An Interchurch Family response to IARCCUM

 — Oct. 22, 200722 oct. 2007

A new response to the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) report entitled “Growing Together in Unity and Mission: Building on 40 years of Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue” has been published by Ruth Reardon from the Interchurch Families International Network (IFIN). Reardon’s response is published in the October issue of the IFIN newsletter, “Issues and Reflections.”

The recent agreed statement between the two churches represents the first practical results of the Mississauga meeting in 2000 that charged the new commission with the task “to oversee the preparation of a Joint Declaration of Agreement, and promote and monitor the reception of ARCIC agreements, as well as facilitate the development of strategies for translating the degree of spiritual communion that has been achieved into visible and practical outcomes.” (#12) In Reardon’s response, she assesses the new statement in light of the mandate issued to IARCCUM by the bishops meeting in Mississauga.

As Reardon points out, the Mississauga mandate specifically highlighted the pastoral care of interchurch families, and asked IARCCUM “to examine the range of possible ways, within current canon law provisions, to deal generously and pastorally with situations of interchurch marriages involving Anglicans and Roman Catholics.” (IARCCUM mandate) Specifically, the bishops asserted that eucharistic life presents a particular difficulty for interchurch families. (#7)

Seven years later, the IARCCUM statement addresses the pastoral care of interchurch families in these terms: “Of particular concern in the area of ministry is the need to develop programmes of joint pastoral care for interchurch families (including marriage preparation) and to find ways to minister to their concerns.” (#116) Reardon asks “what has become of Mississauga’s specific reference to eucharistic life?” From the experience of IFIN, sacramental life is frequently a neuralgic issue for many couples and their children. Greater attention to this matter might have been expected. It is to be hoped that IARCCUM will return to this issue in their future deliberations.

In concluding her reflections, Reardon highlights a recommendation made by Bishop Bernard Longley in his commentary issued together with the IARCCUM statement. In reference to the joint pastoral care of interchurch families called for by IARCCUM in para. 116, Longley recommends: “Such pastoral care and marriage preparation would need to be attentive to the principles set forth in the Ecumenical Directory (143-160). It would help to highlight both the needs of interchurch families, and that much may be learnt from their experiences and insights, if the ecclesial significance of interchurch families could be further explored within our two Communions.” (part III.3)

Attention to the ecclesial significance of interchurch families might address the ecumenical contribution that these families make through their witness to the unity of the church in their own lives. One promising possibility would be an ecumenical reflection on the theological significance of the family as “domestic church.” This study is already underway in the IFIN Theological Working Group, however the theme must be addressed by the ecumenical dialogues and by the highest authorities of the churches themselves.

Posted: Oct. 22, 2007 • Permanent link:
Categories: DialogueIn this article: Anglican, ARCIC, Catholic, IARCCUM, interchurch families, statements
Transmis : 22 oct. 2007 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : DialogueDans cet article : Anglican, ARCIC, Catholic, IARCCUM, interchurch families, statements

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