Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission meets in Strasbourg

Posted May 29, 2024

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican–Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC III) held its annual plenary meeting at the Centre Culturel Saint-Thomas in Strasbourg, France, May 11-18. It continued to work on the second part of its mandate examining how the church discerns local, regional and universal right ethical teaching.

Drafting the Agreed Statement for this phase of the commission’s work had continued during the commission’s 2023 plenary meeting in Cyprus and aims to be finalized by 2025. When published, the Agreed Statement will complement the document published by ARCIC III in 2017, Walking Together on the Way: Learning to be the Church. Local, Regional and Universal. 

In its communique, issued at the end of the meeting, the commission stated that it has “adopted an approach of receptive ecumenical learning, whereby each dialogue partner seeks to identify elements of church life found in the other tradition which might be gifts for the enhancement of their own traditions. A large part of the commission’s work in Strasbourg was therefore devoted to reflecting on moral discernment in our two traditions and on what they can learn from each other’s practices.”

It went on to state that this was the first time in its work that “ARCIC III has chosen to include two case studies as part of its reflection – one where Catholics and Anglicans reached broadly the same teaching, and one where they did not. These case studies, on enslavement and contraception, illustrate the doctrinal and structural similarities and differences between the two communions and also serve to highlight unresolved questions.”

It also stated, “The commission devoted much time to reflecting on what each of our traditions can learn, from both its own experiences and those of the other tradition, to inform both current and future ethical reasoning and discernment. This reflection was enriched by opportunities for shared reflection on Scripture, and by the practice of ‘Conversation in the Spirit,’ which has been a significant dimension of the current synodal process in the Catholic Church.”

The Anglican Communion Office supports several ecumenical theological dialogues, and there are currently two commissions for Anglican-Roman Catholic co-operation – ARCIC and the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission (IARCCUM). ARCIC was established by Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey and Pope Paul VI in 1967. Its terms of reference were established by the Malta Report the following year, and it has worked in two phases – 1970-1981 and 1983-2005.

Read the full ARCIC communique here.