Third phase of Catholic/Anglican dialogue to include cooperative investigation of 'divisive' issues

St. Peter's / Canterbury Cathedral
St. Peter's / Canterbury Cathedral

.- An interview on Vatican Radio Wednesday morning revealed that the third phase of official dialogue between the the Catholic Church and the Anglican communion, to take place within the next year, will include what Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams deemed last week to be 'divisive' issues.

Discussions will focus on the relationship between the universal church and the local church.

Interviewed for the radio report was Monsignor Mark Langham, responsible for advancing Catholic/Anglican dialogue at the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.

Msgr. Langham said that the “starting point” of the talks between the two churches would be "the broader question of the relationship between the universal church and the local church."  He explained that cooperative investigations into issues that have arisen in the Anglican church in recent years, particularly the ordinations of women and practicing homosexuals as well as same-sex marriage within the church's discipline, could be fruitful.

In a conference last week in Rome, Archbishop Williams noted that these “divisive” issues should be avoided.  However, following talks between representatives from the two churches in recent days it appears that it will be precisely those issues that will be discussed in the third, and likely final, phase of ecumenical dialogue.

Langham added that dialogue, intended to further cooperation "on all sorts of levels," is essential to the relationship, but that they would like to make headway beyond the meeting table. 

ARCIC, the Anglican—Roman Catholic International Commission, is looking to promote a "wide range of possibilities for encounters," from the parish level all the way up to leadership within both communities.

Despite criticism as to the validity of these dialogues, leaders from both churches are hoping for positive outcomes. 

The churches will complete their 40th year since the inauguration of the first phase of these ecumenical dialogues in 2010.


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