Stories of news & opinion from the Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogues
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.
The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission published its first document in 13 years on how both institutions can learn from each other in the exercise of ecclesial authority locally, regionally and globally. The document, “Walking Together on the Way: Learning to Be the Church – Local, Regional, Universal,” is the first to come out of the third phase of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, known as ARCIC III, which began meeting in 2011. The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity made the document public on its website July 2. The latest agreed statement on how structures of authority support and promote ecclesial communion is considered a key element in understanding how discussion and debates are handled and decisions about ethics and “right” moral teachings are made, which will be the topic of the next document by ARCIC III.
“Walking Together on the Way: Learning to Be the Church – Local, Regional, Universal” is the first document produced by ARCIC in 13 years. Catholics can learn from Anglicans in giving a greater role to the laity in matters of church governance and more authority to local bishops’ conferences, according to a landmark new document from the official dialogue body of the two Churches. Anglicans, the text also argues, should focus on setting up structures and processes that safeguard the worldwide identity of its Communion and avoid becoming too focussed on one province. The recommendations are contained in “Walking Together on the Way: Learning to Be the Church – Local, Regional, Universal”, the first document produced by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) in 13 years.
A new document driven by a fresh approach taken by the official Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue commission reflects a major development in ecumenism where difference is not cause for suspicion or reproach, but is used as an enriching opportunity for mutual listening, learning and conversion.
This notable change is seen in the first agreed statement from the newest and third phase of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, known as ARCIC III. The statement, “Walking Together on the Way: Learning to Be the Church — Local, Regional, Universal,” was released to the public July 2 after seven years of joint meetings and consultations.
The official commission for dialogue between the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches has published its first document in 13 years, focusing on how each global institution can learn from the other in balancing exercise of ecclesial authority at the local, regional and worldwide levels.
Among the considerations in the 68-page report, released July 2, are questions of how the Catholic Church might learn from the Anglican experience to empower local church leaders to act more independently from Rome at times, and to give more governing authority to consultative bodies such as the Synod of Bishops.
“The Roman Catholic Church can learn from the culture of open and frank debate that exists at all levels of the Anglican Communion,” the members of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission state in one of the conclusions of their document, titled: “Walking Together on the Way: Learning to Be the Church — Local, Regional, Universal.”
Anglican and Roman Catholic leaders in northern Alberta say they’re looking forward to repeating this fall a conference held last November involving clergy from both denominations. More than two dozen clergy from the Anglican diocese of Athabasca and the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Grouard-McLennan gathered in November 15, 2017 at Slave Lake, Alta., for a one-day conference, to get acquainted and share thoughts and experiences about doing ministry in Alberta’s north. “We thought it went very well, and I think the clergy found it quite valuable,” says Bishop Fraser Lawton, of the diocese of Athabasca. “I think they appreciated just getting to know one another.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has spoken of the danger that “fear of the other” poses to “Christian witness and presence”. Speaking to the General Assembly of the Conference of European Churches, meeting in Novi Sad, Serbia, he said that churches working together can help to break down the walls that others seek to build. “The Church breaks across boundaries and frontiers as if they did not exist,” he said. “By being in Christ, I am made one by God in a family that stretches around the world and crosses cultural, linguistic and ecumenical frontiers, driven by the Spirit who breaks down all the walls that we seek to erect.” He began his address by saying that “fear is the greatest danger that afflicts Christian witness and presence.” He added: “It is fear of the other that causes us to put up barriers, whether within churches, between churches and for that matter between nations. It is fear of the Other the causes us to build walls, whether spiritual or physical. It is fear of the Other that leads to divisions and eventually to the fall of civilisations.”
Thousands of Christians from Uganda and neighbouring countries are arriving in Namugongo for special services to commemorate the Ugandan Martyrs. In 3 June 1886, the Kabaka – or King – of Buganda, Mwanga II, killed 32 young Anglicans and Roman Catholic men – who worked as his pages – by burning them alive at Namugongo. They were among 23 Anglicans and 22 Roman Catholics who were put to death by the king for refusing to recant their faith between 1885 and 1887.
Yesterday, services were held at both the Anglican and Roman Catholic shrines in Namugongo, led by bishops from both Churches. Other similar events will be held in the coming days, leading up to national commemorations on Sunday.
A joint Anglican-Roman Catholic delegation visited southern Malawi last week to celebrate the success of an ecumenical scholarship programme started last year by the Anglican Diocese of Upper Shire and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mangochi. The St Timothy Scholarship Programme was launched in September 2017 as a direct response to the Common Declaration of Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at San Gregorio al Celio in Rome on 5 October 2016. The two leaders commissioned and sent out 19 pairs of Anglican and Catholic bishops to work together in collaborative mission and witness to the “ends of the earth” to give voice to their common faith in Jesus Christ. The programme has been warmly endorsed by the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM).
The programme, which is funded by offshore donors and managed jointly by the two dioceses, provides scholarships to enable children from the poorest families to attend residential secondary schools run by the dioceses on an all expenses paid basis. The €600 (Euro, approximately £530 GBP) scholarships cover tuition fees, room and board, school uniforms, school shoes, athletic wear, stationery, toiletries, bedding, school bag, scientific instruments and a travel allowance funding the student’s cost of travelling from home to school and return by public transport at the beginning and end of each school term.
