Toward an Anglican-Catholic document on Mary

Source: FSSPX News


He thus confirms the progress made in work on the common document – Mary: grace and hope in Christ – edited by the ARCIC, the mixed commission charged with the dialog between the Anglican and Roman Catholic confessions, whose publication is expected by the end of this year (see DICI 91).

This document, announced since 1999, has required six working meetings of the ARCIC. The initiative followed the publication of the encyclical Ut unum sint of 1995 on ecumenism, in reference to paragraph 79 in which John-Paul II spoke of Mary as icon of the Church.

Subsequently, this working group was formally charged with making a study on the differences between the two Churches. We have made significant progress concerning the two Marian dogmas, the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption, explained Fr. Donald Bolen. Before studying the points of divergence, we began by identifying the commonalities between the two confessions on the person of Mary on the biblical and historical levels. Thanks to this, we have made serious progress, even if the differences persist. This document should help us to advance on the way of communion with the Anglicans, he said.

This document should be released before the end of the year. In fact, the commentaries added to the biblical and historical texts must be approved beforehand by each of the parties, by the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity on the one hand, and by the Anglican Consultative Council on the other, before being published in Italian, French, English, Spanish, Portuguese and Polish.

If this document does not represent the official position of the two Churches, they could both study it and could, after reflection, make a pronouncement concerning it. For Fr. Donald Bolen, this non-official document will have as its first consequence that it will become a working instrument at the service of ecumenical dialog.

The work of ARCIC, completed by that of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCUUM) created in 2001, have as their goal to pursue theological dialog. ARCIC was created in 1982 by order of John-Paul II and the Anglican archbishop Robert Runcie. In the course of the last twenty years, the commission has published four documents on salvation (1987), on the Church as communion (1991), on the life of Jesus-Christ (1994) and on the gift of authority (1999). The commission hopes to pursue rapprochement of the two Churches through the publication of subsequent works.