church — local, regional, universal, which runs to 70 pages, was published on Monday on the website of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The text was agreed in Erfurt, Germany, the scene of Martin Luther’s early ministry, on the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation on the Continent. ARCIC members have described the agreed statement as “exciting”, and suggest that it has the potential to restore ecumenical dialogue to good health after the difficulties experienced since Anglican developments such as the ordination of women and openly gay clergy, and the blessings of same-sex unions.
Members of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission expressed excitement about a fresh approach to ecumenism outlined in a statement that has taken seven years to produce. Paula Gooder, a British theologian and an Anglican member of the commission, known as ARCIC III, described the statement reflecting on authority and ecclesial communion as “groundbreaking.” “We feel that … we are walking together more closely than ever,” Gooder told Catholic News Service in a July 2 telephone interview. “I think this is a really important document.” She described the commission’s work as entering “new territory” and that she sees “great potential for future conversations and that is really exciting.” Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, England, Catholic co-chair of ARCIC, said he felt the document was “exciting” because it restored ecumenical dialogue after a hiatus caused by the changes within the Anglican Communion, such as the priestly and episcopal ordination of women.
The Third Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC III) has issued its first agreed statement with the title Walking Together on the Way: Learning to be the Church – Local, Regional, Universal. Since its first meeting in 1970, ARCIC has published thirteen agreed statements. The third phase of the dialogue began in 2011 with the dual mandate to explore “the Church as Communion, local and universal, and how in communion the local and universal Church come to discern right ethical teaching.” The current document completes the first part of this mandate.