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ARCIC III meets in Durban: The Church of England Newspaper, May 30, 2014 June 17, 2014

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The fourth meeting of the third session of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) concluded last week in Durban, releasing a communique affirming the need for further talks between the two churches. According to a press released distrusted at the close of the 12-20 May 2014 meeting in Durban, South Africa: “A wide range of papers was prepared for the meeting and discussed, taking the Commission further towards its goal of producing an agreed statement. The mandate for this third phase of ARCIC is to explore: the Church as Communion, local and universal, and how in communion the local and universal Church come to discern right ethical teaching.” Following the Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey’s 1966 meeting with Pope Paul VI, the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission was established to find ways of achieving a reunion of the churches. Beginning in 1970 the first round of talks focused on the authority of Scripture, producing in 1981 the report “Elucidations on Authority in the Church.” A second round of talks was held between 1983 and 2004, producing an agreed statement on Marian theology in 2004. Pope John Paul II terminated talks in the wake of the consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire. In 2011 Archbishop Rowan Williams and Pope Benedict XVI initiated a third round of talks designed to find common ground on moral teachings.

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Episcopal Church’s ecclesiology incoherent, report finds: The Church of England Newspaper, May 9, 2014 June 2, 2014

Posted by geoconger in ARCIC, Church of England Newspaper, The Episcopal Church.
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The lack of an authoritative universal magisterium for Anglicans prevents Catholics and the Episcopal Church of the USA from holding a common moral theology and ecclesiology, a document prepared by the US Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue commission has concluded. Released on 22 April 2014 “Ecclesiology and Moral Discernment: Seeking a Unified Moral Witness, represented “the latest landmark in our journey together as churches, and is a valuable contribution to an important topic,” commission co-chairman Bishop John  Bauerschmidt said. However, the document concluded that future ecumenical progress was unlikely as the “absence of an authoritative universal magisterium among the churches of the Anglican Communion marks a signal difference in the structure of teaching authority. … Without such a universal teaching authority it is difficult to state definitively the teaching Anglicans hold on many specific matters, beyond the governing documents and prayer book of each particular church. This fact marks a signal difference in the structure of teaching authority from the Roman Catholic Church and helps to explain a significant tension in the relationship between Anglicans and Roman Catholics.” In their conclusion the commission stated: “It is hard to see how our differences in moral theology and ecclesiology will be resolved, and it is not clear to many whether they should be.”

Put not your trust in Huffington Post headlines: Get Religion, June 18, 2013 June 18, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ordinariate, Archbishop of Canterbury, ARCIC, Church of England, Get Religion, Press criticism, Roman Catholic Church.
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I know a maiden fair to see,
Take care!
She can both false and friendly be,
Beware! Beware!
Trust her not,
She is fooling thee!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s advice about women — especially blondes …

And she has hair of a golden hue,
Take care!
And what she says, it is not true,
Beware! Beware!
Trust her not,
She is fooling thee!

… is also good advice in reading headlines. As your GetReligionistas have stressed many times, seldom does a reporter get to write his own title. Yet when a sub-editor makes a mess of a headline the blame is laid at the reporter’s feet when the claim made in the title is not substantiated in the text. There have been times when stories I have written appear under a title that implies the opposite of what I reported.

Sometime back I was commissioned to write an article on a lecture given by the literary critic and philosopher René Girard at Oxford. I gave the story my all and … when I opened the paper after it came off the truck from the printer I found my article nicely displayed on page 5 with a beautiful photo of Girard scoring a goal in a World Cup match.

Too bad René Girard the philosopher and René Girard the soccer player are two different people. Perhaps my readers thought I was being droll, commenting on the élan vital of Girard’s latest book on mimesis by reference to the 1982 France v Poland match. Or they thought I was an idiot.

These meditations on my less than glorious moments in journalism are prompted by a Reuters article on the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s visit to Rome to meet with Pope Francis. The Huffington Post headlined the story: “Pope And Archbishop Of Canterbury Meet, Note Differences On Women Ordination, Gay Rights”.

