The Anglican/Roman Catholic Canadian Dialogue Will Soon Celebrate Its 30th Anniversary

Wednesday, December 15 2004

As the world marks the 40th anniversary of the adoption of the Decree on Ecumenism by the Second Vatican Council, a group of Canadian Anglican, Roman Catholic and Eastern Catholic bishops met in Ottawa for a dialogue which has been held annually since 1975.

The meeting was chaired by the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, and by Most Rev. François Lapierre, P.M.É., Bishop of Saint-Hyacinthe.

The bishops discussed the recently released Windsor Report of the Anglican Communion’s Lambeth Commission on Communion as well as a document prepared for that Commission by a subgroup of the International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission. Issues of communion, authority, decision-making and homosexuality were addressed in a spirit of respect and honesty.

Recent developments between the Churches and the federal government relating to refugees and sanctuary were also discussed, with the bishops welcoming the openness of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to discuss these matters creatively with the Churches.

Bishop John Baycroft, retired Anglican bishop of Ottawa, gave a report on the work of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC). Bishops are eagerly awaiting the release of an agreed statement on Mary and a common declaration of agreements reached between the two communions.

The dialogue gave its approval to a brochure prepared for Anglican and Catholic couples preparing for marriage. Intended to draw attention to the existing Pastoral Guidelines issued by the dialogue in 1987, the brochure points couples toward resources to assist them in their preparation and in their life together. The plans are for the brochure to be distributed to dioceses and congregations of the two Churches early in the new year.

In the course of the meeting, the bishops prayed together, attended each other’s Eucharistic liturgy, and shared their experience of leadership in the local church.

Participants this year included the following Roman Catholic bishops: Most Rev. François Lapierre, P.M.É. (Saint-Hyacinthe), Most Rev. Vernon Fougere (Charlottetown), Most Rev. Marcel Gervais (Ottawa), Most Rev. Émilius Goulet, P.S.S. (St. Boniface); Eastern Catholic Bishop Most Rev. Lawrence Huculak (Edmonton); and Anglican bishops Rt. Rev. Andrew Hutchison (Primate), Rt. Rev. Eric Bays (Qu’Appelle), Rt. Rev. George Bruce (Ontario), Most Rev. Caleb Lawrence (Moosonee) and Most Rev. Bruce Stavert (Quebec).

For more information, please contact the national Ecumenical Officers of the two Churches: