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Third phase of Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue to commence in May

[Episcopal News Service] The third phase of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) will commence in May when its new members will meet for the first time at the Monastery of Bose in northern Italy.

The eighteen members, including four women and four lay people, appointed to the commission will grapple with questions regarding the church as communion, local and universal, and how the church comes to discern right ethical teaching.

The dialogue commences amid differences between the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches concerning the ordination of women and human sexuality issues.

In a recent controversial move, the Vatican developed provisions that enable former and disaffected Anglicans to enter full communion with the Roman Catholic Church while preserving elements of Anglican spirituality and liturgy.

Yet Pope Benedict XVI and Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, meeting at the Vatican in November 2009, reaffirmed their desire to strengthen ecumenical relations between Anglicans and Roman Catholics and expressed their support for ARCIC III.

ARCIC is an ecumenical dialogue between the two churches that has taken place in two phases since it was established in 1967.

The commission is sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and the Department for Unity Faith and Order of the Anglican Communion.

The co-chairs of ARCIC III are Archbishop Bernard Longley of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham, England, and Archbishop David Moxon of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia.

The other Anglican members are:

  • Paula Gooder - canon theologian of Birmingham Cathedral; visiting lecturer at King's College, London; associate lecturer at St. Mellitus College, London; honorary lecturer at the University of Birmingham; and senior research scholar at the Queen's Foundation, Birmingham, England;
  • The Rt. Rev. Christopher Hill - bishop of the Diocese of Guildford, England; and chair of the Council for Christian Unity of the Church of England;
  • The Rev. Mark McIntosh - Van Mildert canon professor of divinity in the department of theology and religion at the University of Durham in England;
  • The Rt. Rev. Nkosinathi Ndwandwe - bishop suffragan of Natal, Southern Area, in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa;
  • The Rt. Rev. Linda Nicholls - bishop for the episcopal area of Trent-Durham in the Diocese of Toronto, Anglican Church of Canada;
  • The Rev. Michael Poon - director and Asian Christianity coordinator of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in Asia at Trinity Theological College in Singapore, Province of South-East Asia;
  • The Rev. Canon Nicholas Sagovsky - retiring canon theologian at Westminster Abbey in the Church of England (served on ARCIC II);
  • The Rev. Peter Sedgwick - principal and warden of St. Michael's College in Llandaff in the Church in Wales, where he teaches theology and social ethics; and
  • The Rev. Charles Sherlock (a consultant to ARCIC III) - recently retired registrar of the Melbourne College of Divinity, Australia.

The other Roman Catholic members are:

  • The Rt. Rev. Arthur Kennedy - auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Boston, Massachusetts, and rector of St. John's seminary;
  • Professor Paul D. Murray - professor in the department of theology and religion at Durham University;
  • Professor Janet E. Smith - professor of moral theology at the Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan; and a consultant to the Pontifical Council for the Family;
  • The Rev. Vimal Tirimanna CSsR from Colombo, Sri Lanka - professor of systematic moral theology at the Alphonsianum University in Rome;
  • The Very Rev. Dom Henry Wansbrough OSB, from Ampleforth Abbey, England - a biblical scholar, and former general editor of the New Jerusalem Bible;
  • Sister Teresa Okure SHCJ - academic dean and professor of New Testament studies at the Catholic Institute of West Africa, based in Port Harcourt, Nigeria;
  • Fr. Adelbert Denaux - professor emeritus at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, where he taught biblical studies and ecumenism (served on ARCIC II).

ARCIC III is supported by three co-secretaries: Monsignor Mark Langham of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; the Rev. Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan, director of unity, faith and order for the Anglican Communion; and the Rev. Canon Jonathan Goodall, the archbishop of Canterbury's secretary for ecumenical affairs.

Further information about ARCIC is available here.

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