While I was not in Rome for the press conference at the Venerable English College where Archbishop Welby and Vincent Nichols the Archbishop of Westminster spoke at the end of their day at the Vatican, this headline indicated I missed a major event. Until now Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby held near identical views on gay rights, same-sex marriage, and civil liberties of persons with same-sex attractions. Oh to have been a fly on the wall at that meeting! What had they said to each other?

I dove into the Reuters story looking for details. But there was nothing there. I could quibble here and there with some of the language and editorial asides made by the author:

It was the boldest step by the Vatican to welcome back Anglicans since King Henry VIII broke with Rome and set himself up at the head of the new Church of England in 1534.

An Anglican would say Henry made himself Supreme Governor not head — the head of the church is Christ (there is a difference) and there was nothing “new” in a Church of England in 1534 — “new” implying a discontinuity between the pre and post 1534 church. A frightful papistical canard. Or:

In January this year, the Church of England lifted a ban on gay male clergy who live with their partners from becoming bishops on condition they pledge to stay celibate, deepening a rift in the Anglican community over homosexuality.

A celibate person is an unmarried person. A chaste person is someone who refrains from illicit sexual behavior. I assume Reuters meant to say chaste, meaning conforming to the church’s teaching that “in view of the teaching of scripture, [the Anglican Communion] upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage”. The working assumption is that clergy in civil partnerships are celibate, because they are unmarried, and chaste as they are to abstain from sexual relations outside of (traditional) marriage.

And it is the Anglican Communion, not community. Community implies an ashram in the woods somewhere, or a collection of sensibly dressed nuns in their cloister. (True there are such Anglican communities — religious with pearls and twin sets) but this is not what Reuters is likely to have in mind — but perhaps this is the “women” link to the headline?

Or:

The Church, struggling to remain relevant in modern Britain despite falling numbers of believers, published a plan in May to approve the ordination of women bishops by 2015, after the reform narrowly failed to pass last November.

It was the bishops — not the church — who published the plan. It still must be approved by the General Synod, which if the plan goes forward as currently written will likely be turned aside once more.

Anything about gays in the Reuters story? Nothing at all.

I looked about the web and found The Chicago Tribune had run the same item, but with a different title: “Pope Francis and new Anglican leader meet, note differences.” Rather a where’s Waldo headline — written for a bored seven year old. One is in purple, one in white. One has his wife with him (in the background) one has cardinals, etc.

I looked on the Reuters web page to see if the Huffington Post had shortened the article for space reasons, but found they had lengthened the title instead. The suggested title read: Pope Francis and new Anglican leader meet, note differences.” The gays and women bits came from the Huffington Post’s scribes — not Reuters.

Checking further I found I had not missed a major ecumenical story by staying home as La Stampa and the Guardian reported these comments by Archbishop Welby at the press briefing. La Stampa wrote:

Questioned whether he and Pope Francis had discussed the question of marriage and the debate over gay marriage, Archbishop Welby said “we are absolutely at one on the issues” by which he meant on the question of marriage (understood in the traditional Christian sense as between a man and a woman). He revealed that the Pope told him that he had read the speech he given recently to the House of Lords in which he opposed the British Government’s bill to introduce marriage between persons of the same sex.

Archbishop Welby added that he and Pope Francis are “equally at one in the condemnation of homophobic behavior” and “our sense that the essential dignity of the human being is where you start, and that is one of the absolute root foundations of all behavior, and the moment you start treating people as a category rather than as human beings with this essential dignity you have begun to lose the plot”.

What is the moral of the story?

Read the article, not just the headline. Though I will admit the Huffington Post editor who wrote this headline succeeded in his job, which is getting me to read the article. That is a different task than the reporter’s job of fairly presenting the news. Beware! You’ve been warned.

First printed in Get Religion.

RNS blames Catholics for Anglican ecumenical ills: Get Religion, June 14, 2013 June 14, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ordinariate, Archbishop of Canterbury, ARCIC, Church of England, Get Religion, Roman Catholic Church.
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Opinion presented as fact dominates several stories in the run up to today’s meeting of Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

Some of the stories are crafted as news analysis pieces. This BBC story begins with fact and then transitions into the analysis, using the phrase “our correspondent said” to demarcate the line between the two. The reader may choose to accept the reporter’s interpretation, or not.

Some stories like this report from the Religion News Service as printed by the Washington Post combine fact and opinion but do not disclose to the reader what they are reading is not news.

This is a problem of the contents of the package not matching the label. In this case the problem is compounded by false information and faulty analysis.

The lede in the RNS story reports this will be the first meeting between the new pope and the new archbishop before turning to a statement from the Vatican official overseeing that churches relations with Anglicans.

Welby’s visit to Rome will be “short but very significant,” said the Rev. Mark Langham, the Vatican’s point man on dialogue with Anglicans. While its primary purpose is to allow the two leaders to get to know each other, he noted that they share the same concerns about poverty and the global economic crisis.

I’m not familiar with all different stylebooks out there: Associated Press, Times of London, New York Times, etc., but I’m quite sure all would agree that on first reference a full title is provided. Mark Langham holds the rank or office of Monsignor. This difficulty with labeling extends to a description of the second person quoted in the story.

On the issue of an “economy for the people,” they have “many ideas in common,” said Archbishop David Moxon, the Anglican representative in Rome.

Archbishop Moxon, the former primate of the Anglican Church in Aoteroa, New Zealand and Polynesia, is not the Anglican representative in Rome. There is no such office. Archbishop Moxonn is the director of the Anglican Center in Rome and may have a quasi official/unofficial commission from the Archbishop of Canterbury to facilitate communication between the two churches, but he has no authority to speak on behalf of the Anglican Communion or does he hold a commission akin to a papal nuncio or ambassador.

The article then moves into opinion and gets into trouble. The question of labeling is merely a quibble and is excusable given the shorthand reporters must use to convey as much information into as small a space as they can. But the account of the troubles between Anglicans and Catholics offered by RNS places the blame on the Catholics.

With new leadership on both sides, the relationship between Anglicans and Catholics could be primed for a reset after several years of tension following Pope Benedict XVI’s controversial initiative to woo back disgruntled Anglicans. For years, the Catholic Church has been critical of the Anglicans’ decision to ordain women priests in the Church of England, and is unhappy over steps to allow women bishops. Relations between the two churches were strained in 2009 when the Vatican announced a special structure, called an “ordinariate,” to allow conservative Anglicans to convert to Catholicism while retaining bits of their Anglican tradition. When he was still in Argentina, then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio’s Anglican counterpart recalled him saying that he thought the special structure for Anglicans was “unnecessary,” and that the Catholic Church “needs us as Anglicans.”

But both Moxon and Langham stress that the tensions are now past, pointing out that an official dialogue between Anglicans and Catholics that had been suspended in 2007 over the ordination of an openly gay bishop by U.S. Episcopalians had been recently restarted.

In principle, I would prefer the Anglican or Episcopalian side to be presented in the best light. But the argument that the Catholic response to Anglican innovations in doctrine and discipline is the problem, not the changes themselves, is extraordinary. And the facts presented in support of this contention are incorrect.

Since the project began in 1969 there have been three sessions of the Anglican – Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC): 1970-1981, 1983-2005, 2009 to present.  In the early days of ARCIC there was hope that a series of agreed statements would emerge which would uncover a common faith, on the basis of which corporate reunion might be possible. Statements on Ministry, Sacraments and other topics were produced but they were never officially accepted by the Vatican as being an adequate representation of Catholic belief.

Nor were other statements accepted by Anglicans. The second ARCIC commission studied the doctrine of salvation, communion, and the churches’ teaching authority and produced a paper on the role of Mary. I attended the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Nottingham in 2005  and recall the vociferous objections to the paper from evangelicals, who rejected the report out of hand.

The Anglican decision to ordain women further divided the churches, while the Anglican civil war over homosexuality has ended hopes for corporate reunion. A review of my notes and reporting from the 2008 Lambeth Conference — the every 10 year gathering of Anglican bishops —  recorded Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect for the Congregation of the Evangelisation of Peoples, speculating the Anglican Communion was suffering from “spiritual Alzheimer’s” and was in danger of forgetting its apostolic roots as it followed the spirit of the age in determining doctrine and discipline.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster said there was little point in pursuing theological dialogue when Anglicans failed to live up to their side of the agreements.  “If we are to make progress through dialogue we must be able to reach a solemn and binding agreement with our dialogue partners. And we want to see a deepening not a lessening of communion in their own ecclesial life.”

