The Director of Ecumenical Affairs at the Anglican Communion Office (the Revd Canon Gregory K Cameron) last month reported to the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) that the current Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue had reached a significant milestone.
In a report to the Joint Standing Committee, which was held in Canterbury in March, Canon Gregory Cameron confirmed that the Anglican - Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) had completed its work on a document "Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ" setting out an agreed framework for the theological and devotional understanding of Mary in the Christian faith.
The completion of the document, which will be published in the first half of next year – alongside two commentaries from Anglican and Roman Catholic perspectives – is significant since it completes the work of the second phase of ARCIC. This means that the dialogue has now addressed all the items on the agenda for dialogue between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church set out by Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey in 1966. The contextual commentaries are currently under preparation.
Early agreements on the Eucharist, the ordained Ministry, and Authority in the Church, have been succeeded over the years with agreed statements on salvation, ethical teaching, and further consideration of the nature of the Church and Authority. The last agreed statement by ARCIC was “The Gift of Authority” in 1999.
In December 2003, the Anglican Communion Office and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity indicated that, after the completion of the Agreed Statement on Mary, attention would be given to planning the future agenda for the next phase of the theological dialogue. The Joint Standing Committee has consequently passed a motion asking the Most Revd Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Pope John Paul II to consider the establishment of the third phase of ARCIC’s work as soon as possible.