Canada Meeting Gives New Hope for Unity Between Anglicans and Catholics

Churches come closer together, but not close enough to share Eucharist.

Twenty-six Anglican and Roman Catholic leaders from 13 countries, meeting for five days (May 15 to 19) near Toronto, Canada, in an effort to continue healing their 466-year-old rift, have decided to set up a commission to explore ways to reunite the two churches. The meeting also gave rise to hope that the Vatican may one day recognize Anglican ordinations.The meetings, at the Queen of the Apostles Renewal Center in Mississauga, were co-chaired by George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury, and by Australian Cardinal Edward Cassidy, head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.Meetings between the two communions are not new—the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, with nine members on each side, began its meetings in 1970. But Comments at the end of the Mississauga meeting suggest a breakthrough may be imminent.At a press conference on May 19, spokesmen for the Anglicans and the Roman Catholics would not comment on when or how they might become one communion. "It's something in God's hands," said Cardinal Cassidy. Asked the same question, Archbishop Carey responded: "How long is a piece of string?"The bishops had worshiped together, shared meals and slept under the same roof, but were not able to share the Eucharist, mainly because of objections from Rome. (In 1896 Pope Leo XIII ruled that the ministry of Anglican priests and bishops was "totally null and utterly void.")Cardinal Cassidy commented: "It's true that at the morning liturgy we were not able to fully share, in the sense we were not able to receive the Eucharist from each other. But the whole ceremony was almost identical … we have the same actions, the same words, same spirit, same tradition."Cardinal Cassidy suggested that the ...

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