Anglicans must decide who they are and what they believe before any meaningful dialogue can take place, he argued as “these discussions are about the degree of unity in faith necessary for Christians to be in communion, not least so that they may be able to offer the Gospel confidently to the world. Our future dialogue will not be easy until such fundamental matters are resolved, with greater clarity,” I reported him as saying.

And Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity chastised the Anglican Communion for its disorder and lack of theological seriousness. He urged Anglicans to embark on a new “Oxford Movement” to revitalize the church, but he also warned that moves by the Church of England to introduce women bishops and its laxity over gay clergy had effectively ended the quest for Roman recognition of the validity of Anglican orders.

Contrary to the assertions made in the RNS piece, Pope Benedict’s formation of an Anglican Ordinariate did nothing to harm Anglican-Catholic relations, apart from embarrassing the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. And this embarrassment was due to his not having been in the know, not because a group of Anglicans were convinced of the truth claims of the Catholic Church. This embarrassment was not enough to derail the third round of ARCIC talks that began under their watch in 2009.

Anglican clergy who have entered the Catholic Church and have sought to be re-ordained as Catholic priests may have been horrified by Anglican events of recent years, but they became Catholics because they believed the truth claims of the Catholic Church. Gay bishops and blessings, women clergy and inclusive language liturgies may well have sharpened the mind, but the Catholic Church is not a girl picked up on the rebound from a bad break up.

I do not know what talks were suspended in 2007 as reported in the RNS piece — perhaps a local dialogue? — but there were no ARCIC talks to be suspended in 2007.

When RNS advances an argument that the Catholic recalcitrance to accept changes made by some Anglicans to the faith and order of their church is the cause of friction between Canterbury and Rome, that is called an editorial.

First printed at Get Religion.

ARCIC III meeting in Rio: The Church of England Newspaper, May 12, 2013 p 6. May 9, 2013

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The third session of the third round of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC III) meets this week in Rio de Janeiro to continue its work on the relationship between local and universal Church and common ethics and morals between the two churches.

In an interview with Vatican radio, the Catholic co-secretary of ARCIC III, Msgr. Mark Langham of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity said this meeting would be “reflective”.

We will not be “diving into the particular problems” that divide the churches but will look at “our common origins and the common tradition we share.”

Established in 1966 in response to the Second Vatican Council and as a result of the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey to Pope Paul VI in Rome, the original ecumenical imperative behind ARCIC has faded, with the two churches increasingly diverging on questions of ethics, order and morals.

Tensions over the ordination of women and homosexuals and the inability of the Anglican team to honour the accords reached by past meetings along with the establishment by Benedict in 2009 of the Anglican Ordinariate have strained relations.

Conservative and Global South Anglicans have viewed the ARCIC process with suspicion. The appointment of members of the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada to the team by the secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council violated assurances made by Dr. Rowan Williams to the communion.  Positions put forward by some members of the Anglican team as “Anglican” beliefs have also been disavowed.

Speaking to the press after the 2012 ARCIC meeting in Hong Kong, the Anglican co-chair Archbishop David Moxon stated homosexuality was an ethical area where Anglicans and Roman Catholics diverged.  He told ENI that it is easier for the two churches to have a common understanding on social ethics, but not sexual ethics and homosexuality.

But the archbishop stressed that the study of some “first principles” from the two churches, like the study of the Bible, may help find common ground. Drawing upon Scripture, tradition and reason, ARCIC III will also “elucidate how our two Communions approach moral decision making, and how areas of tension for Anglicans and Roman Catholics might be resolved by learning from the other.”

Anglican Unscripted Episode 59: December 7, 2012 December 7, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Anglican.TV, ARCIC, Church of England, The Episcopal Church.
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This first week of Advent George and Kevin discuss the latest news from the Diocese of South Carolina and the unlawful actions of the Presiding Bishop. Your two favorite commentators also tackle the final Advent letter from Archbishop Rowan Williams and they share some sage advice for Bishop Justin Welby. Sadly, our third story was removed during editing in reaction to the tragedy today in London with the suicide of the Kate Middleton’s Nurse. Comments to AnglicanUnscripted@gmail.com #AU59

Also: Please keep AU Contributor Allan Haley in your prayers this week as he and his family are grieving the death of Allan’s sister.

