Anglican-Roman Catholic meeting ponders ecumenical dialogue

By Francis Wong
Posted May 9, 2012

[Ecumenical News International — Hong Kong] As the May 4 – 10  meeting of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) drew to a close, participants emphasized the importance of social witness and openness in ecumenical dialogue.

“There seem to be many obstacles from a human point of view, and it does not seem likely to have fully visible unity in the near future,” New Zealand Anglican Archbishop David Moxon, the co-chairperson of the meeting, said on  May 8. “We can, however, do a lot of things together during this slow process,” he added.

“As we discussed in the meeting, there can be more collaborations between us, such as (humanitarian agencies) Caritas International and the Global Anglican Relief and Development Alliance,” he said.

The Hong Kong ecumenical gathering is the second meeting for the third phase of ARCIC, which is focused on the examining the question of moral decision-making within the local and universal church.

Moxon agreed that it is easier to have a common understanding on social ethics, but not sexual ethics, especially referring to the topic of homosexuality. But he stressed that the study of some “first principles” from the two churches, like the study of the Bible, may help to build up common ground.

He also said he expected that the next archbishop of Canterbury will support ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue, as has the current archbishop, Rowan Williams, who will step down at the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Catholic priest Adelbert Denaux, dean of the Tilburg School of Theology in Holland, said that openness was importance in ecumenical dialogue and warned that churches’ fear of losing identity during the process was ungrounded.

He said that unity “is not uniformity, but ‘unity in diversity,'” and the establishment of a unique “personal ordinariate” to receive Anglicans into the Catholic Church may be a model of this, since the structure helps keep Anglican traditions.


Comments (17)

  1. The Rev. John T. Farrell says:

    Please, can’t we call a spade a spade? The Ordinariates are a fully-intentional slap in the face at the Anglican Communion and are as offensive and insulting as one church can be to another. Ecumenical relations are fine, but when the Roman ecclesiastical community gives up its arrogance and triumphalism, perhaps a dialogue based on respect can occur. As Archbishop Benson of the Italian mission remarked, “now is not the moment to be fingering Rome’s trinkets.”

    1. The Rev. John T. Farrell says:

      Oh my, a dangling modifier! That last sentence should read, “As Archbishop Benson remarked of the Italian mission, “now is not the moment to be fingering Rome’s trinkets.” This was said by the Archbishop of Canterbury after the self-styled “Archbishop” of Westminster engineered “Apostolicae Curae,” another piece of Roman nastiness directed at Anglicanism.

      1. Tom Finlay says:

        I’m reminded that the Anglican response to Apostolicae Curae details carefully that if Anglican orders are to be overthrown by the arguments presented by Leo XIII, then by the same arguments “…he at the same time overthrows all his own and pronounces sentence on his own Church.” This argument has never been refuted by Rome as far as I know, although given the perspective of Papal infallability it’s unlikely. Some humility from Rome on the matter seems the only path to a true reconciliation, the Anglican arguments about Roman additions to ordination rites that Leo used to make his case being non-essential are compelling. Given the current state of the papacy, reeling from secular and civil condemnation of the sheltering of pedophilia, and headed by a very theologically conservative pope, this is definitely not the time to be dazzled by Rome’s trinkets.

        Each Pope has the opportunity to put aside Christian denominational differences and bring about reconciliation in the wider Church, taking the lead in the matter, and it does not happen. Benedict calls for a smaller but purer Church, and one can only cry at these ongoing hints about exclusion. I think of our Lord looking over Jerusalem, and wanting to gather the flock, yet here we are, Rome, with this opportunity ever before us while the world burns ever increasingly.

  2. Robert G. Harp PhD says:

    Good for you, John. Those who attempt to window dress this abject insult need to be challenged. The RC church has tried to effectively subvert the Anglican Communion. If we call that ecumenical, we are delusional.

  3. thomas mauro says:

    What a relief it would be to simply follow the model of Jesus Christ.

  4. The Rev. Robert C. Greanfeldt says:

    In 1964, my wife and I came to separate conclusions that we could no longer remain in the Church into which we were both baptized, raised, admitted to communion, Confirmed and married. When I was finally able to admit – in the dark of night, lying side by side in bed, and with great fear and trepidation – “Darling, I hate to say this, but I’ve realized I can’t stay in the (Roman) Catholic Church any longer.” Her response, after a loooong pause was. “Oh thank God! I didn’t know how to tell you the same thing.” Some months, later, after much reading, visiting and discussion, we settled on the Episcopal Church as the Church that came closest to what we could and did believe, without the RC nonsense we COULDN’T accept.
    In 1967, we were off to New York to begin study at GTS.
    4+ decades in Orders, later, I – WE – are not about to accept being received ‘as Anglicans’ into the “one, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.” We share a great affection for the Roman Catholic Church. But we are ANGLICANS! We would be overjoyed to be in full communion with the Roman branch of the Catholic Church, but only as equal partners – not ROMAN CATHOLIC members “of a unique ‘personal ordinariate’ ” .
    With no negotiation!

