Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue back on track

 — May 13, 200513 mai 2005

According to a VIS report published May 13, 2005, the Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue will be back on track following next Monday’s release of a document on Mary. IARCCUM (pronounced “yar-come”) is the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission. It was established after the Mississauga consultation between bishops of the two communions in 2000. It was intended to parallel the work of ARCIC II (the theological dialogue) with an emphasis on “communion in mission,” that is, to find ways that Anglicans and Roman Catholics can work together to reflect the current stage of our unity. IARCCUM’s mandate was detoured following the 2003 consecration of Gene Robinson and the New Westminster decision to bless same-sex unions.

It is essential that IARCCUM get back on track, and I am glad that the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity has been able to twist whatever arms were necessary to get Vatican approval for this step. It is timely because next Monday ARCIC II will release a statement on Mary. The Seattle document, as it is being called, is the end of the ARCIC II mandate. Will there be further theological dialogue (an ARCIC III?) or will we move into a phase of dialogue in which practical ecumenical experience is intentionally fostered? I think that both are important, and I hope that there can be a balance between them. IARCCUM’s purpose is not only to implement ARCIC’s consensus, but also to feed back into the theological dialogue reflection upon the practical experience of sharing in ministry. Thus the two commissions have a symbiotic relationship.

This step is also important for internal Anglican reasons. It gives a signal to Anglican conservatives that Rome believes that the measures taken by the primates are sufficient, and that Rome believes that the Anglican Communion continues to be a viable ecumenical partner. This is not only a statement about the Vatican’s trust in the sincerity and moral integrity of the Anglican Communion, but also that the Vatican believes that there will still be an Anglican Communion in the foreseeable future. Not all Anglican conservatives care what Rome thinks, but many do. Though they may have reservations about Rome for theological, historical, and scriptural reasons, they also recognize similar concerns for orthodoxy and social conservatism. So Rome is prepared to work together with Anglicans even while Anglicans work internally to resolve some issues that trouble their own communion’s unity. This should send a signal to Anglican conservatives that staying within Anglicanism, and working for the unity of Anglicanism, is preferable to schism.

Just as the Vatican suspended the IARCCUM plenary meetings in order to signal displeasure and concern with Anglican internal decisions, they are now using the reestablishment of the plenary meetings to signal to all parties that it is now time to return to the fundamental task of ecumenical dialogue and cooperation.

Update: The full text of the ARCIC Seattle Statement “Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ” can be found online at

Posted: May 13, 2005 • Permanent link:
Categories: DialogueIn this article: Anglican, ARCIC, Catholic, Mary
Transmis : 13 mai 2005 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : DialogueDans cet article : Anglican, ARCIC, Catholic, Mary

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