The Anglican – Roman Catholic International Commission has completed the first meeting of its new phase, known as ARCIC III. The group includes an Episcopal priest who teaches at Durham University and is a canon residentiary in the Church of England.
The Commission, chaired by the Most Reverend David Moxon (Anglican Archbishop of the New Zealand Dioceses) and the Most Reverend Bernard Longley (Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham) comprises eighteen theologians from a wide range of backgrounds across the world. In response to the Programme set forth by Pope Benedict and Archbishop Rowan Williams in their 2006 Common Declaration, discussions have focussed on the interrelated issues: the Church as Communion, local and universal, and how in communion the local and universal Church come to discern right ethical teaching. The Programme also required the Commission to re-examine how the “commitment to the common goal of the restoration of complete communion in faith and sacramental life” is to be understood and pursued today, and to present the work of ARCIC II in its entirety with appropriate commentaries to assist its reception…
…In considering the method that ARCIC III will use, the Commission was particularly helped by the approach of ‘receptive ecumenism’, which seeks to make ecumenical progress by learning from our partner, rather than simply asking our partner to learn from us. Receptive ecumenism is more about self-examination and inner conversion than convincing the other; Anglicans and Roman Catholics can help each other grow in faith, life and witness to Christ if they are open to being transformed by God’s grace mediated through each other. ARCIC is committed to modelling the receptive ecumenism it advocates. It intends to find ways to consult with the members of its churches at many levels as its work matures.
ARCIC III will present all the documents of ARCIC II, together with elucidations based upon responses already received, for reception by the relevant authorities of both communions, and for study at all levels of the churches’ life.
ARCIC III has decided that it will address the two principal topics together in a single document. It has drawn up a plan for its work that views the Church above all in the light of its 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 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. ARCIC will base this study firmly in scripture, tradition and reason, and draw on the previous work of the Commission. It will analyze some particular questions to 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 does this conscious of the fact that what unites us is greater than what divides us.
Here are the members of ARCIC III, which includes the Reverend Dr. Mark McIntosh, University of Durham, England, an Episcopalian resident in the Church of England who served as a chaplain to the House of Bishops and wrote “To Set Our Hope on Christ.”
Even though Episcopalians are prevented on serving on any ecumenical dialogues emanating out of the Anglican Communion Office, McIntosh, a priest from the Diocese of Chicago, is a canon residentiary of Durham and a licensed a priest in the Church of England, so can therefore serve on the group.