Malines Conversations Group Meeting in Madeira

19 May 2022

The Malines Conversations Group, an unofficial theological dialogue of Catholic and Anglican theologians, met in Madeira from 15-19 May 2022. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this was the first in-person meeting since 2019, though some members were unable to travel and joined online.

To mark the centenary of the beginning of the Malines Conversations in 2021 the group published a document entitled “Sorores in spe” which called for a reconsideration of the judgement of “Apostolicae curae” on Anglican Orders. That document was launched during an ecumenical seminar held at the Angelicum’s Institute for Ecumenical Studies in December 2021. In the meeting in Madeira the group heard papers concerning the ordination of women and considered the consequences of this development within the Anglican Communion for the recognition of orders. The group also examined the question of apostolicity.

The French Lazarist priest, Abbé Fernand Portal, and the English aristocrat, Charles Lindley Wood, Viscount Halifax, first met in Madeira in 1890. The friendship which the two men formed later grew into the Malines Conversations. The Malines Conversations Group was therefore able to visit the Anglican church of the Holy Trinity where Viscount Halifax must have worshipped and Reid’s Hotel where it is thought he stayed. The group joined the community at Holy Trinity for Sunday worship and a member of the group, Reverend Father Thomas Pott, OSB, preached.

As an unofficial dialogue the Conversations Group is not sponsored by the Pontifical Council, but the official responsible for relations with the Anglican Communion, the Reverend Anthony Currer, attended in the capacity of observer.

A communiqué was issued at the end of the meeting.