The 60th meeting of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Consultation in the USA (ARC-USA), took place at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Illinois, March 30 - April 2. The meeting was co-chaired by Bishop Edwin F. Gulick, Jr. of Kentucky, and the Most Rev. John C. Dunne, Auxiliary Bishop of Rockville Center, in the absence of the Most Rev. Edward W. Clark, Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles, the newly-named Roman Catholic co-chair.
The majority of the meeting was devoted to further reflections on the 2004 "Seattle Document" of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, "Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ." Two papers were presented on the use of Scripture in the Seattle Document, one by the Most Rev. Richard Sklba, Auxiliary Bishop of Milwaukee and chairman of the USCCB Bishops' Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, and the other by Bishop Frederick Borsch, retired, of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, presently professor of Anglican Studies at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. Professor Joanne M. Pierce of the Department of Religious Studies at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, presented a paper on Baptism in the Seattle Document, and Father Francis A. Sullivan, SJ, offered reflections on the role of the faithful in the reception of the Marian dogmas.
The members of the consultation have been following closely developments within the Anglican Communion since the release of the Windsor Report in 2004. At this session Father George Tavard, AA, gave a paper on the understanding of communion in the ARCIC documents and the Windsor Report, and the Episcopal members updated the Roman Catholic members on the latest developments in view of the upcoming meetings of the General Convention in June and the Lambeth Conference in 2008. During another session, Dr Jon Nilson and Dr Ellen Wondra received input from the group concerning their draft paper on regional levels of authority in the two communions.
The members also finalized a brief document outlining a common understanding of the way in which they worship together at ARC-USA meetings. The text reaffirms the longstanding practice of celebrating Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer alternating the two traditions, taken from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer and the Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Hours. Eucharist is celebrated each day, also alternating between the Anglican and Roman Catholic rites. In view of the absence of Eucharistic sharing between the churches, those not receiving communion at a particular celebration are nevertheless encouraged to approach the presider for a blessing. Members of the other traditions will ordinarily be invited to serve as lectors and intercessors.
ARC-USA was established in 1965 and ordinarily meets twice each year. In addition to Gulick, the Episcopal members include Bishop Barry Howe of West Missouri, the Rev. Dr. Thomas Breidenthal, the Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers, the Rev. Dr. Robert W. Prichard, the Rev. Dr. Ellen Wondra, Dr. Marsha Dutton, the Rev. Canon J. Robert Wright, Bishop Christopher Epting (staff), the Rev. Dirk Reinken (staff), and the Rev. Richard D. Visconti (EDEIO representative).
The Roman Catholic members, in addition to Bishops Clark and Dunne, include Rev. Robert Imbelli, Prof. Jon Nilson, Prof. Joanne Pierce, the Rev. Francis A. Sullivan, SJ, the Rev. George Tavard, AA, the Rev. Msgr. Robert Trisco, the Rev. Ronald G. Roberson, CSP (staff), Benjamin Brown (staff), and the Rev. Vincent Heier (NADEO Representative).
A complete list of the agreed statements released by the consultation as well as links to earlier press releases can be found on the USCCB website at: http://www.usccb.org/seia/officialdialogues.shtml#5.