Preparation for the Anglican - Roman Catholic Commission

Source: FSSPX News

Two days after the meeting between Benedict XVI and Rowan Williams, head of the Anglican Church and Archbishop of Canterbury, on 21 November 2009, (see DICI #206), a preparatory committee met to finalize plans for the third phase of work of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), according to a press release from the Holy See on November 28.

It was decided that this new phase would start during 2010, in order to discuss fundamental questions concerning the Church -the local Church and the universal Church -understood as a Communion, and the way in which this local and universal Church, can discern, in communion, a right moral teaching. The names of the members of the Commission and the date of the first meeting are to be announced in the coming months.

The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission  is a forum for ecumenical dialogue instituted in 1967 by the former archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey and Pope Paul VI (1963-1978). Its aim is to adopt common positions on social and ethical questions. After the signing of the Malta Report in 1970, the Commission’s first phase of work, which lasted until 1981, dealt with the Eucharist, the ministry and authority. The second phase, from 1983 to 2005, focused on many subjects, such as salvation and the Church, the Church as a communion, and life in Christ. On 16 May 2005, ARCIC released a first joint document on the Virgin, entitled Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ.

On 15 January 2010, the Pope addressed Cardinal William Joseph Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the eighty members of the Congregation gathered in a plenary session at the Vatican. During his speech Benedict XVI stressed how, through its commitment to doctrinal fidelity, this dicastery contributes to the Church’s ministry of unity that is entrusted first of all to the Pope.

The Holy Father then referred to the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus published last November to enable those Anglican faithful who so wish to join the Catholic Church. “The faithful adherence of these groups to the truth received from Christ and presented by the Magisterium of the Church is in no way contrary to the ecumenical movement but rather shows its ultimate purpose, which is the full and visible communion of the Lord's disciples.” Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, is far from viewing ecumenism as the return of separated Christians to the Catholic Church. According to him, in the wake of John Paul II, there should be "neither absorption nor fusion,” but “exchange of gifts between the Churches.” (See From Ecumenism to Silent Apostasy, #9 link)

(DICI No. 208, Jan. 23, 2010.—Sources: VIS/apic/imedia)