Pope Benedict XVI’s State Visit to Britain in September raises questions about the relationship between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Churches today. This in turn poses other questions about how Anglicanism developed, where it fits in alongside the other Churches of Christendom, and how it is working alongside other Christians at home and overseas.
Two presentations on the website of the Anglican Centre in Rome look at these questions, as part of the Centre’s role in fostering friendly and informed relations between Anglicans and Roman Catholics.
“Anglicanism and the Western Christian Tradition: Continuity and Change” is an updated version of an exhibition held in the Vatican Museums at the invitation of the Roman Catholic Church in 2002. It provides an overview of Christianity in England from the earliest times and explores some of the stages in the search for unity between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church. The story is taken up in “Moving Together in Unity and Mission” which gives contemporary examples of where and how the two Churches are collaborating both locally and nationally.
The presentations can be seen on www.anglicancentreinrome.org/resources
The highly-acclaimed exhibition at the Vatican was instigated by the British Ambassador to the Holy See and planned in conjunction with Norwich Cathedral. It uses Norwich as a specific case study to help unfold a rich and intriguing history. “Despite more than four hundred years of separation since the Reformation”, says the text, “Anglicans remain part of the Western Christian tradition. Living apart has meant, however, that there has been change as well as continuity.”
The presentation of current developments towards closer inter-church relations is inspired by a statement from an international commission of Anglican and Roman Catholic Bishops, “Growing Together in Unity and Mission”, first published in 2007. The presentation looks at what has happened to heal the memories of the past, to work together in the present, and to build a less prejudiced society in the future.
The Bishop of Wakefield, The Rt Revd Stephen Platten, Chairman of the Anglican Centre in Rome, says:
“The Pope’s visit is a significant step on the road to Christian unity. The two presentations help us understand the English context: how long that road to unity is, and how positive Anglican-Roman Catholic collaboration is on the ground today. I welcome these new resources which form part of the Anglican Centre in Rome’s role of building friendly and informed relations between Anglicans and Catholics.”
The Anglican Centre in Rome was founded in 1966 to promote Christian unity, following a visit of Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey to Pope Paul VI. Its current Director is the Very Revd Canon David Richardson, Dean Emeritus of Melbourne.
The Anglican Centre in Rome
Director: The Very Revd Canon David Richardson
Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, Piazza del Collegio Romano 2, 00186 Rome, Italy
Tel +39 06 678 0302; Fax +39 06 678 0674
The Revd Bill Snelson: Development Officer UK
6 Abbey Crags Way, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, HG5 8EF, England
+44 1423 862660 +44 7917 663 250