Anglicans are “not afraid of sharing…that there are lively and divisive questions among us,” said Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan. Photo: Vianney Carriere
The third phase of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), opened May 17 at the secluded monastery of Bose in northern Italy.
Two teams of Catholic and Anglican experts are focusing until May 27 on the theme “Church as Communion–local and universal.” The discussions will review the achievements of the previous two ARCIC dialogues, particularly in ethics and ecclesiology, and explore pressing issues challenging the teachings of both denominations, such as human sexuality. “We’re not afraid of sharing with Roman Catholics the fact that there are lively and divisive questions among us,” said Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan, head of the Unity, Faith and Order office of the Anglican Communion, in a statement.
Canon Barnett-Cowan is serving as secretary of the meeting along with Msgr. Mark Lanham of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity. The current theme arose out of the discussions at a meeting in Rome between Pope Benedict XVI and Archbishop Rowan Williams, and the Letter to the Ephesians is providing a biblical framework for daily discussions.
ARCIC, which seeks to make ecumenical progress between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, is sponsored by the Anglican Consultative Council and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. It was established in 1967 by Archbishop Michael Ramsey and Pope Paul VI and has completed two phases so far, 1970 to 1981 and 1983 to 2005.
Not all Anglicans support the dialogue. Calling recent Vatican pronouncements on ecumenism “outrageous,” Robin G. Jordan of Anglicans Ablaze blogged that “any Anglican province that takes part in the latest round of Anglican-Roman Catholic discussions is engaging in a futile exercise in self-deception.”