ARCIC co-chair: Anglicans and Catholics do not share a common moral view on homosexuality: The Church of England Newspaper, May 20, 2012 p 6. May 28, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Communion, ARCIC, Church of England Newspaper, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue.
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Participants of ARCIC III

Anglicans and Roman Catholics have differing views on the morality of homosexual behavior, the Anglican co-chair of the ARCIC talks claimed last week.

Archbishop David Moxon’s remarks came as members of the third session of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC III) gathered in Hong Kong for their second session of ecumenical dialogue.

Meeting at the Mission to Seafarers in Kowloon from 3-10 May 2012, the commission released a statement saying the gathering “built upon the schema it had prepared at its first meeting. The schema seeks to address the interrelated ecclesiological and ethical questions of its mandate under four headings: the identity and mission of the Church; the patterning of the Church’s life that undergirds local and universal communion; shortcomings in the churches which obscure the glory of God; and ethical discernment and teaching. Members presented papers in each of these areas which were discussed both in plenary and in small groups.”

The communiqué stated that to “assist its own understanding, the Commission is preparing case studies in three ethical areas: matters which historically once seemed settled but which, upon reflection, have come to be viewed quite differently by both traditions.(slavery); issues on which Anglican and Roman Catholic teaching is at variance (divorce and remarriage, contraception); and evolving issues (a theology of work and the economy). It is not intended that the Commission will seek to resolve disputed ethical questions. Rather, its purpose is to analyze the means by which our two traditions have arrived at or are currently determining ‘right ethical teaching’.”

Speaking to the press after the meeting the Anglican co-chair, Archbishop Moxon stated that homosexuality was another ethical area where Anglicans and Roman Catholics diverged.  He told ENI that it is easier for the two churches to have a common understanding on social ethics, but not sexual ethics and the topic of homosexuality. But he stressed that the study of some “first principles” from the two churches, like the study of the Bible, may help to build up common ground.

The Commission will prepare further papers, expand the case studies, and continue its work in preparation for its next meeting 29 April to  6 May 2013.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 40: May 21, 2012 May 21, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of North America, Anglican.TV, ARCIC, Church of England, Church of Ireland, New Hampshire.
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Kevin and George bring news from the Episcopal Church and a General Convention resolution to allow Communion without Baptism. Ireland passes motion 8 during their General Synod despite creative use of Roberts Rules. The Roman Catholic church met with Anglican leaders in Hong Kong for the third time. New Hampshire is going to elect a new Bishop tomorrow. Canon Phil Ashley explains how AMiA Bishops are moving into ACNA and which Canons are helping that transition.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 40: May 21, 2012 May 21, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of North America, Anglican.TV, ARCIC, Church of England, Church of Ireland, New Hampshire, The Episcopal Church.
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Kevin and George bring news from the Episcopal Church and a General Convention resolution to allow Communion without Baptism. Ireland passes motion 8 during their General Synod despite creative use of Roberts Rules. The Roman Catholic church met with Anglican leaders in Hong Kong for the third time. New Hampshire is going to elect a new Bishop tomorrow. Canon Phil Ashley explains how AMiA Bishops are moving into ACNA and which Canons are helping that transition.

ARCIC III underway: The Church of England Newspaper, June 3, 2011 p 7. June 8, 2011

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ARCIC III participants in Bose, Italy. (ACNS photo)

Finding common ground on ethics and an understanding of the doctrine of the church were among the key goals laid down by the first meeting of ARCIC III, the third phase of the Anglican – Roman Catholic International Commission, held May 17-27 in Bose, Italy.

Established in 1966 in response to the Second Vatican Council and as a result of the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey to Pope Paul VI in Rome, the original ecumenical imperative behind ARCIC has faded, with the two churches increasingly diverging on questions of ethics, order and morals.

