A Defence of the Catholic Priesthood
by Michael Davies
1979 AND 1993

Appendix VIII
ARCIC-----The Vatican Response

The initials ARCIC stand for the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission. It was established as a result of a meeting in 1966 between Pope Paul VI and Dr. Michael Ramsey, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and its mandate was to examine the doctrines which separate Catholics and Anglicans and to see if, in at least some cases, a consensus could be reached which would facilitate the path to corporate reunion. The first two topics to be discussed were the Eucharist and the Ministry, and the resulting Agreed Statements are examined in Chapters V and VI. They were the only ARCIC documents examined in the first edition of this book. ARCIC published elucidations on the two agreements in 1979. It also published agreements on Authority in the Church in 1976 and 1981, and an elucidation of the first of these agreements in 1981. A chronological list of documents relating to ARCIC is included as an addendum to this appendix. This appendix will indicate the virtual identity between my criticisms of the agreements and the criticisms to be found in the 1991 Vatican Response.

Many Catholics regarded the entire ARCIC exercise with a profound scepticism which the 1991 Vatican Response proved to be more than amply justified. It is pointless to attempt to discover a consensus on the Eucharist and priesthood between Catholics and Anglicans in view of the fact that it would be hard to establish a consensus as to what Anglicans themselves believe concerning these Sacraments (they do not even believe that the priesthood is a Sacrament, and claim that Our Lord instituted only two, Baptism and the Eucharist). Some Anglo-Catholic ministers have a belief in the Real Presence equivalent to that of Catholics, even if they are reluctant to use the term transubstantiation. But the Evangelical clergy, and they are in the overwhelming majority, espouse the totally Protestant doctrine of Thomas Cranmer which has been described with complete accuracy as "the real absence", and, like Cranmer, they insist that the only sacrificial element in the Anglican Communion Service is one of praise and thanksgiving. Article XXXI of the Thirty-Nine Articles, to which all Anglican ministers must subscribe, teaches that:

Wherefore the sacrifices of Masses, in which it was commonly said that the Priests did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits.

ARCIC published its Agreed Statement on the Eucharist in 1971. This first agreement was entitled the Windsor Agreement after the location in which the Commission pursued its deliberations, a practice adopted with its subsequent documents. Catholics with a knowledge of Anglicanism were astonished to learn that the Catholic and Anglican members of the Commission claimed to have reached substantial agreement as to the nature of the Eucharist. Astonishment turned to indignation when the text of the Agreement was published. The most charitable description of its content was one of calculated ambiguity. Although the Catholic teaching was never specifically repudiated it was never specifically affirmed. One was reminded of Newman's comment on the manner in which the Arians drew up their creeds: "Was it not on the principle of using vague ambiguous language, which to the subscribers would seem to bear a Catholic sense, but which, when worked out in the long run, would prove to be heterodox?" 1 The Windsor Agreement evoked a furore, and its critics were able to prove without difficulty that it was, as Father Edward Holloway expressed it, "a betrayal of the Catholic Faith" (see Chap. V). The Catholic members of ARCIC responded to their critics by using the tried and tested method employed by Catholic liberals whenever they have been criticised for undermining the Faith since Vatican II-----they simply ignored their critics and carried on as if they did not exist.

The critics of ARCIC were, then, well prepared for its second Agreed Statement reached (appropriately enough) at Canterbury in 1973. Without the least sign of embarrassment the co-chairmen proclaimed that substantial agreement had now been reached on the priesthood, and purported to prove this with yet another series of calculated ambiguities. The response of loyal Catholics to what they saw correctly as a second betrayal of the Faith was even more indignant than that provoked by the Windsor Agreement (the basis for their indignation is set out in Chapter VI). The response of the Catholic members of ARCIC was once more to ignore the well-founded and well-documented case of their critics. It was manifest that their aim was no longer to see if there was a basis for agreement between Catholics and Anglicans on the Eucharist and the priesthood, but to reach such an agreement at any cost. The possibility of failure was one which they could not envisage. At Salisbury in 1979 ARCIC concocted what purported to be elucidations of the two Agreed Statements in the light of criticisms received, but the elucidations did no more than add insult to injury by the arrogant manner in which they not only insisted on the validity of the two Agreed Statements, but went even further by demanding the recognition of Anglican Orders despite the fact that the Catholic delegates knew very well that the encyclical Apostolicae Curae of Pope Leo XIII, which condemned them as invalid, is the final word on the subject and is completely irreversible.

