NOV 17, 2014
Anglican-Catholic Dialogues Discuss Marriage, Physician-assisted Suicide
Representatives of Canada’s Anglican and Catholic churches recently met for five days of diverse discussions characterized by candour and charity. The joint and separate meetings of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada and the Anglican-Roman Catholic Bishops’ Dialogue of Canada took place November 8-12, 2014 at the Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre in Mississauga, Ontario.
The discussions included the Anglican Church of Canada’s current discernment about expanding its canonical definition of marriage to include same-gender couples. In a spirit of broad consultation, the Anglican Church has invited the input of its ecumenical partners on this question, and the members of both dialogues engaged in a frank and friendly theological exchange. The Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue will continue these discussions on marriage, as well as related ecclesiological questions, and produce a statement for the Anglican Church of Canada’s consideration.
The members of the dialogues also welcomed as a guest Monsignor Jeffrey Steenson, the head of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter. The Ordinariate was created by the Roman Catholic Church in 2009 as a means by which Anglicans or former Anglicans who wished to come into full communion with the Bishop of Rome could do so corporately, while still maintaining certain aspects of Anglican patrimony.
Monsignor Steenson outlined the Ordinariate’s development in North America and engaged in a candid and respectful dialogue about how different paths for Anglicans and Roman Catholics to fuller, visible unity may coexist.
In a related discussion, the members of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Bishops’ Dialogue of Canada reviewed their pastoral guidelines on clergy moving from one communion to the other. They also explored what the two churches might be able to say in common about physician-assisted suicide, an issue that has resurfaced on the national agenda.