Tensions over the ordination of women and homosexuals by some Anglican churches, and the inability of the Anglican team to honour the accords reached, along with the establishment by Benedict in 2009 of a new ecclesial structure for Anglicans who wish to enter Catholic communion en masse, have strained relations.

The internal Anglican reception of ARCIC III has also been gravely weakened.  The appointment of members of the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada to the team by the secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council violated assurances made by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the communion, leading to a jaundiced reception to whatever arises from the talks.

According to the communiqué, eighteen Roman Catholic and Anglican theologians, under the joint lead of Archbishop David Moxon of New Zealand and Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, set the parameters of their dialogue in their “rootedness in Christ through the Paschal Mystery.”

“This focus on Jesus Christ, human and divine, gives the Commission a creative way to view the relationship between the local and universal in communion,” the said.

“The Commission will seek to develop a theological understanding of the human person, human society, and the new life of grace in Christ. This will provide a basis from which to explore how right ethical teaching is determined at universal and local levels,” the communiqué said.

Drawing upon Scripture, tradition and reason, ARCIC III will also “elucidate how our two Communions approach moral decision making, and how areas of tension for Anglicans and Roman Catholics might be resolved by learning from the other.”

ARCIC III set: The Church of England Newspaper, Feb 11, 2011 p 7 February 14, 2011

Posted by geoconger in ARCIC, Church of England Newspaper.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Vatican and the Anglican Communion will restart their stalled ecumenical dialogue, with the first round of ARCIC III, the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission, set to begin this year.

On Feb 4 the Anglican Communion News Service and the Vatican Information Service reported that the first ARCIC III meeting would take place from May 17-27 in Bose, Italy.  It has been tasked to consider “fundamental questions regarding the ‘Church as Communion  – Local and Universal’, and ‘How in communion the Local and Universal Church comes to discern right ethical teaching’.”

Archbishop David Moxon of New Zealand will be the chairman of the Anglican team which includes: Dr. Paula Gooder and Canon Nicholas Sagovsky of the Church of England, Dr. Peter Sedgwick of the Church in Wales, Dr. Michael Poon of Singapore, Dr. Charles Sherlock of Melbourne, Bishop Christopher Hill of Guildford, Suffragan Bishop Nkosinathi Ndwandwe of Natal, South Africa, Suffragan Bishop Linda Nicholls of Toronto, and Dr. Mark McIntosh, an American priest currently teaching at the University of Durham.

Following their Nov 21, 2009 meeting at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI and Archbishop Rowan Williams pledged to reinvigorate the moribund talks.  While the bureaucratic machinery has been in place, the Vatican had warned Anglicans they must put their ecclesiological house in order before any further meaningful steps toward dialogue could take place.

At the 2008 Lambeth Conference Cardinal Ivan Dias, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and Cardinal Walter Kasper chastised the Anglican Communion for its disorder and lack of theological seriousness.

Cardinal Dias, prefect for the Congregation of the Evangelisation of Peoples, speculated the Anglican Communion was suffering from “spiritual Alzheimer’s”, and was in danger of forgetting its apostolic roots as it followed the spirit of the age in determining doctrine and discipline.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, urged Anglicans to embark on a new “Oxford Movement” to revitalize the church, but he also warned that moves by the Church of England to introduce women bishops and its laxity over gay clergy had effectively ended the quest for Roman recognition of the validity of Anglican orders.

Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster said there was little point in pursuing theological dialogue when Anglicans failed to live up to their side of the agreements.  “If we are to make progress through dialogue we must be able to reach a solemn and binding agreement with our dialogue partners. And we want to see a deepening not a lessening of communion in their own ecclesial life,” Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor said.

Anglicans must decide who they are and what they believe before any meaningful dialogue can take place, he argued as “these discussions are about the degree of unity in faith necessary for Christians to be in communion, not least so that they may be able to offer the Gospel confidently to the world. Our future dialogue will not be easy until such fundamental matters are resolved, with greater clarity.”

Writing in the Catholic Herald this week, William Oddie observed that the “trouble with ARCIC” has been that on the “Catholic side of the table” you have group which represents “a more or less coherent view, being members of a Church which has established means of knowing and declaring what it believes.”