ARCIC arrogance is well demonstrated in its elucidation of the Canterbury Agreement. It states that its agreements constitute the context in which the question of Anglican Orders must now be discussed:

This calls for a reappraisal of the verdict on Anglican Orders in Apostolicae Curae (1896). Mutual recognition presupposes acceptance of the apostolicity of each other's ministry. The Commission believes that its agreements have demonstrated a consensus in faith on eucharist and ministry which has brought closer the possibility of such acceptance. It hopes that its own convictions will be shared by members of both our communions; but mutual recognition can only be achieved by the decision of our authorities. It has been our mandate to offer to them the basis upon which they may make this decision.

Commenting upon the Elucidations in the 29 June 1979 issue of The Universe (Britain's largest circulation Catholic weekly), Father Edward Carey, an English theologian, wrote:

The labours of ARCIC have not brought Anglicans and Catholics nearer in doctrine. Rather, the specialized jargon, the ambiguities and even equivocations of the Agreed Statements have inhibited any real dialogue and provide no progress towards unity.

ARCIC had also produced the Agreement on Authority at Venice in 1976. An elucidation duly appeared in 1981, and a second Agreement on Authority was produced at Windsor in 1981. The level of convergence claimed for these agreements was much less than that alleged to have been achieved in the statements on the Eucharist and Ministry. This was because despite the scarcely credible concessions made by the Catholic delegates it was not possible to explain away the dogma of papal infallibility, or the infallible nature of the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption, which the Anglican delegates would not accept at any price. The integrity of the Anglican delegates in this respect does them credit, and they insisted upon the following reservation being included in the Second Agreement on Authority:

The dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption raise a special problem for those Anglicans who do not consider that the precise definitions given by these dogmas are sufficiently supported by Scripture. For many Anglicans the teaching authority of the Bishop of Rome independent of a council, is not recommended by the fact that through it these Marian doctrines were proclaimed as dogmas binding on all the faithful. Anglicans would also ask whether in any future union between our two Churches, they would be required to subscribe to such dogmatic statements.

The entire credibility of the Catholic Church is involved in the certainty that these two dogmas are infallibly true in virtue of their having been proclaimed ex cathedra by the Sovereign Pontiff. There could never be any question of reducing them to the status of optional beliefs in order to facilitate organic reunion with the Anglican Communion which, despite the fact that it is referred to constantly as such throughout the Agreed Statements, does not constitute a Church.

All the Agreed Statements, together with their Elucidations, were collected together in The Final Report in September 1981 and submitted for approval by the Holy See and the Anglican Synod. 2

Twofold Interpretations

Catholics owe a profound debt of gratitude to the Reverend Julian Charley, an Anglican theologian appointed to ARCIC. It is Dr. Charley more than any other individual who has done most to prove that the ARCIC Agreements can be interpreted in a manner that is totally incompatible with the teaching of the Church. He did this in the commentaries that he wrote upon the first two agreements. When the Windsor Agreement on the Eucharist was published Dr. Charley and Bishop Clark both wrote commentaries intended to show that the Agreement was compatible with the beliefs of their respective communions. Their approach was as follows. Bishop Clark claimed that as the Agreement nowhere states that the Mass is not a sacrifice it clearly affirms that it is:

Though, as has been noted by several critics, there is no categoric assertion that the Eucharist is a sacrifice (for reasons which will become clear) neither has this been excluded. In fact the whole thrust of the reasoning here is that the Eucharist makes present the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ here and now. 3

Dr. Charley claimed that the Agreement taught the opposite:

Much of what Küng has called "the valid demands of the reformers" has now been met by the Church of Rome in the New Eucharistic Prayers, though even in these there remain echoes of the pre-Reformation language of Eucharistic sacrifice. However, the present Statement avoids any suggestion of re-presenting Christ's death. What is made present is not the historical sacrifice of Christ itself, but the efficacy of it-----the making effective in the present of an event in the past. 4

Bishop Clark insists that the Agreement teaches that the Eucharist makes present Christ's sacrifice "here and now", and Dr. Charley insists that it "avoids any suggestion" of doing this, and that only the "efficacy of it" is made present in the Eucharist, a claim which could be reconciled with the Eucharistic teaching of such extreme Protestants as Bucer and Zwingli.

