Tuesday, March 15, 2011

“What has led our churches to come to very different conclusions?”

From California-

Anglican and Catholic ecumenical leaders examined moral discernment and homosexuality at their current round of dialogue where they explore the positions of the Catholic and Episcopalian churches on theological issues.

The meeting of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Theological Consultation in the USA (ARC-USA) held the sixth meeting of its current dialogue in Berkeley, California, February 28-March 1. Bishop Ronald P. Herzog of the Catholic Diocese Alexandria, Louisiana, and Bishop John Bauerschmidt of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee chaired the meeting.

Dialogue members continued to study the theme of the current round, “Ecclesiology and Moral Discernment: Common Ground and Divergences,” and considered a preliminary draft of some sections of a statement on this theme that they expect to adopt. Members also heard a paper by Rev. Matthew S. C. Olver summarizing the discussions so far in this round and outlining areas of disagreement and convergence.

Members also examined statements by both churches on the question of homosexuality. These included “To Set Our Hope on Christ, A Response to the Invitation of Windsor Report 135,” a 2005 unofficial response by The Episcopal Church to a request from the Anglican Consultative Council and “Same-Sex Relationships in the Life of the Church,” an unofficial statement prepared in 2010 by the Theology Committee of the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church. Two Catholic statements also were studied, including “Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers,” by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Marriage and Family (1997) and the USCCB’s “Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care,” which was adopted by the full body of bishops in 2006.

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