[Vatican Radio] Pope Francis met on Thursday with members of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, telling them that the cause of unity is not an option undertaking. The 18 Anglican and Catholic members of the commission, known as ARCIC III, are holding their annual encounter this week at an ancient retreat house in the Alban hills, south of Rome.
The original Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission was founded in the wake of a historic meeting in 1966 between a Pope and an Archbishop of Canterbury - the first since the Reformation and the Church of England’s breakaway from Rome. On that occasion, Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey inaugurated a dialogue “founded on the Gospels and on the ancient common traditions” which they hoped would lead to “unity in truth for which Christ prayed”.
Meeting with the members of ARCIC III, Pope Francis noted the current session is studying the relationship between the universal Church and the local Church – a question central to his own reform programme - with particular reference to difficult decision making over moral and ethical questions.
Read the full story and full text of Pope Francis’s address.
Archbishop David Moxon’s speech to Pope Francis as Anglican co chair of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) III.
“Your holiness, I bring the warm regards and greetings of the Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, and of the Anglican members of ARCIC III. It is a great privilege to be here in this audience with you and with our Roman Catholic colleagues, including our ARCIC Co-Chair, Archbishop Bernard Longley.
“I am pleased to share with you the ideas and words we are using in our draft work due for publication soon, about your own influence on our work in the area of authority.
“The reception of The Gift of Authority, the ARCIC II document on church oversight and government, has also been aided by your remarkable ministry, where you often speak of yourself as ‘Bishop of Rome’, emphasizing the collegial nature of your authority, shared with other bishops. The Extraordinary Synod on the Family (2014), which included lay and ecumenical participation, demonstrated your commitment to synodality within the Church. The emphasis on the preaching of the Gospel in your Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (2013), the simplicity of your personal lifestyle, your stress on ministry to the poor and marginalized, and the positive role you have played in international reconciliation have all played their part in commending the ministry of the Bishop of Rome to Christians throughout the world. This affirmation comes with our highest respect and deepest affection.”