The Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) released on Monday their latest statement, a document that is the fruit of six years of discussions on the figure of Mary, entitled "Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ." The text was written by a mixed group of 18 Roman Catholic and Anglican theologians.
The statement was released in a celebration at the Catholic cathedral in Seattle, and attended by the ARCIC co-chairs, Roman Catholic Archbishop Alexander Brunett of Seattle and Anglican Archbishop Peter Carnley, primate of Australia.
Also called 'The Seattle Statement,' the text is not an authoritative declaration by either the Catholic or the Anglican Church, but is intended for wider discussion by both.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, commented that the statement "is a major achievement in the ongoing dialogue between Catholics and Anglicans worldwide."
It is a "considerable achievement in increasing the depth of understanding of each Church's position," he added.
Catholic Malcolm McMahon of Nottingham, also said that the section on the devotion to Mary in the Anglican tradition will help to show both Catholics and some Anglicans the importance of the Marian Anglican tradition.
"Anglican-Catholic understanding has been greatly strengthened by this dialogue," Bishop McMahon said. "What we have done is put down a paving stone on the road to Christian unity."
The theologians, coming from 10 different countries, were appointed by the Vatican's Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Anglican Communion.
The commission, begun in 1970, has also written statements on the Eucharist, ministry authority in the Church, salvation and justification and the nature of the Church.