THE third phase of dialogue between the Anglican Communion and
the Roman Catholic Church (ARCIC) will continue next year in Rome,
it was announced last week after a nine-day meeting in South
The third Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission
(ARCIC III) is halfway through a series of meetings which is
expected to continue for another four or five years.
A communiqué issued after the meeting in Durban described ARCIC
III as "the official body appointed by the two Communions to engage
in theological dialogue in order that they may come into full
The members of the Commission hope to meet Pope Francis when
they gather in Rome next April.
Speaking to Vatican Radio after the meeting, the director of the
Anglican Centre in Rome and co-chairman of ARCIC III, Archbishop
David Moxon, said that "although we don't have complete organic
union in sight, that is our long-term goal." He explained that the
commission would issue a series of papers in the coming years which
would explore the outcomes of ARCIC I and ARCIC II.
"We feel that we've made a great deal of progress," he said.
"We're about halfway through our work, and we feel that we've now
got a clear view of the outcomes and the results that we're looking
for. That includes a complete review of all the work of the
original Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission from 40
years ago, ARCIC I; and then, later, ARCIC II, on salvation in the
Church, the Church as communion, ministry, and a great many other
seminal and core matters."
The communiqué said that ARCIC III would produce an "agreed
statement" exploring "the Church as communion, local and universal,
and how in communion the local and universal Church come to discern
right ethical teaching".
Responding to criticism that the ARCIC process was moving too
slowly towards unity, Archbishop Moxon told Vatican Radio that
there was "80-per-cent agreement on core doctrine, which no one out
on the street would think has been accomplished.
"We have an agreement on the eucharist; we have an agreement on
baptism; we have an agreement on the priesthood, essentially; and
we have agreement on the Church as communion - these are things
that didn't exist 30 years ago. We can co-preside at each other's
weddings, we can share ecumenical Liturgies of the Word, Ash
Wednesday liturgies -impossible 40 years ago."