If this does not constitute proof of an ambiguous formulation it would be hard to know what does. Dr. Charley returned to the topic again in his commentary upon the Agreement on the Ministry: "The statement spoke explicitly of the sacrifice of Christ, but it never described the Eucharist as a sacrifice, even a 'substantial agreement' did not require that." 5 Another Anglican commentator, the Reverend Colin Buchanan, remarked that Thomas Cranmer could have signed this agreement, while his Catholic opponents could not, and that its statements about "the presence of Christ in the Sacrament go very much with his use of language, and the footnote explaining away transubstantiation without committing anyone to it would have made him chortle." 6

The critics of ARCIC were not in the least surprised when, in May 1982, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (SCDF) published its response to The Final Report to find that, despite a few platitudes acknowledging ecumenical progress, it showed that, where authentic Catholic teaching is concerned, the ARCIC documents were devoid of any credibility. 7 The ecumenical bureaucracy was outraged, and, astonishing as it may appear, it became clear that the members of ARCIC had genuinely expected the Congregation to ratify their ambiguities. Those living in ecumenical ivory towers are clearly out of touch with reality. In an attempt to camouflage the fact the the SCDF Response has sounded the death knell of The Final Report, ARCIC stressed the fact that these observations did not constitute "the Roman Catholic Church's official verdict on ARCIC's Report". 8 This must certainly constitute a classic case of a drowning man, or a drowning international commission, clutching a straw. In its critique the SCDF listed a series of doctrines on which ARCIC claimed to have reached agreement but without formulating them in a manner that safeguarded Catholic teaching. The SCDF critique corresponded exactly with that found in Chapters V and VI of this book. It noted that:

Certain formulations in the Report are not sufficiently explicit and hence can lend themselves to a twofold interpretation, in which both parties can find unchanged the expression of their own position. This possibility of contrasting and ultimately incompatible readings of formulations which are apparently satisfactory to both sides gives rise to a question about the real consensus of the two Communions, pastors and faithful alike. In effect, if a formulation which has received the agreement of experts can be diversely interpreted, how could it serve as a basis for reconciliation on the level of church life and practice?

The Response of the SCDF

The Congregation recommended that the dialogue should continue, having had little alternative in view of the internal politics of the Vatican at present. An ecumenical bureaucracy entrenched within what is now known as the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity is very powerful, and commentators have spoken with some reason of behind the scenes warfare between this Council and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In a ploy probably designed to undermine the Congregation's ARCIC critique, The Final Report was sent to all the hierarchies in the world for their evaluation before Rome made its official response. The rationale behind this ploy was the belief that if many or most hierarchies found The Final Report acceptable the Vatican would have to do so in the present era of collegiality. In the meantime the Anglican Response was also awaited, and it came as no surprise that this consisted of an enthusiastic endorsement of The Final Report. In almost every case, the Catholic hierarchies which sent a response to the Vatican also found the ARCIC documents acceptable, including, to their shame, the Bishops of England and Wales who, one might have hoped, would have known something of the history and nature of Anglicanism. The favourable response from so many National Episcopal Conferences certainly posed a dilemma for the Holy See. ARCIC had been established as a result of an initiative by Pope Paul VI. It had received warm encouragement from Pope John Paul II. It had involved much time, much effort, and much expense, and had given many Anglicans the impression that organic union was a distinct possibility-----and now the prestige of most national hierarchies was attached to a Vatican endorsement of ARCIC. Was it possible that almost all the bishops in the world could approve agreements that were, to quote Father Holloway once more, "a betrayal of the Catholic Faith"?