    1. (Rev.) Charles W. V. Daily, Jr. says:

      My story is different in content, of course, but the conclusion is the same. I was warmly received by the bishop of the Diocese of Fond du Lac, Russell E. Jacobus. He was most gracious and I was ordained to the priesthood later. I am so very greatful for the ministry in the church. I would not look backward and invite anyone else considering the same to look forward.

  5. Joyce Ann Edmondson says:

    As a person who was raised without a church body, it took me over 20 years, a brief sojourn as a submersed (Baptist), 40 years as a Roman Catholic, and 10 years as the wife of an Episcopalian to realize that we are all one. Recently, I listened to a course entitled “My Favorite Universe.” In it the professor stated that when we went to the moon and looked back at the earth, we saw the world as a unit, without boundaries, countries, states, etc. and realized for the first time we were one. What a concept. Let’s live by it. Before the Big Bang, no one knows what was out there, but we know that God was beyond the newly formed universe and wanted to be a part of it, so He sent His Son to be one with us.! What does He want for us now?

  6. John Buck says:

    News of these AC/TEC-RC discussions reminds me of the hunter-bear negotiation story. You can find it via

  7. Joyce Ann Edmondson says:

    One more story: I asked my 11 year old grandson: Dawson, does God love a Muslim baby, a Jewish baby, a Christian baby equally? (I didn’t include all for brevity…) His answer: No, Grandma, He loves them infinitely.

  8. The Rev. Dr. Peter E. Van Horne says:

    Ecumenical dialogue with the Roman Church has got to be an oxymoron! I suggest that the ARCIC conversations are mostly fruitless and have about as much guarantee of success as a Democrat attempting to reach an understanding with a Tea Party representative. Stop the long, expensive process and, instead, spend the money on “social witness” and “humanitarian agencies.” Rome’s insincerity in the ARCIC meetings in patently obvious, and I suggest the time and effort be spent on more worthy efforts.

  9. Bruce Bogin says:

    First let me begin by thanking The Rev. Peter E. Van Horne for saying so succinctly what needs to be said and repeated. Actually, this article really warmed my heart. Imagine being ecumenical with an organization whose sole purpose is to have and to maintain power. And if that means protecting its image by protecting pedophile priests, then that is what will be done. And if it means saying that the laws of the Church are superior to the laws of a sovereign country (Ireland), then that is what will be done. And if it means treating women as inferior beings based upon a twisted interpretation of scripture, then that is what shall be done. And if it means deploring homosexuality as sinful all the while housing the largest collection of closeted gay men assembled anywhere on the planet, then that is what shall be done. And of course it makes sense to be ecumenical with an organization which declares that it and it alone is the one true Christian [now that’s a laugh] church. I personally think that the powers that be in the Episcopal Church ought to have their heads examined for spending even five minutes on this ridiculous process. It is like trying to become friends with a tiger. Sooner or later the tiger is going to eat you.

  10. Michael N Isham says:

    Seldom do I agree with all of the comments provided in response to an article within the ENS, but, by gosh, this is a first! Amen and amen again to every single comment provided thus far on this issue of “ecumenical dialogue.”

  11. Julian Malakar says:

    How a blind man shows another blind way of unity. Technically both Anglican and RCC believe in same creed and share the same goal to be children of God thru blood of Jesus Christ and acting accordingly with teaching of biblical truth. The difference between them is the administration of the Church and methodology to achieve the goal to be children of God to be holy, because God is holy.

    Is it not blindness to believe my way is highway in achieving goal to be children of God, be citizen of Heaven for eternal life? In reality that is what both churches are practicing in the name of Jesus Christ who orders us to be united as Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one. If Christians are divided how can we show the world, path for multi-faith unity for development and peace? All we need for this end is openness of mind and determination to break the barrier that separates us.

  12. Kerry H. Wynn says:

    I was raised as a Southern Baptist, the fifth Baptist deacon and third Baptist minister in five generations. I have an M.Div. and Ph.D from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Frankly, if I had not taught two years in a Roman Catholic seminary (yes, Rome was that open) I would never have joined the Episcopal Church. It was only due to the tolerance of Rome that I became an Anglican. From the above conversation I can only conclude that the Anglican mind is more closed and arrogant than the mind of Rome ever was. Clearly most Episcopalians have not heard a word Rome has said since Rome last spoke to Elizabeth I. The summation of the above discussion is that Rome would be worth talking to only if Rome conceded on all points. As to the sins of Rome…let he who is without sin… It is the blatant hubris of Episcopalians that makes the waters of the Tiber look so inviting.

    Grace and Peace…

  13. Joyce Ann Edmondson says:

    Denominationalism today is much like the Tower of Babel in earlier times. Yet, at Pentecost, the people were all able to understand the language!

    When will we have a Pentecost in all the churches of the world, so that all may understand at the same time that God loves each and every person, regardless of denomination, and has a plan for their lives?

    I don’t know, but that is what I live for, when all are one, as Jesus prayed, “that they may be one as the “Father and I are one.”

  14. miguel de althaus says:

    Let us wait and see what the new Pope Francis says about all this.Maybe he will be more progressive and tolerant, or maybe more of the same!

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