An informal but officially-sanctioned ecumenical dialogue between Anglican and Roman Catholic theologians has met to consider “the difficult question of Anglican Orders.” The Malines Conversation Group was originally established in the early 1920s by Cardinal Désiré-Joseph Mercier, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Malines-Brussels; some 24 years after Pope Leo XIII declared that Anglican Orders were “absolutely null and utterly void”. The 1920s Malines Conversations Group envisioned the restoration of communion between Anglicans and Roman Catholics in the phrase l’Église Anglicane unie non absorbée – united, but not absorbed.
The leaders of the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches in Ireland have issued a joint statement celebrating “all that has been achieved in building peace” since the historic Belfast Agreement was signed 20 years ago. In a joint statement on eve of the 20th anniversary of the agreement, which is also known as the Good Friday Agreement, as it was agreed by political parties on 10 April 1998 – Good Friday – Archbishops Richard Clarke and Eamon Martin, say that the agreement “has continuing potential to transform society and life for all of us. Nothing remotely its equal has been outlined then or since.” Archbishop Richard is the Anglican Archbishop of Armagh and Primates of the Church of Ireland; Archbishop Martin is the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh and leader of the Catholic Church in the country. They say that the Good Friday Agreement “sought to address contentious political problems in the context of decades of violence, divided communities and immense suffering and death on our streets. As such it was a complex and, in places, controversial document.
Two staff members are being recruited to help organise the 2020 Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops from around the world. More than 1,000 bishops and spouses from around the world are expected to attend the event at the University of Kent in Canterbury and at Canterbury Cathedral. Now, as momentum towards the historic gathering builds, the company tasked with organising it are looking for a manager and an administrator.
During a special service to commemorate 500 years of the Reformation at the Westminster Abbey today, representatives of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Roman Catholic Church received the Anglican Communion’s affirmation of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ). The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby presented LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge and the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) Bishop Dr Brian Farrell with the 2016 Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) resolution “welcoming and affirming the substance of the JDDJ.”
You might have heard the story about the German friar who nailed 95 provocative statements to a church door a long time ago, triggering something we now call the Reformation. If you’re looking for a modern interpretation, 500 years ago next Tuesday, Martin Luther posted a particularly incendiary series of tweets. He wanted to provoke debate about corruption in the Roman Catholic Church. He certainly achieved that. Sadly, Luther couldn’t take advantage of Twitter — and it’s generally accepted that he didn’t actually hammer his arguments to a church door. Instead he used the then cutting-edge technology of printing. But the impact was no less dramatic. What Luther wrote went around Europe incredibly quickly; it was the viral content of its day.
The journey of Anglicans and Roman Catholics towards the goal of visible unity was given a further impetus yesterday, 26 October, when the new Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See, Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi, was installed in his post by Archbishop Justin Welby. The service which was Anglican Evensong sung by the joint choirs of All Saints Anglican Church and St Paul’s within the Walls Episcopal Church, (with our own Canon Jonathan Boardman of All Saints as Cantor/Precentor), was held in the Caravita Church, the home of an English-language Roman Catholic Community in the city. There was a hearty assent from Archbishop Bernard when the Archbishop of Canterbury asked him “Will you commit yourself to the ministry of reconciliation striving to make visible the unity of the Church in Christ?”
In the spirit of the recommendation of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) that there should be regular meetings of Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops in individual countries to discuss common concerns, a sixth such meeting of Irish bishops took place in Dublin on Saturday, 28th September. Thirteen bishops were present representing the Irish Episcopal Conference and the House of Bishops. In an atmosphere marked by positivity and candour, the bishops discussed a wide range of issues of common interest in relation to the ministry and service churches offer in Irish society, both north and south of the border. These included education; engagement with young people; the World Meeting of Families, emphasizing its ecumenical possibilities; the plight of refugees and migrants; and current social issues. All the participants said the experience was very valuable as they shared insightful perspectives that engendered renewed commitment to promoting the Kingdom of God.
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s new representative to the Holy See, Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi of Burundi, says his appointment will help Anglicans and Catholics to work more closely together on key issues of reconciliation, poverty and human trafficking. The Archbishop, who will also serve as director of Rome’s Anglican Centre, says his experience in jail, following a military coup in Burundi, taught him humility and other valuable lessons about the responsibility of religious leaders.
‘Walking together on the way’ is the title of a new document to be published by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, whose members met this month in Erfurt, Germany. Despite some “difficult conversations” and “hard questions” over the past year, the Anglican and Catholic theologians who make up ARCIC III managed, at the May 14th to 20th meeting, to conclude the first part of their mandate, finding agreement on ways in which the two Churches are structured at local, regional and universal levels. The new statement opens the way for the Commission to tackle the second part of its mandate on how the Churches, at local and universal level, are able “to discern right ethical teaching”. But what does the new ecumenical text contain? And how will it affect ordinary Catholics and Anglicans in the pews? To find answers to those questions, Philippa Hitchen spoke to the Catholic co-secretary of ARCIC III, Fr Anthony Currer of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity.
Anglicans and Roman Catholics should see in each other “a community in which the Holy Spirit is alive and active,” the latest communiqué from the official ecumenical dialogue between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church says. Members of the third-phase of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) met in the central German city of Erfurt early this month for their seventh meeting. They chose to meet in the city to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation – it is here that Martin Luther was ordained and lived as a monk. During their meeting, the members of ARCIC agreed the text of a new statement looking at Anglican and Roman Catholic ecclesiology. Walking Together on the Way: Learning to be Church – Local, Regional, Universal, to be known as The Erfurt Document, will be published next year.