Anglican Endorsement

In contrast with the negative assessment of the SCDF the worldwide Anglican Communion gave The Final Report enthusiastic approval. All the various Anglican provinces gave the Report a clear "yes" in their individual responses. It was eventually endorsed overwhelmingly by the 1988 Lambeth Conference. One of the most lyrical speeches in praise of the report came from the then Bishop of Bath and Wells, Dr. George Carey, who assured the international gathering of Anglicans that the "Holy Spirit of God is leading us slowly but definitely towards agreement and reconciliation." Four years later, in 1992, he played the leading role in persuading the Conference to approve the ordination of priestesses which finally ruled out any possibility of organic reunion. 9

The Vatican Response

In what it probably envisaged as a damage control exercise, the Holy See arranged for its final response to be produced jointly by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and The Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The hand of the latter is evident in some ecumenical platitudes giving a warm welcome to The Final Report, expressing its gratitude to the members of ARCIC, and hailing its work as "a significant milestone not only in relations' between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church but in the ecumenical movement as a whole." The hand of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is seen in the detailed analysis of the Agreed Statements, an analysis which differs in few respects from the 1982 critique of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which had so effectively set the orthodox cat among the ecumenical pigeons. It should be noted, however, that the 1991 Response comes not with the authority of the two Congregations which prepared it, but with the full authority of the Holy See itself. 10 In what way, then, does the Vatican find The Final Report of ARCIC wanting? It notes that the Report makes no claim to have reached substantial agreement on the question of authority in the Church, particularly with respect to papal infallibility, that no real consensus was recorded on the Marian dogmas, and that it claims incorrectly that the "assent of the faithful" is necessary to validate any magisterial decision. The Vatican explained in detail why the Report's attribution to Peter among the twelve of "a position of special importance" does not express the fullness of Catholic teaching on the papacy.

Regarding the Eucharist, the Vatican notes the failure of the Report to accept that the Sacrifice of Calvary is made present in the Mass "with all its effects, thus affirming the propitiatory nature of the Eucharistic sacrifice, which can also be applied to the deceased. For Catholics 'the whole Church' must include the dead. The prayer for the dead is to be found in all the Canons of the Mass, and the propitiatory character of the Mass as the Sacrifice of Christ, that may be offered for the living and the dead, including a particular dead person, is part of the Catholic faith." The incompatibility of Catholic teaching, reaffirmed here in refreshingly uncompromising terms, with that of Article XXXI of the Thiry-Nine Articles certainly requires no comment.

Where the Real Presence is concerned, the Vatican Response warns correctly that while such affirmations as the statement that the Eucharist is "the Lord's real gift of himself to his Church" can certainly be interpreted in conformity with the Catholic faith, they are insufficient to remove all ambiguity regarding the mode of the Real Presence which is due to a substantial change in the elements:

The Catholic Church holds that Christ in the Eucharist makes Himself present sacramentally and substantially when under the species of bread and wine these earthly realities are changed into the reality of His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

On the question of the reservation of the Eucharist, the statement that there are those who "find any kind of adoration of Christ in the reserved Sacrament unacceptable", creates concern from the Roman Catholic point of view.

Where the priesthood is concerned, the Vatican Response tackles head-on the ambiguity made clear in the commentary and clarification of Dr. Charley, an ambiguity open to the possibility of a layman celebrating the Eucharist (see Chapter VI). It also refers directly to Anglican teaching that Our Lord instituted only two Sacraments, Baptism and the Eucharist, and that the five other Sacraments of the Catholic Church are only of ecclesiastical institution:

Similarly, in respect of the ordained ministry, The Final Report would be helped if the following were made clearer:

-----that only a validly ordained priest can be the minister who, in the person of Christ, brings into being the Sacrament of the Eucharist. He not only recites the narrative of the institution of the Last Supper, pronouncing the words of consecration and imploring the Father to send the Holy Spirit to effect through them the transformation of the gifts, but in doing so offers sacramentally the redemptive sacrifice of Christ.

