Ordination of Homosexual Bishop Delays Anglican-Catholic Dialogue

Joint Document on Hold, Says Pontifical Council

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 2, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The ordination of an openly homosexual bishop in the Anglican Communion has caused delays in ecumenical meetings with the Catholic Church and in the redaction of a joint document.



The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity made that announcement in a statement today, following a meeting held last week between Cardinal Walter Kasper, the council's president, and the Reverend Canon John Peterson, secretary-general of the Anglican Consultative Council.

That meeting addressed the future of Catholic-Anglican dialogue in the wake of the Nov. 2 consecration of Gene Robinson, 56, as Episcopal bishop coadjutor of New Hampshire. Divorced and the father of three, Robinson has been living with his male partner for 13 years.

The Holy See announced after the meeting that "it was decided that the next plenary session of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission and its work towards the publication and reception of a Common Statement of Faith" would be put on hold.

The statement adds, however: "The Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church remain committed to continuing their dialogue, and agree that the work of the sub-committees of the Commission would proceed."

The text reveals that Cardinal Kasper has accepted the request of Rowan Williams, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, to find "appropriate means" to "reflect jointly upon the ecclesiological issues raised by the recent developments within the Anglican Communion in the light of the relevant Agreed Statements" elaborated by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission.

It adds that an "ad hoc" subcommission of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) "will soon be established to undertake this task."

The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, which began its work in 1970, is the main instrument of theological dialogue between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church.

IARCCUM, established in 2001, is an episcopally led body aimed at fostering practical initiatives that would give expression to the degree of faith shared by Anglicans and Catholics.