From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Communiqui - Anglican-Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Wed, 05 Dec 2001 14:53:22 -0800

ACNS 2785 - LAMBETH PALACE - 30 November 2001

International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission


Conversations with the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr George Carey and Pope
John Paul II were the chief focus of the inaugural meeting of a new working
group set up by the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian
Unity and the Anglican Communion. The establishment of this high-level
working group was a direct result of the special international meeting of
Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops held in Mississauga Canada in May 2000.
The meetings were held in London and Rome from 20 to 24 November 2001.

This new working group, will be known as the "International Anglican-Roman
Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission" (IARCCUM), and complements the
work of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) which
since 1970 has been engaged in the official theological dialogue between the
two Communions.

The sessions in London began with a time of retreat including prayer,
reflection and the renewal of baptismal vows in the historic Crypt Chapel of
Lambeth Palace. Conversations were held with the Archbishop of Canterbury
during which Archbishop John Bathersby, the Roman Catholic Co-chairman,
requested Dr Carey's prayers for this new initiative. The Archbishop of
Canterbury, in sharing his vision for the work of the new Commission,
assured the members of the Commission of his prayerful support for further
progress towards visible unity between the Anglican Communion and the Roman
Catholic Church which will strengthen the mission of the Church of Christ.

In Rome discussions were held with Cardinal Walter Kasper, the President of
the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Cardinal Kasper
recalled the spiritual and fruitful nature of the Mississauga meeting. He
explored with the Commission the Mississauga proposal for the preparation a
joint declaration which would formally express the degree of agreement that
exists between Anglicans and Catholics and consolidate the results of more
than thirty years of dialogue. He also underlined the key role the
Commission will play in guiding and promoting the response and reception of
the agreed statements of ARCIC throughout the Churches.

The Commission began intensive work on these priority areas as well as on
the development of strategies to translate the degree of spiritual communion
that has been achieved into visible and practical outcomes. One possible
avenue for greater co-operation is in the field of inter-faith relations,
which was emphasised in a consultation with Bishop Michael Fitzgerald, the
Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Inter Religious Dialogue. Amidst the
tensions and conflicts which make our present world context so fragile, the
members affirmed the importance of deepening our joint commitment to work
together in social and cultural spheres for the defence of human dignity and
the promotion of justice and peace.

Pope John Paul II received the Commission in private audience at the
Vatican. Bishop David Beetge, the Anglican Co-chairman of the Commission,
delivered greetings to the Holy Father from the Archbishop of Canterbury and
sought the Pope's blessing on this new phase of work. His Holiness affirmed
that greater unity will be part of our witness to the world of a Spirit-led
way of overcoming division. He urged the Commission to intensify the efforts
to deepen the communion we now share and to be led by the Holy Spirit in our
journey towards full visible unity between the Churches of the Anglican
Communion and the Roman Catholic Church.

The next plenary meeting of the Commission will be from 19 to 23 November
2002, in Malta.

The members of IARCCUM:

Bishop David Beetge (South Africa, Co-Chairman)
Archbishop Peter Carnley (Australia)
Bishop Edwin Gulick (USA)
Archbishop Peter Kwong (Hong Kong)
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali (England, also member of ARCIC )
Dr Mary Tanner (England)
The Revd Jonathan Gough (Archbishop of Canterbury's Office)
The Revd Canon David Hamid (Anglican Communion Office, Co-Secretary).

Roman Catholics
Archbishop John Bathersby (Australia, Co-Chairman)
Archbishop Alexander Brunett (USA, also Co-Chairman of ARCIC)
Bishop Anthony Farquhar (Ireland)
Bishop Crispian Hollis (England)
Bishop Lucius Ugorji (Nigeria)
The Revd Dr Peter Cross (Australia)
Sr Dr Donna Geernaert (Canada)
The Revd Don Bolen (Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity,

Administrative Staff
Mrs Christine Codner (Anglican Communion Office)
Ms Giovanna Ramon (Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity)

24 November 2001

Photographs are available from the Anglican Communion web site

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