Malines Conversations Group

Following an article which Deborah Gyapong wrote for the BC Catholic, here is the full text of the communiqué released by the Malines Conversatiuons Group after their recent meetings of March 30 to April 3, 2014:

An international group of eight Anglican and eight Catholic theologians representing nine countries and four Anglican provinces, met from March 30 to April 3, 2014 in Canterbury. Called “The Malines Conversations Group,” participants continued their deliberations on various aspects of Anglican-Catholic liturgical and sacramental theology which they had begun last year at the Benedictine Monastery of Chevetogne in Belgium. Like the original Malines Conversations of the 1920s hosted by the then Archbishop of Malines-Bruxelles Cardinal Mercier, this is an informal dialogue and not officially sponsored by the Anglican and Catholic Churches, though it has been organized in consultation with and has received the blessing of both the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity and Lambeth Palace.

danneelsWilliamsThis year, the group was joined by its co-patrons, retired Archbishop of Malines-Bruxelles Cardinal Godfried Danneels, and former Archbishop of Canterbury The Rt Revd and Rt Hon The Lord Williams of Oystermouth, each of whom made presentations. Participants were received at Lambeth Palace by Archbishop Justin Welby together with the Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Vincent Nichols. In their joint presentation, the two Archbishops stressed the importance of this theological dialogue, working in collaboration with ARCIC III (the Anglican and Roman Catholic International Commission) and IARRCUM (the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission).

Welby - NicholsIndeed, Cardinal Nichols and Archbishop Welby spoke of the ways in which this group can serve as a theological resource – a “laboratory” — both for the work of ARCIC and IARRCUM. The Malines Conversations Group includes five members of ARCIC including one of its co-chairs, and two members of the IARRCUM coordinating committee including one of its co-chairs.

This year’s conversations explored contemporary Anglican-Roman Catholic relations notably through the lens of “Memory, Identity, and Difference,” beginning with a consideration of the theme of the original Malines Conversations, “United, not Absorbed.” Other topics included liturgy as dangerous memory; the ethics of liturgy; the spiritual renewal of our Churches; the changing face of Anglicanism and Roman Catholicism; memory, tradition, and the Church’s future.” At the House of Lords, participants were received by a Roman Catholic peer, Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield, who addressed the group on the subject of faith and culture in Great Britain.

At Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop of Canterbury stressed the importance of pilgrimage in our ecumenical relations – a poignant concept as members chose this year’s venue precisely to make an ecumenical pilgrimage to Canterbury to visit the tomb of St.Thomas a Becket, and to Westminster Abbey to reverence the tomb of St. Edward the Confessor. At both Canterbury Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, the Malines Conversations Group joined those communities for Evensong. The group was also hosted at dinner in the Jerusalem Chamber of Westminster Abbey by its Dean, The Very Reverend John Hall, and then on the following evening in Canterbury at the Deanery, hosted by the Dean, The Very Reverend Robert Willis.

Steering Committee:

The Group’s Steering Committee is chaired by The Revd. Dr. Thomas Pott, O.S.B. of the Monastery of Chevetogne, along with The Revd. Dr. James Hawkey of Westminster Abbey, and the Revd. Dr. Keith Pecklers, S.J. of the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. A third meeting is scheduled for March, 2015.

Anglican Participants:

• The Revd. Dr. Jennifer Cooper, College of the Resurrection, Mirfield, UK
• Bishop Jonathan Goodall, Ebbsfleet, UK
• The Revd. Dr. James Hawkey, Westminster Abbey, London, UK
• The Revd. Dr. Simon Jones, Chaplain of Merton College, Oxford, UK
• The Revd. Dr. Jeremy Morris, Dean of King’s College, Cambridge, UK
• Archbishop David Moxon, Co-Chair of ARCIC III, Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See and Director of the Anglican Centre, Rome, Italy
• The Revd. Dr. Michael Nai-Chiu Poon, member of ARCIC III, Singapore
• Canon David Richardson, Melbourne, Australia
• Canon Dr. Nicholas Sagovsky, member of ARCIC III, London, UK

Catholic Participants:

• Bishop Donald Bolen, Co-Chair of IARRCUM, Saskatoon, Canada
• The Revd. Anthony Currer, Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, Vatican City
• Dr. Joris Geldhof, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium
• Dr. Maryana Hnyp, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium
• Dr. Paul Murray, Centre for Catholic Studies at Durham University, Durham, UK
• The Revd. Dr. Keith Pecklers, S.J., Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, Italy
• The Revd. Dr. Thomas Pott, O.S.B., Monastery of Chevetogne; Ateneo Sant’Anselmo, Rome, Italy
• The Revd. Cyrille Vael, O.S.B., Monastery of Chevetogne.

(Text from Vatican Radio website)

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2 Responses to Malines Conversations Group

  1. Thomas Syseskey says:

    “Whatever its final effect, it must strike many as a venture in triviality coming at this particular time in history” – National Review (29 July 1961)

  2. Steve says:

    The problem I see with this sort of relationship is that on the Catholic side you have a group of theologians who essentially represent the Teaching Authority of the Catholic Church. Even if some of them may quibble a bit around the edges, they nevertheless hold essentially the same faith that the Catholic Church teaches to be true.

    And then on the Anglican side, you have theologians who, mostly, speak for themselves: though their beliefs may be held by many other Anglicans, there are even more who consider their beliefs to be irrelevant or just plain wrong. Appealing to the central Anglican authority (if there can be said to be one) for an answer to “what does the Anglican Church teach on the subject of X?” will receive the answer “there are a multiplicity of valid viewpoints”.

    I’m not saying that people shouldn’t talk. They should. People don’t talk enough, and that’s one of the root causes of many of the world’s problems. But I’m not sure whether there can ever be a meaningful outcome to discussions like these.

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