WASHINGTON (April 28, 2000) – Roman Catholic and Anglican bishops from 13 regions around the world are to gather in Canada, May 14-20, to review and evaluate the accomplishment of 30 years of ecumenical dialogue between the two traditions and to reflect on how the special relationship between them has been developing in different parts of the world.
This high level meeting is happening at a time when Anglicans and Roman Catholics around the world are exploring the possibilities for further steps toward visible unity.
The meeting grows out of a visit by the Most Reverend and Right Honorable George L. Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury, to Pope John Paul II in December 1996, where, in a Common Declaration, they stated: "it may be opportune at this stage in our journey to consult further about how the relationship between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church is to progress."
The bishops will gather in private session at the Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre near Toronto, Ontario, under the joint chairmanship of Archbishop Carey and Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy, President of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Each day they will pray and reflect together and the meeting will be suppoorrted by the prayers of the faithful around the world.
The bishops attending will be from New Zealand, Canada, England, United States, Ireland, India, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Southern Africa, Uganda, Australia, Brazil and the West Indies, at the invitation of Cardinal Cassidy and Archbishop Carey. They will be joined by the two recently appointed co-chairmen for the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC): the Most Revered Frank T. Griswold, Primate of the Episcopal Church in the United States (June 1998), and the Most. Rev. Alexander Brunet, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Seattle (December 1999).
At 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17, the bishops will join together in public prayer at St. Michael's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Toronto, presided by Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic and Bishop Terence Finlay. The Archbishop of Canterbury will be the preacher. This service is open to all.
Other components of the meeting will be the sharing of experiences and reflection on the theological dialogue between Anglicans and Roman Catholics. ARCIC, the chief instrument of the official dialogue, was set up after the historic meeting in 1966 of the Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey and Pope Paul VI. The international theological work has also fostered significant ecumenical co-operation on the national and local levels of church life. The Commission has produced a series of significant agreed statements, the last being "The Gift of Authority, (available through www.anglicancommunion.org or www.vatican.va).
At the conclusion of the bishops' meeting, there will be a news conference at Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre in Mississauga on Friday, May 19, at 1:30 p.m.
For preliminary information please contact:
Sister Donna Geernaert at +1 613 241 9461 or
The Rev. Timothy Galligan at +39 06 698 84552 or
The Rev. Canon David Hamid at +44 20 7620 1110.