WASHINGTON (January 25, 2001) -- Archbishop Alexander J. Brunett of Seattle and Bishop Edwin F. Gulick, Jr.,
Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Kentucky, are two U.S. members of a new high-level working group set up by the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church to further relations between the two.
"Comprising prominent Church leaders from a variety of countries, assisted by specialists, the Anglican-Roman Catholic Working Group will have the task of reviewing the relationship between Catholics and Anglicans worldwide, consolidating the results of more than thirty years of ecumenical contact and dialogue, and charting a course for the future," according to a communique issued January 25 by the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Anglican Communion Office, London.
"There is a real need for this working group to look over what has been accomplished in our dialogues to suggest how we should proceed in our quest for full communion and, especially, to assist Catholics and Anglicans in receiving our agreements and integrating that material into our catechisis and religious education," Archbishop Brunett said.
Archbishop Brunett has served since 1999 as Catholic Co-chair of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC). Bishop Gulick has served on the Anglican-Roman Catholic Consultation in the United States (ARC-USA) since 1996 and became Anglican Co-chair of that dialogue last year.
The joint communique said the Working Group was set up as a direct result of an international meeting of Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops, held in Mississauga, near Toronto, in May 2000. Chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. George Carey, and Cardinal Edward Cassidy, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, participants spent a week in prayer, worship and discussion, while surveying relationships in different parts of the world.
The Mississauga meeting produced a short statement "Communion in Mission," in which the bishops spoke of their belief that Anglicans and Catholics share a degree of common faith "such that greater cooperation and mission is possible than is currently the case." They called for a new commission to be put in place to help bring this about, suggesting that the preparation of a joint affirmation of faith be put at the top of the agenda.
Both Archbishop Brunett and Bishop Gulick participated in the Mississauga meeting.
"What was very exciting for me at Mississauga was our discussion of the connection between ecumenism and the mission of the church, and it is that relationship which I would like the new working group to emphasize," Bishop Gulick said.
The Working Group is expected to hold it's first meeting later in the year, under the chairmanship of Bishop David Beetge, Anglican Bishop of the Highveld, South Africa, and Archbishop John Bathersby, Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane, Australia.
The other Anglican members will be: Archbishop Peter Carnley of Perth, Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia; Bishop Gulick; Archbishop Peter Kwong, Primate of Hong Kong; Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali of Rochester, England; and Dr. Mary Tanner from England. The Anglican Co-Secretary will be Canon David Hamid from the Anglican Communion Office, London.
The other Roman Catholic members will be: Archbishop Brunett; Bishop Anthony Farquhar from Down and Connor Diocese, Ireland; Bishop Crispian Hollis of Portsmouth, England; Bishop Lucius Ugorji, from Umuahia, Nigeria; Father Peter Cross from Melbourne, Australia; with Msgr. Timothy Galligan of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity as Catholic Co-Secretary.
Since 1970, the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church have been engaged in theological dialogue through a special commission, ARCIC--the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, which continues this work. ARC-USA has been meeting since 1965, and in September 2000 held its 50th meeting.
Further information may be obtained from:
Canon David Hamid
Anglican Communion Office, London
Tel. + 44 207620 1110
Msgr. Timothy Galligan
Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
Tel. + 39 06 6988 4552
Most Reverend Alexander J. Brunett
Archbishop of Seattle
Bishop Edwin F. Gulick, Jr.
Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Kentucky