-----that it was Christ Himself who instituted the Sacrament of Orders as the rite which confers the priesthood of the New Covenant . . . The ARCIC document does not refer to the character of priestly ordination which implies a configuration to the priesthood of Christ. The character of priestly ordination is central to the Catholic understanding of the distinction between the ministerial priesthood and the common priesthood of the Baptised. It is moreover important for the recognition of Holy Orders as a Sacrament instituted by Christ, and not therefore a simple ecclesiastical institution.

The Vatican Response also demonstrates that the ARCIC concepts of the Apostolic Succession and the Interpretation of Scripture are incompatible with those of the Church. The Response concludes with some platitudes paying tribute to "the important work done by ARCIC" and expressing the hope that it will contribute to "the continued dialogue between Anglicans and Catholics". Cardinal Cassidy, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, claimed that the Vatican Response is "a very positive document", and Father Edward Yarnold, S.J., a Catholic member of, and long-standing apologist for ARCIC, claims that the latest chapter in its history "does have a happy ending". The reverend gentlemen are both perfectly correct, but not in the sense that they intended. The Report is positive and the ending happy because the bubble of false ecumenism has been pricked finally and effectively. As was the case with liberal pressure for a change in Church teaching on contraception, in the final resort orthodoxy was upheld and is still upheld by the Vatican, even if its teaching is ignored by many Catholics. Just as they did in the case of contraception, the liberals gave the impression that Rome would not stand firm. But Rome can never fail to stand firm on any fundamental doctrine of faith or morals. No Catholic who loved or understood the Church ever imagined that the ARCIC ambiguities could ever be endorsed by Rome. Liberal disillusionment with the Vatican Response derives from the folly which impelled them to believe in their own illusions, and to encourage our Anglican brethren to believe in them too.

Disillusioned Liberals

Despite the attempts by ecumenical bureaucrats to put a brave face on what amounted to nothing less than a de facto rejection by the Vatican of the fruits of a quarter of a century of jet-setting ecumenical chit-chat in exotic locations, at the expense of the ordinary faithful, some leading liberals could not conceal their bitterness. "Unity Report Dismays Senior Bishop" read a front page headline in the 6 December 1991 issue of England's ultra-liberal Catholic Herald. The "senior bishop" in question was Bishop Alan Clark of East Anglia, and the first co-chairman of ARCIC. Bishop Clark stated that he was "naturally disappointed" by the Vatican Response, that Anglican members of the Commission "were depressed about it", that it would "make life difficult" for ARCIC in the future and that the Response "showed no interest in or understanding of the workings of the commission". One might respond that the Vatican had understood, or rather seen through, the workings of Bishop Clark's Commission only too well, which explains why it had been repudiated so emphatically. An editorial in the same issue of the Catholic Herald expressed liberal disillusionment with the Holy See very clearly:

The Vatican's reaction this week to the ARCIC Report has disappointed some and worried others, while those who said all along that ARCIC was nothing more than a talking-shop, and that Rome would never agree to its decisions are now basking in their superior knowledge. Catholics on the Commission feel their church has let down the Anglicans with whom they shared so much for so long, while some of the Anglicans wonder whether there is much point in going on with the discussions.

The Catholic Bishop of Brentwood, Thomas McMahon, wrote a letter to The Times, which was published on 7 February 1992, in which he took it upon himself to make what amounted to a public apology to Anglicans for the Vatican Response:

As Roman Catholics we need to examine our own conscience. For centuries, and even on occasions since Vatican n, we have implied, if not expressed, an "ecclesiological superiority" towards other churches, (sic) which must often have made them feel like second class citizens. Sadly, some may be inclined to see the recent Vatican Response to the first Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, wrongly or rightly, as a further sign of this.

If any Anglicans feel let down the fault does not lie with the Vatican, which had no alternative but to uphold authentic doctrine, but, as Father Holloway pointed out, with those Catholic members of the ARCIC who failed to explain to their Protestant brethren the essential Catholic teaching that they were accredited to present. As to basking in one's superior knowledge, I have certainly been unable to refrain from taking delectation in the extent to which I am able to say "I told you so", having written, in addition to this book, numerous articles, letters to cardinals and bishops, and letters to the press specifying precisely the defects in the ARCIC Statements now delineated by the Vatican. In 1980 I had the privilege of being granted a very long audience with Cardinal Seper, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. We spent several hours discussing ARCIC, among other topics, in his private apartment. I was able to present him with copies of Dr. Charley's commentaries which he had not seen, and to alert him to the manner in which sixteenth century Protestants who repudiated Catholic Eucharistic teaching sometimes used language which gave the contrary impression. The Cardinal was extremely interested and took copious notes of all that I had to say (he had read this book before our meeting). Cardinal Seper gave me a categorical assurance that there was not the least possibility of his Congregation ever endorsing ARCIC, and I take great satisfaction in the fact that this has proved to be the case.