However, “on the Anglican side of the table” you have a group “the divisions between whom are just as fundamental as, and sometimes a lot more fundamental than, those between any one of them and the Catholic representatives they faced: they all represented only themselves,” he noted.

ARCIC appointment does not violate American ban, ACC says: The Church of England Newspaper, Feb 11, 2011 p 7. February 10, 2011

Posted by geoconger in ARCIC, Church of England Newspaper, The Episcopal Church.
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Prof. Mark McIntosh

The appointment of an American priest to the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) does not mean that the Archbishop of Canterbury’s ban on members of churches in violation of the Windsor Report serving on ecumenical dialogue committees has been lifted, the staff of the Anglican Consultative Council reports, as the new commission member is not American enough to trigger the ban.

The appointment to the ARCIC III team of one of the author’s the Episcopal Church’s apologia for gay ‘bishops and blessings’ has caused disquiet among conservatives.  It is also likely to set back Dr. Rowan Williams’ hopes for regaining the trust of the majority faction within the Communion, who hold a jaundiced view of the probity of the ACC staff.

On Feb 4, ACNS reported that ten Anglicans, including an American priest working in the UK and the suffragan bishop of Toronto had been appointed to the ecumenical dialogue commission which is scheduled to meet this May in Italy.

However, in his Pentecost letter of May 28, 2010, Dr. Rowan Williams stated that members of provinces that were in breach of the three moratoria on gay bishops and blessings and cross-border encroachments of provincial boundaries would no longer participate in the formal ecumenical dialogues in which the Anglican Communion was engaged

“Provinces that have formally, through their Synod or House of Bishops, adopted policies that breach any of the moratoria requested by the Instruments of Communion and recently reaffirmed by the Standing Committee and the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order should not be participants in the ecumenical dialogues in which the Communion is formally engaged,” Dr. Williams wrote.

Five Americans were subsequently removed from the Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist and Old Catholic dialogue commissions, while Dr. Katherine Grieb of the Virginia Theological Seminary was demoted from membership in the Anglican UFO commission to consultant status.

Canada was spared demotion as its primate had assured the ACC that it had taken no “formal” steps to permit gay blessings even though a number of dioceses, including Toronto, have adopted the practice.  Bishop Tito Zavala of Chile was also demoted to observer status on the UFO commission, although the ACC staff made its decision before a reply could be given by the province’s standing commission on its violations of the moratoria.

A spokesman for Lambeth Palace told The Church of England Newspaper the chairman of the new ARCIC team, Archbishop David Moxon of New Zealand, was appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, while the members of the team were selected by ACC Secretary General Canon Kenneth Kearon in consultation with Archbishop Moxon.

Among those appointed by Canon Kearon was a priest of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, Prof. Mark McIntosh, who in 2009 was appointed Van Mildert Professor of Divinity at the University of Durham.

A spokesman for the ACC told CEN “Canon Prof McIntosh is a canon residentiary of Durham and is licensed as a priest in the Church of England. So he is not prevented from being a member of ARCIC.”

This explanation has rung false with critics of the ACC, who note that some Americans appear to be more American than others.   Canon Phil Ashey, who was barred from taking his seat as a delegate from Uganda at the ACC meeting in Jamaica on the grounds that although he was a bona fida priest of the Church of Uganda he was an American and former Episcopal priest, stated he was disappointed by the news, saying this was “further evidence” that the ACC, Canon Kearon and “ultimately the Archbishop of Canterbury make up the rules as they go along and then choose whether or not to abide by them.”

“This appointment undermines the ARCIC talks. Mark Macintosh from The Episcopal Diocese of Chicago comes from a church that has broken communion with the majority of the Anglican Communion and Anglican teaching, and willfully, repeatedly violated the very faith once delivered for which the Roman Catholic Church stands,” he said.

While he did post-graduate work in the UK, Dr. McIntosh was born and educated in the United States, and was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Chicago by former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold.  In 2005, Dr. McIntosh was one of the co-authors of a paper presented to the ACC meeting in Nottingham, entitled “To Set Our Hope on Christ” that defended the Episcopal Church’s innovations of doctrine and discipline over homosexuality.