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ARC-USA releases joint ecclesiology document

The Episcopal Church
Office of Public Affairs

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Anglican-Roman Catholic Theological Consultation in the U.S.A. (ARC-USA) has released a keynote document, Ecclesiology and Moral Discernment: Seeking a Unified Moral Witness.

Ecclesiology and Moral Discernment: Seeking a Unified Moral Witness was approved at the ARC-USA meeting February 24-25 at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, VA. The meeting was chaired by Bishop Bauerschmidt; the Roman Catholic co-chairman, Bishop Ronald Herzog of Alexandria, Louisiana, was unable to attend for health reasons. 

ARC-USA prepared the document with a preface signed by co-chair the Rt. Rev. John C. Bauerschmidt, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee, and the Most Rev. Denis Madden, Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore and Chairman of the Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"ARC-USA has produced some important statements in the past,” commented Bishop Bauerschmidt. “This statement represents the latest landmark in our journey together as churches, and is a valuable contribution to an important topic.’

As stated in the preface: “For almost fifty years, since 1965, the Episcopal Church and the Roman Catholic Church have been engaged in an official bilateral dialogue sponsored by the two churches, the Anglican- Roman Catholic Theological Consultation in the United States of America, sometimes known as ARC-USA. As a part of this dialogue, ARC-USA has produced a number of statements and reports on important theological subjects of concern to the two churches, often building on and responding to the work of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) established in 1967. Our own statement takes its place in this succession.”

The document is the result of five years of dialogue and research, following the 2008 request by Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops “to address questions of ethics and the Christian life in the context of ecclesiology, in an effort to achieve greater clarity regarding areas of agreement and disagreement.”

The statement reflects the way the two churches pursue the work of teaching and learning within the Christian moral life, as well as where each church derives its authority.  It poses the question of whether differences in moral theology create further division between the churches.  In addressing this topic, discussions centered on the teaching charism of each church and the pedagogy of moral formation.     

With a focus on immigration/migration and same-sex relations, the document’s contents include: Seeking the Good Together; Necessary Characteristics of Our Common Moral Tradition; A Difference in Ecclesiology; and Case Studies in Migration/Immigration and Same-Sex Relations.  The conclusion is called On the Way to Unified Moral Witness

The full document is available here

In addition to the two co-chairs,

  • Members from The Episcopal Church were: the Rev. Matthew S. C. Olver, graduate studies at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI; the Very Rev. Beverly F. Gibson, Ph.D., Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Mobile, AL; the Rev. Victor Lee Austin, Ph.D., Scholar in Residence at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, New York, NY; Mary Reath, governor of the Anglican Center in Rome and author of "Rome and Canterbury: The Elusive Search for Unity" (2007) of Hopewell, NJ; Timothy Sedgwick, Ph.D., Professor of Christian Ethics at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, VA; Christopher Wells, Ph.D., Director of the Living Church Foundation in Milwaukee, WI; the Rev. Margaret Rose, Deputy for Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations of The Episcopal Church; and the Rev. Canon Charles Robertson, Ph.D., Canon to the Presiding Bishop.
  • The Catholic members of this round of dialogue were Father Charles Caccavale, Ph.D., professor of moral theology at Saint Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, New York; Sister of the Holy Cross Marianne Farina, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Philosophy and Theology at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, California; Theresa Notare, Ph.D., Assistant Director of Natural Family Planning Program, Secretariat for Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC; Jesuit Father William O’Neill, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Social Ethics at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California; Jesuit Father Thomas P. Rausch, Ph.D., Professor of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California; and Paulist Father Ronald G. Roberson, Ph.D., Associate Director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC (staff). 

 

 

 

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