What is most astonishing, most alarming, is the fact that although these deficiencies were obvious to a layman like myself, with no specialized theological knowledge, almost every Catholic hierarchy in the world pronounced in favour of the ARCIC Statements. The gravity of this fact cannot possibly be exaggerated. Can there have been such a virtually universal failure of the Teaching Church (Rome excepted) since the Arian heresy?

But for those of us who are opposed to false ecumenism, not least because it impedes the return to Catholic unity of countless potential converts, one other point made in the Vatican Response gives a happy and positive ending to the entire ARCIC debacle. The Response pointed out the new obstacle to unity raised by the ordination of women within the Anglican Communion. It is, in fact, not simply an obstacle but an insuperable barrier. There is no possibility whatsoever of any Anglican province which has taken this fateful step reversing it, and there is no possibility of any denomination which ordains women achieving organic unity with the Catholic Church. On 11 November 1992 the General Synod of the Church of England took the fateful step of giving final approval for legislation to allow the ordination of women thus ruling out irrevocably any possibility of organic reunion with the Catholic Church. It might be argued that as Anglican Orders are invalid, and even Dr. George Carey, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is no more than a married layman who wears an episcopal costume, the ordination of women is irrelevant from the Catholic standpoint. The men ordained in the Church of England are not priests and the Women who are eventually ordained will not be priests, and so the current situation will not be changed. The relevance from the Catholic standpoint is that if a genuine doctrinal agreement had ever been reached, which could have resulted in organic unity, the male clergy of the Church of England could have received Catholic ordination, even if married, but as women are not capable of receiving the Sacrament of Order not even the Pope could ordain one using the Catholic ordinal, and, as has just been explained, the idea of a denomination which has opted for the ordination of women reversing the decision is simply not realistic.

Dr. Carey himself, in an historic admission at Malines in Belgium, on 13 February 1992, accepted that any hopes of organic union between the Church of England and the Catholic Church have faded away. He cast the blame, in rather bitter terms, upon the Vatican, citing in particular its Response to The Final Report of ARCIC and its repudiation of the ordination of women to the priesthood. "Dreams and visions seem to have faded into a mist of disappointment and a mood of resigned realism," he lamented. "Hopes for organic unity seem to have faded." 11

It seems somewhat unfair of Dr. Carey to blame the Vatican when not only Pope John Paul II but Pope Paul VI have made it clear that there could be no organic union involving the acceptance of women priests with any denomination whatsoever, and that it is the Anglican decision to ordain women which has ruled out irrevocably any hope of organic reunion. There is no small irony in the fact that Dr. Carey accepted the virtual demise of the movement to achieve organic unity between Catholicism and Anglicanism at Malines in Belgium, where it had been given birth in 1921 by the celebrated Malines Conversations between Catholic and Anglican theologians.

Sincere Catholics who were naive enough to believe in the possibility of organic reunion between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion should now remove their blinkers and, motivated by love for the truth and love for their separated brethren, spare no effort in praying and working for their individual conversion. I have the good fortune to possess a collection of unpublished letters written by Cardinal Edward Manning, one of the greatest of all converts from Anglicanism. Had Cardinal Manning remained within the Church of England, he would almost certainly have become Archbishop of Canterbury. One of these letters, written in 1868, three years after his appointment as Archbishop of Westminster, replied to a question from an Anglican concerning the validity of Anglican Orders (this was eighteen years before Apostolicae Curae settled forever the fact of their invalidity).

