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Anglicans and Roman Catholics


The main point of this post is to point out that the following document is now available: Walking Together on the Way Learning to Be the Church—Local, Regional, Universal. An Agreed Statement of the Third Anglican–Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC III) Erfurt 2017.

It is a 77 page document, and so will take some digesting. The document was made public on July 2.

It has been thirteen years since the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) published a document. The approach of the document is how both churches/communions can learn from each other locally, regionally, and globally.

ARCIC will now move forward to the important work of looking at how issues of ethics are decided. And this understanding of the way authority functions, locally, regionally, and globally, is a significant part of this work.

This document is not an official pronouncement from either church or communion.

Here are some examples of the way we can usefully learn from each other. Roman Catholicism can learn from the way Anglicanism involves laity in governance and the fuller life of the church. The document highlights the possibility of married priests, and possibly of women ordained as deacons, and a growing appreciation of the value of the local bishops’ conferences.

Anglicans, on the other hand, can learn from a more global perspective. Anglicans can become fixated on local autonomy. In Anglicanism, the teaching vocation of the episcopate can be lost in parliamentary proceedings.

The problems and issues within each church/communion may be helped by learning from the other.

ARCIC acknowledges that the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate, questions of human sexuality, and the creation of ordinariates have caused difficulties.

From page 24 onwards, there is a new and helpful format: ideas are presented in two columns side by side.

New Zealand has a particularly personal connection to this document. The co-chairs of ARCIC III are, for Roman Catholics, the Archbishop of Birmingham, Bernard Longley, and, for Anglicans, Archbishop David Moxon, a Kiwi, who last year ended his term as the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See and Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome.

Do read the document and put any comments below.

Erfurt Communiqué

H/T Fr Richard Peers
image source

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8 thoughts on “Anglicans and Roman Catholics”

  1. Thanks for sharing this Bosco.

    I really love the Receptive Ecumenism idea of learning from each other.

    This is an excellent document, a mature reflection on how to be Church in the 21st Century and it contains valuable ideas to helping us to overcome many roadblocks we face, not only in Ecumenism.

    It is very much in line with the theology and approach of Pope Francis.

    I hope and pray it will help us to move forward together to full unity.

    Many Blessings

  2. It’s an interesting document and would take an investment of considerable time to begin to understand it.

    I find it interesting that in this document in relating the Lambeth Quadrilateral, the historic bishopric is in scare quotes!

    I also find a giant stumbling block in the insistence of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff and the created fiction that hoisted that upon the world.

    1. Yes, David, I wonder why the scare quotes. We could begin to make suggestions – but they would be conjectural. It seems an unhelpful unclarity. I do not think any current dialogue with Roman Catholics can proceed without working realistically with the primacy of the Bishop of Rome as it has evolved. Blessings.

  3. Peter Carrell

    Can we Anglicans learn from other Anglicans, including those whose degrees of separation is evolving us into separate Communions?

    (That is a question intended for continuing reflection rather than immediate answer.)

    1. Not an immediate answer, Peter, but a point within the question: the world desperately needs to be able to live with diversity and difference. What is our message from God to this world if Christians cannot do this? Blessings.

      1. Then as a side comment, may we learn to live with diversity & difference regarding the primacy of the Bishop of Rome! :p

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