Informal group of Anglican – Roman Catholic theologians discusses ‘new layers of unity’

Posted May 1, 2018

[Anglican Communion News Service] An informal but officially-sanctioned ecumenical dialogue between Anglican and Roman Catholic theologians has met to consider “the difficult question of Anglican orders.” The Malines Conversation Group was originally established in the early 1920s by Cardinal Désiré-Joseph Mercier, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Malines-Brussels; some 24 years after Pope Leo XIII declared that Anglican orders (the ordination of men and women in the Anglican Communion) were “absolutely null and utterly void.” The 1920s Malines Conversations Group envisioned the restoration of communion between Anglicans and Roman Catholics in the phrase l’Église Anglicane unie non absorbée – united, but not absorbed.

The group’s communiqué, along with commentary by Church of England Diocese in Europe Bishop David Hamid, is here.

Read the entire article here.


Comments (3)

  1. Tony Oberdorfer says:

    In view of changes within the Anglican communion in recent years, I do not think there is a snowball’s chance in hell that there can be any genuine kind of Anglican – Roman Catholic reunion within our lifetimes. After all it is Anglican (especially Episcopalian) leaders at the very top who have been regularly committing provocative acts that can only inflame the situation. To a degree we Episcopalians are being shunned at the moment by other fellow Anglicans. It is admittedly true that the present Pope would probably be happy to be more “flexible” but what would be the point if basic principles of church doctrine are lost in the process?

    I can only imagine how unhappy Pope Benedict must feel about the matter given the major effort he undertook to facilitate reconciliation.

    However “surreal” the sight of the fake Donald Trump in Times Square may have seemed, I find much more truly surreal the thought that the very church people who have been responsible for driving the Anglican/Episcopal Church apart are now trying to revive the effort to bring the Anglican and the Roman Catholic churches together. It just ain’t going to happen.

  2. Tom Downs says:

    As I recall it was not the Episcopal Church that in the 1890’s declared our orders null and void—long before the changes of the late 20th century in our church. This was a declaration of the Pope which almost immediately some in the RC wished to somehow undo. However that was an era in which they simply could never admit publicly that they had made an error. The dialogues since have found little to argue over in the matter of substance, but despite good will on all sides nothing can undo history except an admission that Pope Leo was wrong. Won’t happen.

  3. Jerry Hannon says:

    Having lived through – and survived – both Vatican 2 (in my pre-TEC days), as well as the normal aperiodic revision of our Book of Common Prayer, I doubt that the concerns about “provocative acts” will be an impediment. The Church Universal has changed over the millennia, as the Holy Spirit has moved it, and not only will TEC and most of the Anglican Communion continue to change, but so will the Roman Catholic Church. My former Church home, however, takes much longer to change since much of the senior clergy like to pretend that change cannot take place, and likes to imagine that the self-selected senior clergy are the protectors of all things traditional. Roman Catholic Bishops, including the numerous Bishops of Rome, have loved to claim that “x” Church has invalid orders; but the issue is really invalidity based upon decisions to exclude for reasons of good order and discipline (their definition) rather than upon validity of orders through actual maintenance of Apostolic Succession. Give it time, maybe another hundred or so years, and we’ll be on virtually the same page of the latest Book of Common Prayer.

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