The Cardinal answered that from the moment that he had been given the grace to accept Catholicism as the One True Faith, not only had the possibility of Anglican Orders appeared incredible to him, but he had come to regard Anglicanism as nothing more than another form of human error. This reply may appear uncharitable in these ecumenical times, but it is as true today as when the letter was written, and there can never be a conflict between charity and truth.


An ARCIC Time chart


The Malines Conversations. Catholic and Anglican theologians meet at Malines in Belgium, with the cognizance of the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury, in the hope of reaching agreements that could bring about reunion. The conversations achieved no tangible results but stimulated a movement for organic reunion which culminated in ARCIC.
24 March 1966
The Common Declaration of Pope Paul VI and the Archbishop of Canterbury agreeing to inaugurate a serious ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.
2 January 1968 The Malta Report. This report was issued after the third meeting of the ARCIC Joint Preparatory Commission and recommended that "adequate money, secretarial assistance, and research facilities should be given to the Commission".
21-28 Sept. 1970

Venice Meeting. Working papers on the Eucharist, Ministry, and Authority are prepared.
7 September 1971
The Windsor Statement on the Eucharist.
30 August-7 September 1972
Draft Texts on the Ministry prepared at Gazzada, Italy.
13 December 1973
The Canterbury Statement on the Ministry.
20 January 1977
The Venice Statement on Authority published (Authority I).
7 June 1979
The Salisbury Elucidations on the Eucharist and Ministry.
25 August -3 September 1981
The Windsor Elucidations on Authority I and Authority Statement II published.
 January 1982
The Final Report published.
May 1982
Observations of the SCDF on The Final Report.
August 1988 The Lambeth Conference gives an overwhelming endorsement to The Final Report. Dr. George Carey, the Bishop of Bath and Wells, claims that the "Holy Spirit of God is leading us slowly but definitely towards agreement and reconciliation."
December 1991
Official Response of the Vatican to The Final Report.
11 November 1992
The General Synod of the Church of England passed legislation to allow the ordination of women as priests, and thus ruled out any possibility of organic reunion between the Church of England and the Catholic Church.
14 February 1993
Dr. George Carey, now Archbishop of Canterbury, admits at Malines in Belgium that hopes of organic reunion have now faded, blaming the Vatican Response to The Final Report of ARCIC and its refusal to accept the possibility of female ordination.
30 April 1993
The Catholic Herald reports that Anglican clergy seeking to become Catholics and to be ordained to the priesthood, as a result of the 1992 General Synod decision to allow the ordination of women, would be required to accept unconditional ordination. Some Anglo-Catholic clergy, encouraged by a number of Catholic bishops, had formed the impression that they would be offered conditional ordination, which would have left open the possibility that their Anglican Orders were valid. The report also stated that: "There will be no global receptions for any groups or parishes which convert. Each member of the group will make a personal declaration." This decision represents an unequivocal affirmation by the Holy See that there can be no modification of the teaching of Apostolicae Curae despite the ARCIC claim, eventually endorsed by the hierarchy of England and Wales, that its teaching can no longer be considered as absolute.

1. J. H. Newman, Apologia Pro Vita Sua (London, 1864), p. 163
2. The Final Report (SPCK, Holy Trinity Church, Marylebone Road, London, NWI 4DU, 1982).
3. A. Clark, Agreement on the Eucharist (Roman Catholic Ecum. Comm., 44 Grays Inn Road, London, WCl, 1972), p. 13.
4. J. Charley, The Anglican-Roman Catholic Agreement on the Eucharist (Grove Books, Bramcote, Notts, 1971), p. 17.
5. J. Charley, Agreement on the Doctrine of the Ministry  (Grove Books, Bramcote, Notts, 1973), p. 23.
6. C. Buchanan, What Did Cranmer Think He Was Doing?  Grove Books, Bramcote, Notts, 1976), p. 7.
7. The full text was published in the 15 May 1982 issue of The Tablet.
8. E. Yarnold & H. Chadwick, An ARCIC Catechism  (C. T .S., London, 1983), p. 33.
9. The Tablet, 16 August 1988, p. 910.
10. The full text was published in the 7 December 1991 issue of The Tablet.
11. The Universe, 21 February 1992.

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