- Cardinal John Dew is to be one of New Zealand’s representatives at an event in Rome at which pairs of Anglican and Catholic bishops from different countries will meet Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The event, which is scheduled for October 5-7, will reportedly involve pairs of Anglican and Catholic bishops from 36 countries.
According to a report on Vatican Radio, the pairs of bishops will pray with Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin Welby at the church of St Gregorio al Celio in Rome.
The head of the Anglican Centre in Rome, Archbishop Sir David Moxon, KNZM, told Vatican Radio that the pairs of bishops will be mandated and blessed “to go out and demonstrate partnerships that are possible” in mission and common worship, to show that “no one of us has got it all together, but together each one of us can share it all”.
This year marks 50 years since the historic meeting between Blessed Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey in Rome. That was the first official meeting between a Roman pontiff and an archbishop of Canterbury since the Reformation.
This year is also 50 years since the opening of the Anglican Centre in Rome.
NZ Catholic asked a New Zealand Anglican church spokesman for information about who the New Zealand Anglican bishop would be at the October event in Rome. Rev. Jayson Rhodes was not able to confirm who this would be before NZ Catholic went to press.
The 1966 meeting between Paul VI and Archbishop Ramsey paved the way for an official dialogue, the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission.
Archbishop David Moxon, who is from New Zealand, is co-chair of ARCIC III, the third phase of the dialogue, which met last month in Canada.
The commission is set to publish a book called Towards a Church Fully Reconciled, which Archbishop Moxon reportedly described as a series of essays that “will tackle the tough difficulties”.
According to a report on the Anglican Communion News Service website, ARCIC
has been practising what is known as the method of “receptive ecumenism”, wherein each group reveals its weaknesses to the other.
Archbishop Moxon was quoted as saying this method means having each partner say to the other, “You tell me your worst nightmare in mission and I’ll tell you mine. In other words, show me your wounds.”
This mutual vulnerability in ecumenical dialogue, the archbishop said, “leads to a mutual courage, a mutual partnership to assist each other in overcoming, and healing, and redeeming together”.
Archbishop Moxon is also the Archbishop of Canterbury’s representative in Rome.
Here is definitive proof that the ‘Age of Miracles’ is not over! For as many a 36 Anglican Bishops to be paired with the same number of Roman Catholic Bishops from around the world, in order to share their mutual vulnerability in meetings with Pope Francis, must surely be one of the miracles of the age. This comes at a time when Patriarchs of the Eastern Orthodox Churches are meeting on the island of Malta to find ways of convergence for their member Churches.
Archbishop Michael Arthur Ramsay, an Anglo-Catholic primus inter pares of the world-wide AnglicanCommunion was the first post-Reformation Archbishop of Canterbury to meet with a reigning Pontiff, Pope Paul VI, at the Vatican in Rome, 50 years ago. On that occasion, their friendship was sealed with a gift of a Bishop’s ring to Archbishop Michael from the Pope.
Since that time, with various breaks in between, there have been meetings of Anglican and Roman Catholic theologians, leading up to the most recent meeting of ARCIC III in Canada in May 2016, at which our own New Zealand-born Representative of the whole Anglican Communion to the Holy See in Rome – Archbishop David Moxon – was co-Chairman.
This latest ecumenical initiative bears testimony – both to the painstaking care with which both Churches have sought to find theological and institutional convergence – and to the interest with which Pope Francis himself approaches the possibility of a close relationship between our two Churches. Despite the recent problems experienced in our own Anglican Communion Churches, it seems that the time has arrived for some mutual heart and soul-searching about ways in which our two Communion can, not just co-exist, but work together in some form of united witness to the world. The prayer of Jesus: “That they may be One”, must surely inform the spirit of these meetings.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand