THE Archbishop of Canterbury called on the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) to establish a working group “to talk about the eucharist in the Church”, during a visit to Rome last week.
Dr Williams told a meeting at a conference convened to mark the 50th anniversary of the formation of the PCPCU that common work between denominations on the eucharist was “urgently” needed. “There are parts of my own Communion and other historic Communions . . . in which eucharistic theology seems to have slipped away from a prior position,” he said.
In an interview with Vatican Radio on Wednesday of last week, Dr Williams said: “I was suggesting that maybe the Council should get a working group together across a number of historic Churches and newer Churches to talk about the eucharist in the Church because there’s a great strand of Christian identity that doesn’t seem to see the eucharist as basic as many of us do. . .
“I think it’s perfectly proper to think of our goal as unity in diversity, but not a diversity as endless multiplication of institutions. I still think we have to pray for visible sacramental communion, the recognition of ministries, the ability to function intelligibly as one body across the globe.”
At the meeting of the PCPCU, Pope Benedict said there was “an urgent need to revive ecumenical interest and give a fresh incisiveness to dialogue”. He described how the RC and Orthodox Churches had “reached a crucial point of confrontation and reflection: the role of the Bishop of Rome in the communion of the Church”.
“The ecclesiological question is also at the heart of dialogue with Ancient Eastern Churches: despite many centuries of misunderstanding and remoteness, we have joyfully noted that we have preserved a precious shared heritage.”