Archbishop Anthony Mancini and Moderator Mardi Tindal
Photo: Art Babych
Two ecumenical partners greeted General Synod 2010 members on Wednesday.
The Archbishop of Halifax Anthony Mancini represented the Roman Catholic Bishops of Canada, and Moderator Mardi Tindal represented the United Church of Canada.
The Archbishop affirmed Archbishop Fred Hiltz’ observation that the Anglican and Catholic communities of faith have grown over the last 40 years as a result of their ecumenical dialogue.
Archbishop Mancini also took the opportunity to address an issue that caused a stir in Anglican-Catholic relations in the last year, the Vatican’s release of the Anglicanorum Ceotibus, the Apostolic Constitution. The constitution outlined a process for incorporating Anglicans who requested admission to Full Communion with the Catholic Church. The news came just as the primate was meeting with the Catholic bishops. “I don’t know who was more surprised – the Roman and Eastern Catholic Bishops of Canada or the Anglican Primate of Canada!” Archbishop Mancini recalled. “And yet, Archbishop Fred continued in his address to call for continued dialogue and collaboration between our Churches, and especially between Anglican and Catholic bishops.”
He said he was pleased to report that the Anglican Roman Catholic Bishops Dialogue met shortly afterwards to start clarifying the intent and consequences of the Apostolic Constitution. He assured General Synod members that “its intent was not to encourage a mass exodus of faithful from the Anglican Church to the Catholic Church, but rather it as a pastoral response to those already seeking admission.”
Archbishop Mancini also affirmed “the good work being done by the Canadian Anglican–Roman Catholic theological dialogue, which has continued its engagement without pause for 40 years, in addressing issues not only of national interest, but also contributing substantially to the work of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission.”
Following his remarks, General Synod passed a resolution recognizing that 2011 marks the 40th anniversary of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission and gives thanks for the progress it has made in strengthening the relationship between the two churches.
Later in the day, Mardi Tindal, moderator of the United Church, greeted synod members as church family. “When I call you sisters and brothers in Christ, I hope you know how much I mean that,” she said.
In the 1970s talks about merging the Anglican and United Churches in Canada broke down and there was a long silence. But in 2003, a new ecumenical dialogue began. Tindal said, “It is a delight to see the fruits of the Anglican-United Church dialogue, as evidenced in the St. Brigid Report: Drawing from the Same Well. What a lovely metaphor and concept for that report.” The new dialogue has helped the two churches to be more aware of each other’s work, to pray for one another and work with one another, Tindal said.
“Efforts such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission work, such as our upcoming religious leaders summit on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals in preparation for our statement to the leaders of the G8 and G20… these are among the things that I hope our congregations will continue to find ways in which to work together as well,” she said.
Following her address, General Synod passed a resolution welcoming the renewal of dialogue with the United Church of Canada and authorizing continued dialogue for three years, focusing on an examination of both church’s doctrinal identities. The resolution also congratulated the United Church of Canada on its 85th anniversary.
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