Communiqué from the meeting of ARCIC III

Communiqué from the meeting of ARCIC III

in Bildungshaus St Ursula, Erfurt

Arcic II

The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) held the seventh meeting of its current phase (ARCIC III) in Erfurt, Germany, 14-20 May, 2017. The Commission  met  at  the St Ursula Educational and Catechetical Centre of the Diocese of Erfurt. The Centre is on a site which has been home to communities of consecrated life for over 800 years. A community of Ursuline sisters occupy part of the site and continue this tradition. The Commission is grateful to the director of the house Frau Carla Riechel, the guesthouse team, and the Ursuline sisters for making its stay so comfortable and for the context of prayer and spirituality in which it was able to conduct its work. The Commission also thanks Professor Myriam Wijlens for making so many of  the arrangements  for  its time in Erfurt.

The Erfurt meeting marks a considerable step forward. In response to the first part of its mandate, to examine “the Church as Communion, local and universa!” the Commission completed an agreed statement, the first of its current phase, entitled, Walking Together on the Way: Learning to be Church Local, Regional, Universa!. That the text was agreed owed much to an extensive process of redrafting over twelve months.

Walking Together on the Way employs the method of Receptive Ecumenism to examine the structures by which Catholics and Anglicans order and maintain communion at the local, regional and universal level. It examines common theological principles that Anglicans and Catholics share, and the differentiated structures, based on these principles, by which they make decisions. This method invites borh traditions to repentance and conversion, by looking at what is underdeveloped or wounded in themselves. It is also predicated on the belief that in our dialogue partner we meet a community in  which the Holy Spirit is alive and active. We can therefore ask flrstly, where our communities are in need of reform, and, secondly, what we can learn from the our dialogue partner to help us in  this growth. The Commission described this process as “receptive learning”.

The text prepares the way for the next ARCIC statement on the second part of its mandate, “how in communion the local and universa! Church comes to discern right ethical teaching.” The Commission rook time to review its work to date on rhis theme and proposed a schema to  be approved  at  the Informal Talks in October. Building on the ecdesiological text, the schema will guide the next phase of the work of ARCIC III.

The Commission had decided to meet in Erfurt to mark the 500rl, anniversary of  the  Reformation. Erfurt is a significant city in the life of Martin Luther. Ir was here chat he studied, decided to enter the Augustinian order, made his vows and was ordained. On Wednesday 17 May the Commission  visited the Augustinerkloster where we were guided by the minister, the Revd Or Irene  Mildenberger. Afrerwards the Commission was given a guided tour of the Roman Catholic Cathedra! of Se M ary’s by Dr Markus SchnauK On Thursday 18 May, the Commission was  privileged  to  meet  the  Catholic Bishop of Erfu rt , the Most Revd Ulrich Neymeyr, who spoke about the pastoral challenges faced by Christians in his diocese.

ARCIC III was particularly glad to complete its first agreed statement, and the first ARCIC statement since 2005, in this significant location and in this auspicious year. It hopes that Walking Together on the Way: Learning to be Church Local, Regional Universal will also be known as “The Erfurt Document”. The published text is expected to be available in 2018.

 

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