The Malines Conversations Group, an unofficial theological dialogue of Catholic and Anglican theologians, met in St Paul’s Bay, Malta, from 20 to 26 May 2023. This was the ninth meeting of the group, named in honour of the original Malines Conversations of the 1920s. These early informal conversations, held between a small group of British Anglicans and European Catholics, were made possible by the bonds of friendship between the members of the group. In that spirit, despite some disruption caused by Covid, the current Malines Conversations Group has been gathering annually, always in early spring, alternately in Anglican and Roman Catholic venues.
Following the document, Sorores in spe (2021), on Pope Leo XIII’s letter, Apostolicae curae, which rejected the sacramental validity of Anglican ordinations, the group has extended its work to the consideration of further key issues dividing Catholics and Anglicans. During the course of the meeting, members listened to and discussed several papers on issues related to Apostolicity and Ministry. With the help of local guests, they also engaged in a contextual reflection on migration and its reality in Malta today.
The group visited many sites connected with the period spent in Malta by the Apostle Paul, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. They prayed daily in a small chapel in St Paul’s Bay, near where the Apostle is said to have found refuge after being shipwrecked, and visited the present-day Cathedrals of both traditions in Valletta and Mdina, as well as St Paul’s Grotto in Rabat. The group was hosted by the Archbishop of Malta, Most Reverend Charles Scicluna, for dinner at his residence on 24 May.
As an unofficial dialogue, the Malines Conversations Group is not sponsored by the Dicastery, but the official responsible for relations with the Anglican Communion, the Reverend Father Martin Browne OSB, attended in the capacity of observer.