Bishop Michael Ingham
Photo: Art Babych
This year, the national ARC Bishops’ Dialogue celebrates 40 years of bringing Anglican and Roman Catholics closer together. “The Canadian dialogue is one of the longest running in the world,” the Rt. Rev. Michael Ingham, bishop of the Anglican diocese of New Westminster in Vancouver, said in an interview.
Five Roman Catholic and four Anglican bishops met in Pickering, Ont., to discuss Growing Together in Unity and Missions, a document produced by the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission.
Growing Together encourages practical co-operation at local levels between Anglican and Roman Catholic churches. “For example, it recommends that the two churches consider offering baptismal preparation together, using the same baptismal certificates or making public professions of faith together at Pentecost or on other significant occasions,” said Bishop Ingham. It also encourages other frequent joint events such as non-eucharistic worship and pilgrimages.
None of the above are common practices now, but Bishop Ingham is optimistic that they may become so. “We discussed how to develop this in Canada. The bishops will be taking the recommendations back to the House of Bishops. If the bishops are supportive, then they have to go out to the dioceses and encourage the clergy there.”
Bishop Ingham estimated that it will take a year or two for co-operative activities to get under way. “I think there will be co-operation in some parts of the country; in others there may be resistance because of local issues, relationships and histories,” he said.
Another item discussed was the setting up in Canada of the papal ordinariate for Anglicans, known in Latin as the Anglicanorum Coetibus (“For the Anglican Groups). Announced in 2009 by Pope Benedict, this is a canonical provision within the Roman Catholic church that allows disaffected Anglicans to fully rejoin the Roman Catholic church while preserving elements of their distinct spiritual, liturgical and pastoral tradition. “This is directed primarily at the Church of England where there are a number of Anglo-Catholics who are dissatisfied with women bishops,” said Bishop Ingham.
The Rome-based Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has appointed the Most Rev. Thomas Collins, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Toronto, to head the initiative in this country. “The number of people affected in Canada is expected to be very small,” said Bishop Ingham. Ω
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