Montrealer represents Catholics at Anglican bishops’ meeting

 — July 16, 198816 juil. 1988

by Harvey Shepherd, Montreal Gazette

Rev. Thomas Ryan, director of the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism in Montreal, has been appointed a Roman Catholic staff representative to a world meeting of Anglican bishops that begins today.

Two Vatican agencies have named the U.S.-born Paulist priest as a representative to the communications team of the Lambeth Conference. The conference is a gathering of the bishops of the 450 dioceses in Anglican churches around the world, including Bishop Reginald Hollis of Montreal.

Representatives have also been appointed by the world Lutheran church and by the World Council of Churches, a grouping mainly of Protestant and Orthodox Churches.

Ryan said in a conversation that it is the first time such staff representatives from other churches have been invited to help out at the Lambeth Conference, which meets every 10 years.

“It is an impressive initiative.”

Ryan expects his duties to include helping media covering the conference to see the Catholic point of view on developments and bringing an ecumenical point of view to the drafting of conference documents.

Roman Catholic observers at the conference are an English and an American bishop and a Vatican bureaucrat, all active in Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue.

The Catholic-sponsored Canadian Centre for Ecumenism, celebrating its 25th aniversary this year, engages in activities to promote Christian unity and inter-faith understanding. Ryan has been active in Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue in Canada.

The Lambeth Conference will continue until Aug. 7 at the University of Kent at Canterbury. Rt. Rev. Robert Runcie, archbishop of Canterbury, is host.

This will be the 12th Lambeth Conference; the first took place in 1867. The conference is the senior body for consultation between member churches of the Anglican communion around the world. It has no legislative powers.

Seventy-five of the 76 bishops who attended the first conference, in 1867, were of Anglo-Saxon origin; the other one was from Nigeria. This year, Bishop Hollis noted in a church publication recently, two-thirds of the bishops attending will be black or Asian.

Hollis expects the interrelated issues of authority and the role of women in the church to get a lot of attention at the conference.

Some national Anglican churches, including Canada’s, ordain women as priests and some, including England’s, do not. Leaders of the Church of England voted this month to launch the process that could reverse this, despite warnings from Runcie that this could split the church.

No national Anglican church has ordained a woman as bishop – yet.

“We are a communion of churches and not a worldwide church,” Hollis noted. “That is the way our church developed, and is one of its strengths. The weakness is the diversity that can develop in practice.”

He noted the last Lambeth Conference agreed that the decision of whether to ordain women as priests was up to the churches in various parts of the world and that different regional Anglican churches would respect the decision of others.

“The matter has become more focused with the calls in North America for the consecration of women as bishops. Since the bishop is a sign of unity, it causes deep concern that if a woman is consecrated a bishop in one part of the communion she may not be recognized in other parts.

“To force this issue is potentially very explosive, and the bishops will have a very difficult task before them in holding the communion together.

“It is for this reason that the matter of authority looms large on the agenda.”

Posted: July 16, 1988 • Permanent link:
Categories: NewsIn this article: Anglican, Catholic, Centre Canadien d’œcuménisme, Lambeth Conference, Tom Ryan
Transmis : 16 juil. 1988 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : Anglican, Catholic, Centre Canadien d’œcuménisme, Lambeth Conference, Tom Ryan

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