[Vatican Radio] Catholic and Anglican theologians meet together in Durban, South Africa on Monday for the opening of a fourth session of their current dialogue known as ARCIC III. The theme for this third phase of Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission is to explore the Church as Communion, local and universal, and how, together, they come to discern correct ethical teaching.
The new Catholic co-secretary of the dialogue is Fr Tony Currer, in charge of relations with the Anglican Communion at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Philippa Hitchen caught up with him just ahead of his departure for South Africa to find out more about what this meeting can hope to achieve:
Fr Tony notes this 10 day encounter is the longest dialogue meeting the Council is involved in and that it is looking at the methodology for dialogue…”we’re looking at how far we’ll be using the tool of ‘receptive ecumenism’ as a way of preparing our documents and how much our documents will follow the previous tradition of writing a consensus document…”
Fr Tony says what the Anglican and Catholic theologians hope to do is to provide something that can be of benefit to both Churches: “the importance of the dialogue for both Communions is that we’re living in the same world, facing the same problems……we have a traditional heartland in the West where we face problems of secularism….and a culture that is becoming estranged from its Christian roots…..at the same time, we’ve got expansion in the ‘global south’ but that causes a challenge for us to be a global communion across that vast cultural difference…..
Asked about some critics calling for a faster pace of progress in the talks, Fr Tony says superficial attempts to resolve our differences serve no purpose, but building deeper communion and unity takes time ….”it’ll take some real hard thinking to really come up with a meeting of minds that is not just papering over the differences – that’s what will be of service to both communities and that’s what we’re trying to produce.”