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NSKK NEWSLETTER distributed by
The Nippon Sei Ko Kai
(Anglican Episcopal Church in Japan)
Joint Celebration of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai and the Roman Catholic Church in Japan
JAPAN 080701-1
July 1, 2008

[The Nippon Sei Ko Kai - Japan]  Joint Communiqué Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ Japanese Translation publication. A 40th Anniversary Service of International Dialogue between The Anglican Communion and Roman Catholic Church.

The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (Joint Committee Chair: NSKK: the Rt. Rev. Hiromich Kato, the Bishop of Tohoku Diocese; Roman Catholic The Most. Rev. Takeo Okada, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Tokyo) organized The Joint Service to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of ARCIC at SEKIGUCHI (St. Mary’s) Cathedral on Feb. 1st 2008. It was also to celebrate the translation Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ into Japanese as a consentual communiqué of ARCIC.

There was a full congregation from both churches. There were not enough pews for the people, even though the service was held at St. Mary’s Cathedral. The Service was magnificent, with beautiful hymns sang by the Tokyo Diocese Choir of the NSKK and the Caritas Sisters of Miyazaki.

The Most Rev. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, sent a special congratulatory address based on the resolution of Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations which was held in Cairo, Egypt at the end of last year.

Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ is the final agreement in dogma in the second period of the ARCIC. It is very clear to me, that amongst numerous dogmas, one of the most difficult themes in the agreement between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church has been the theory of Mary.

In the Agreement, the understanding concerning Mary, common to both churches, was concluded as follows:
(1) It would be impossible not to pay attention to Mary as a human, when we study the Bible faithfully.
(2) Both churches confirm that only Jesus Christ mediates God and human, and deny any interpretation about Mary which makes this understanding ambiguous. Understanding Mary should be inseparable from the theories of Christ and the Churches.
(3) Both churches acknowledge Theotokos, the particular Blessing and Vocation of Mary.
(4) Both churches find that Mary is the good model of Holiness, Obedience and Faith which all Christians and churches should follow.
(5) The Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church have kept the common tradition of praying and praising Mary since ancient days. Mary is a special mediator who connects all Christians and Christ. The tradition of praying through Mary and all the Saints should not separate us from mutual communion and fellowship in both our churches. As far as the basic agreement in the doctrine exists, the piety that has been developed in each church tradition should be allowed.

The difficult issue concerning the theory of Mary between the Anglican Church and the Roman Catholic Church is “The Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Mary”, which is the dogma in the Roman Catholic Church. Anglicans would not directly acknowledge that point.

Likewise in the Roman Catholic devotional, actions expressing adoration to Mary are quite common in daily lives, but these are not familiar to most of the people who belong to the Anglican Communion. However, the understanding on Mary will be an issue requiring further dialogue and mutual understanding between both churches.

With the Agreement, the dialogue between both churches will step forward to the third stage that has been already confirmed between The Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Benedict the 16th.

Article by: The Rev. Francis Renta Nishihara

Archbishop of Canterbury's Message

Joint Celebration of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai and the Roman Catholic Church in Japan
It gives me great pleasure to send you my greetings as you celebrate our longstanding commitment to Anglican Roman Catholic dialogue. The translation of Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ into Japanese represents a tangible sign of this commitment and a valuable contribution towards our growth together in unity and understanding. As together we recall the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, may we marvel, as did Mary, at the salvation to which Simeon bore witness with her child in his arms.
I pray that our forty years of international dialogue will enable the Nippon Sei Ko Kai and the Roman Catholic Church in Japan to give more eloquent expression to this salvation in their common life and witness, to the glory of God.

+Rowan Cantuar