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Anglican-Catholic dialogue discusses ‘right ethical teaching’

May 11, 2012

The members of ARCIC III--the third phase of dialogue of the Anglican - Roman Catholic International Commission--have concluded their most recent meeting in Hong Kong.

ARCIC I, which lasted from 1970 to 1981, produced documents on the Eucharist and ministry and authority in the Church; the Anglican Communion and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity issued responses to ARCIC I between 1988 and 1994.

ARCIC II, which lasted from 1983 to 2005, produced documents on salvation, Church authority, morality, the Church as communion, and the Virgin Mary. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith critiqued ARCIC II’s document on salvation in 1988, and portions of the Anglican Communion in time abandoned ARCIC’s 1994 consensus statement that homosexual relationships are not “morally equivalent” to marriage.

Following controversies over homosexuality and the ordination of women within parts of the Anglican Communion, ARCIC II disbanded, and Pope Benedict approved the creation of ARCIC III in 2009. ARCIC III has a more limited mandate: to examine “the Church as Communion, local and universal, and how in communion the local and universal Church come to discern right ethical teaching,” in the words of a recent ARCIC communique.

ARCIC III members discussed “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.”

In addition, ARCIC revealed that ARCIC III members are

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’.

Two of the Catholic members of ARCIC III are from the United States: Auxiliary Bishop Arthur Kennedy of Boston and moral theologian Janet Smith from Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.


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  • Posted by: ltoscan2645 - May. 11, 2012 10:42 AM ET USA

    question from a simple lay Catholic,why is this commission still functioning after the Holy Father's aceaptance of Anglican Catholics into the Church,what is the purpose of these dialogues,what does our Church have in common with the Anglican "church" that does not recognize the primacy of Rome, the sanctity of life, the indissolubility of marriage, that marriage is only between a man and a woman, the all male priesthood, the transubstantiation of bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus