Anglican‒Roman Catholic International Commission plenary meeting in Rome

17 May 2022

The members of the Anglican‒Roman Catholic International Commission held a plenary meeting of the third phase of their dialogue from 7‒14 May 2022 in Rome to continue working on the second part of its mandate to examine how the Church local, regional and universal discerns right ethical teaching. Their sessions focused on correcting draft texts prepared remotely during the pandemic when in-person meetings were impossible. In particular, the Commission wrestled with the question of how to integrate two case studies into the document.

Pope Francis met the participants on Friday 13 May 2022. Commenting on ARCIC's most recent document, Walking Together on the Way, in his address Pope Francis emphasised that ecumenism is a journey. This journey "is about doing, not just speaking" and "involves getting to know one another personally ..., sharing our aspirations and moments of fatigue, and soiling our hands in shared service to our wounded brothers and sisters discarded on the waysides of our world". ARCIC has adopted the method of receptive ecumenism which, as Pope Francis noted, demands both "humility and truth" and "admitting and sharing the struggles we experience."

In calling to mind the current synodal process of the Catholic Church, the Holy Father invited the Anglican Communion to contribute in this journey as well, affirming that “[w]e look upon you as valued travelling companions.”

Pope Francis also expressed his desire to promote peace and reconciliation in South Sudan, where, together with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, he will undertake a “Pilgrimage of Peace” (July 5-7). He recalled that this shared path began with a spiritual retreat led by Archbishop Welby in the Vatican with the political and religious leaders of South Sudan.

Responding to Archbishop Longley (the Catholic co-chair of ARCIC) who cited Pope Francis's words in Evangelium gaudium that “unity prevails over conflict”, the Pope distinguished crisis, which opens us to new opportunities, from conflict, which closes us and traps us in divisions.

A communiqué was issued at the conclusion of the plenary.

The Commission will next meet in May 2023, hosted by the Anglican Communion.