Letter Requesting Prayers for the Historic Anglican-Roman Catholic Meeting to be Held in Toronto

Friday, May 05 2000

Dear Brother Bishops:

As stated in a joint Anglican and Roman Catholic news release that the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) for its part issued April 17, 2000:

Roman Catholic and Anglican bishops from thirteen regions around the world are to gather in Canada May 14-20 to review and evaluate the accomplishment of thirty years of ecumenical dialogue between the two traditions and to reflect on how the special relationship between them has been developing in different parts of the world.

Canadian Roman Catholics have enjoyed a special relationship with Anglicans since the beginnings of our country, dating back to the first settlements in Newfoundland in the 16th century and then Britain’s Conquest of New France in 1760. Our two faith communities have intensely shared many enriching as well as painful experiences on the ecumenical journey: the commitment of a common baptism while not being in full communion; finding common means to proclaim the Good News in the face of sometimes daunting social and economic difficulties; our dedicated service to and at times unfortunate mistakes toward the aboriginal peoples; difficult linguistic and cultural questions that have in effect challenged our respective identities; and the ongoing, often painstaking, advances in mutual understanding that have come about both from the everyday experiences of our parishes and faithful living as neighbours over many years as well as new insights and appreciation gained through the Anglican / Roman Catholic International Commission and the Canadian Anglican / Roman Catholic Dialogue.

The present Bishop of Rome, the successor of Peter, has reminded us how urgent it is for our contemporary world to have a united Christian witness. “This is a crucial matter for our testimony to the Gospel .. . that demands of everyone an examination of conscience and the promotion of fitting ecumenical initiatives,” and above all dialogue and prayer (Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 34).

Echoing this appeal of Pope John Paul II for Christians to pray for the unity of the Church, since “the attainment of this goal cannot be the fruit of human efforts alone“, I invite my brother bishops and all the faithful in the Roman and Eastern Catholic Churches of Canada to ask the Holy Spirit to guide and assist this month’s gathering of Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops at the Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre in Mississauga, Ontario.

May the Spirit lead us in love beyond word and speech to truth and action (1 John 3:18; second reading in the Roman and Common lectionaries for the Fifth Sunday of Easter, May 21, 2000).

Fraternally in Our Lord,

+ Gerald Wiesner, OMI
Bishop of Prince George
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops