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Joint Anglican-Catholic statement on moral teaching highlights differences

Catholic World News - April 23, 2014

The Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue in the United States has released a document, “Ecclesiology and Moral Discernment: Seeking a Unified Moral Witness,” that acknowledges “how differently our two communions structure and exercise authority, not only with respect to moral teaching but all forms of teaching. Our teachings do differ in content, specificity, and detail.”

“The absence of an authoritative universal magisterium among the churches of the Anglican Communion marks a signal difference in the structure of teaching authority,” the statement added. “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 examining same-sex unions, the joint statement said that “the teaching of the Episcopal Church on same-sex sexuality may be said to accept an unresolved tension between primary textual authorities on the one hand and local councils (both General Convention and diocesan conventions) on the other.”

“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,” the authors of the statement said in their conclusion. “The ecumenical movement teaches that legitimate diversity has its place in the Church, and history demonstrates that this is true.”

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: loumiamo7154 - Apr. 23, 2014 10:23 AM ET USA

    These Anglicans are just plain silly. Without a constituted authority, who's to say whether their cherished diversity is legitimately or illegitimately taking place? And, is it even logical to think in terms of legitimate or illegitimate when the subject is same sex unions? The point becomes moot, right? I guess that's one way to get out of the box!

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Apr. 23, 2014 7:38 AM ET USA

    “The ecumenical movement teaches that legitimate diversity has its place in the Church, and history demonstrates that this is true.” I haven't a clue as to what this means, and I would bet its authors don't either. When one party says an image is black and the other that it's white, that not "legitimate diversity." In the real world, one of the two parties is simply wrong. And at that point, "ecumenism" hits a solid stone wall. That is clearly what has happened here.

  • Posted by: geoffreysmith1 - Apr. 23, 2014 7:28 AM ET USA

    “The absence of an authoritative universal magisterium among the churches of the Anglican Communion marks a signal difference in the structure of teaching authority,” the statement added. “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." That is why any dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglicans is such a waste of time.

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