Anglican–Roman Catholic International Commission

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The Anglican—Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) is an organization created in 1969 which seeks to make ecumenical progress between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.[1] The sponsors are the Anglican Consultative Council and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (formerly the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity).

ARCIC seeks to identify common ground between the two communions. Ecumenical relations have become strained, owing to the ordination of women within the Anglican Communion and, in more recent years, the Anglican communion has internally become increasingly more divided over issues concerning human sexuality.

Joint Preparatory Commission: 1967–68[edit]

In 1967 there were three meetings, a preparatory meeting in Italy,[2] a meeting on the place of scripture in England[3] and culminating in a meeting in Malta[4] culminating in the Malta Report.[5]

First phase: 1970–81[edit]

The first phase of ARCIC was held under the aegis of Henry McAdoo (Anglican Archbishop of Dublin) and Alan Clark (Roman Catholic Bishop of East Anglia). The co-secretaries were Anglicans Colin Davey[6] and Christopher Hill[7] and the Roman Catholic William A. Purdy.

In 1970 and 1971 there were a number of meetings on eucharistic doctrine,[8][9][10] ending with an agreed statement.[11] An elucidation was issued in 1979.[12]

In 1972[13] there was a meeting on the subject of ordination paving the way for an agreed statement[14] from Canterbury.[15] An elucidation was issued in 1979.[16]

In the mid-1970s a number of meetings were held on the issue of authority[17][18] culminating in a statement[19] made at Venice.[20] Further discussions on the subject of authority were held in 1977,[21] 1979[22] and 1980[23] with elucidations[24] and a further statement[25] issued at Windsor in 1981 with the final statement.

A final statement for "ARCIC I" was issued in 1981 at Windsor.[26] There were responses from both the Lambeth Conference[27] and the Catholic Church.[28] Further clarifications on the Eucharist and Ministry were issued in 1993.[29]

Second phase: 1983–2011[edit]

In the second phase the Co-Chairs were the Anglican bishops Mark Santer,[30] Frank Griswold[31] and Peter Carnley[32] and the Roman Catholic bishops Cormac Murphy-O'Connor[33] and Alexander Joseph Brunett.[34] A number of Anglican[35] and Roman Catholic[36] clerics served as co-secretaries.

The topics covered by ARCIC II included the doctrine of salvation,[37][38][39][40] communion,[41][42][43][44][45][46][47] teaching authority,[19][48][49][50][51][52] and the role of Mary the mother of God.[53][54][55][56][57][58]

In 2000, ARCIC II supported a meeting of 13 pairs of Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops from around the globe at Mississauga, Toronto, Canada. This meeting set up the International Anglican—Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission (IARCCUM), which began to meet in 2002, but was suspended from 2003–2005 in view of the consecration of an openly gay Anglican bishop in the USA. IARCCUM is not about reaching theological agreement so much as finding ways to put into practice the agreements which ARCIC has reached and have been accepted by the two Churches.

In 2007 IARCCUM issued Growing Together in Unity and Mission which summarises the nine Agreed Statements of ARCIC. This states that “The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the ministry of the Bishop of Rome [the Pope] as universal primate is in accordance with Christ’s wiill for the Church and an essential element of maintaining it in unity and truth.[1]”. Not only that but the document goes on to say that “We urge Anglicans and Roman Catholics to explore together how the ministry of the Bishop of Rome might be offered and received in order to assist our Communions to grow towards full, ecclesial communion.”

Third phase: 2011–present[edit]

The new phase of Anglican—Roman Catholic dialogue started from 17–27 May 2011 at the ecumenical Monastery of Bose in northern Italy.[59] The third phase of ARCIC will be to consider fundamental questions regarding the Church as Communion – Local and Universal, and How in Communion the Local and Universal Church Comes to Discern Right Ethical Teaching. The opening meeting also noted Catholic—Anglican tensions over the creation of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, a Vatican organ established earlier the same year in order to make easier the transition to the Catholic Church by Anglican congregations (not just individuals) wishing to move into communion with Rome.[60]

The co-chairmen of this phase are Bernard Longley, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham and David Moxon, Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and former Anglican Archbishop of New Zealand.

Roman Catholic members: Arthur Kennedy, Auxiliary Bishop in Boston •  Paul Murray, professor of theology and religion at Durham University  • Janet Smith, professor of moral theology  •  Vimal Tirimanna, Redemptorist father and professor at Rome's Alphonsianum University  •  Henry Wansbrough, a Benedictine father from Ampleforth Abbey  •  Teresa Okure, Sister of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, Nigeria  •  Adelbert Denaux, presbyter and former professor at the Catholic University of Leuven and member of ARCIC II, (currently) dean of the School of Catholic Theology of Tilburg University.

Anglican members: Paula Gooder, canon theologian of Birmingham Cathedral  •  Christopher Hill, former Bishop of Guildford  •  Mark McIntosh, canon professor at the University of Durham  •  Nkosinathi Ndwandwe, Bishop of Natal, Southern Africa  •  Linda Nicholls, Bishop suffragan of Trent-Durham in the Diocese of Toronto  •  Michael Poon from Trinity Theological College in Singapore  •  Nicholas Sagovsky, former ARCIC II member and retiring canon residentiary at Westminster Abbey  •  Peter Sedgwick, principal of St. Michael's College; and Charles Sherlock, former ARCIC II member and Registrar of the MCD University of Divinity in Australia


ARCIC has met with some hostile reaction from traditionalist Roman Catholics.[61][62] Although ARCIC had just completed the major document on Marian theology in 2003, Pope John Paul II suspended official talks between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, owing to the consecration of Gene Robinson, a homosexual man in a non-celibate relationship, as a bishop in the Episcopal Church in the United States.[63] Moreover, the ordination of women, especially to the episcopacy, has repeatedly been questioned by the Roman Catholic Church leadership as harmful to Christian unity. Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, put it this way: The ordination of women to the episcopate "signified a breaking away from apostolic tradition and a further obstacle for reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Church of England." He also seemed more upset about the warring parties within Anglicanism: "He described the legislation for those opposed to women's ordained ministry in the Church of England as the 'unspoken institutionalism' of an 'existing schism.'"[64] At the opening of the May 2011 meeting, British journalist William Oddie claimed that ARCIC activities were useless, as only the Catholic side had a clear agenda and described all ecumenical activity as leading to a dead end.[60]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ James, Barry (19 May 1992). "Anglican Leader Challenges Vatican Stand on Birth Control". New York Times. Retrieved 13 January 2012. 
  2. ^ 9–13 January 1967, Villa Cagnola, Gazzada, Italy — "First Steps Toward Restoring Full Unity; identifying themes for dialogue"
  3. ^ 30 August–3 September 1967, Huntercombe Manor, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom — "The Authority of the Word of God and its Relationship to the Church"
  4. ^ 31 December 1967–3 January 1968, Mount St Joseph (Jesuit retreat house), Malta
  5. ^ "A Vision for Unity" The Malta Report Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission
  6. ^ until July 1974
  7. ^ from August 1974
  8. ^ 9–15 January 1970, Windsor, Berkshire, UK — "Fundamentals of the Faith; Authority; Church; Intercommunion and Ministry; Eucharist"
  9. ^ 21–28 September 1970, Venice, Veneto, Italy — "Church and Ministry; Church and Authority; Church and Eucharist; the Relation of Men and Women; Making of Moral Judgements"
  10. ^ 1–8 September 1971, Windsor — "Eucharistic Doctrine"
  11. ^ Agreed Statement on Eucharistic Doctrine
  12. ^ 12–20 January 1979, Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK — Elucidations on Eucharist
  13. ^ 30 August–7 September 1972, Gazzada, Lombardy, Italy — "Ministry and Ordination"
  14. ^ A statement on The Doctrine of the Ministry Agreed by the Anglican — Roman Catholic International Commission Canterbury, 1973
  15. ^ 28 August–6 September 1973, Canterbury, Kent, UK — "Ministry and Ordination"
  16. ^ 12–20 January 1979, Salisbury — Elucidations on Ministry
  17. ^ 27 August–5 September 1974, Grottaferrata, Lazio, Italy — "Authority"
  18. ^ 27 August–5 September 1975, Oxford, Oxfordshire, UK — "Authority in the Church, Primacy, Infallibility"
  19. ^ a b Authority in the Church I Agreed Statement Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "authority" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  20. ^ 24 August–2 September 1976, Venice — "Authority in the Church I"
  21. ^ 30 August–8 September 1977, Chichester, West Sussex, UK — "How to treat the reaction to the Statement"
  22. ^ 28 August–6 September 1979, Venice — further discussion of 'Authority' statement
  23. ^ 26 August–4 September 1980, Venice — Authority and universal jurisdiction
  24. ^ 25 August–3 September 1981, Windsor — Elucidations on Authority in the Church
  25. ^ 25 August–3 September 1981, Windsor — Authority in the Church II
  26. ^ 25 August–3 September 1981, Windsor — ARCIC I The Final Report
  28. ^ The Catholic Response to ARCIC I, December 6, 1991
  29. ^ Clarifications of certain aspects of the agreed statements on Eucharist and Ministry of the first Anglican—Roman Catholic International Commission September 1993
  30. ^ Bishop of Birmingham, England (1982–1999)
  31. ^ Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America (1999–2003)
  32. ^ Archbishop of Perth and Anglican Primate of Australia (2003—)
  33. ^ Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, England (1982–1999)
  34. ^ Archbishop of Seattle, USA (1999—)
  35. ^ Christopher Hill 1967–1990; Stephen Platten 1990–1994; Donald Anderson 1994–1996; David Hamid 1996–2002; Gregory Cameron 2003—
  36. ^ Richard L. Stewart 1983–1985; Kevin McDonald 1985–1993; Timothy Galligan 1993–2001; Donald Bolen 2001—
  37. ^ 30 August–6 September 1983, Venice — "The Church, Grace and Salvation"
  38. ^ 22–31 August 1984, Durham, County Durham, UK — "The Church, Salvation and the Doctrine of Justification"
  39. ^ 26 August–4 September 1985, Graymoor, New York, USA — "Salvation and the Church"
  40. ^ 26 August–4 September 1986, Llandaff, South Glamorgan, UK — Salvation and the Church An Agreed Statement
  41. ^ 1–10 September 1987, Villa Palazzola, Rome, Italy — "Growth in Communion"
  42. ^ 24 August–2 September 1988, Edinburgh, UK — "Communion: Commonalities and Differences"
  43. ^ 28 August–6 September 1989, Venice — "The Theology of Communion; Moral Issues"
  44. ^ 28 August–6 September 1990, Dublin, County Dublin, IrelandThe Church as Communion
  45. ^ 27 August–5 September 1991, Paris, Île-de-France, France — "Morals and Ecclesial Communion"
  46. ^ 28 August–6 September 1992, Windsor — "Common Witness to Moral Values; Morals, Communion and the Church"
  47. ^ 28 August–6 September 1993, Venice — Life in Christ: Morals, Communion and the Church
  48. ^ 31 August–9 September 1994, Jerusalem — "Authority in the Church"
  49. ^ 28 August–6 September 1995, Venice — "Teaching Authority in the Church and its Relation to Scripture and Tradition"
  50. ^ 26 August–4 September 1996, Mechelen, Antwerp, Belgium — "Scripture, Tradition and the Exercise of Authority" (substitute Anglican co-chairman: John Baycroft)
  51. ^ 26 August–4 September 1997, Alexandria, Virginia, USA — "Scripture, Tradition and the Gift of Authority in the Church"
  52. ^ 25 August–3 September 1998, Palazzola — The Gift of Authority (Authority in the Church III)
  53. ^ 26 August–2 September 1999, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada — "Review of Reactions to The Gift of Authority. Preliminary Discussion of Marian Issues"
  54. ^ 26 August–4 September 2000, Paris — "Marian issues"
  55. ^ 27 August–4 September 2001, Dublin — "Marian Issues"
  56. ^ 10–18 July 2002, Vienna, Austria — "The Place of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Life and Doctrine of the Church"
  57. ^ 10–18 July 2003, West Palm Beach, Florida, USA — "Marian Issues"
  58. ^ 28 January–3 February 2004, Seattle, Washington, USA — "Marian Issues and Final Document" "Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ"
  59. ^ "Anglican—Catholic Dialogue Opens New Phase". Zenit. 3 February 2011. 
  60. ^ a b As new round of Anglican—Catholic talks begin, some question the purpose
  61. ^ Truth Prevails (The Vatican Response to ARCIC) by Michael Davies
  62. ^ The Futility of ARCIC — Chasing false unity with a faltering sect, Peter W. Miller, Seattle Catholic, 1 April 2002
  63. ^ Telegraph Newspaper article on the breaking off of Catholic—Anglican ecumenical dialogue following the Gene Robinson consecration.
  64. ^ Victoria Combe, "Agonies of a broad church", The Tablet 12 July 2008

Further reading[edit]

  • Greenacre, Roger, and Dennis Corbishley. Study Guide to the Final Report of the Anglican—Roman Catholic International Commission. London: Catholic Truth Society: S.P.C.K., 1982. N.B.: At head of title: "English Anglican/Roman Catholic Committee". ISBN 0-85183-511-2

External links[edit]