An international group of eight Anglican and seven Catholic theologians representing eight countries and four Anglican provinces, met from March 22nd to March 26th at Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA. Called “The Malines Conversations Group,” participants continued their wide-ranging deliberations on various aspects of Anglican-Catholic sacramental, liturgical and practical theology, which they had begun two years ago at the Benedictine Monastery of Chevetogne in Belgium. Like the original Malines Conversations of the 1920s hosted by the then Archbishop of Malines-Bruxelles Cardinal Mercier (pictured), this is an informal dialogue and not officially sponsored by the Anglican and Catholic Churches, though it has been organized in consultation with and has received the blessing of both the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity and Lambeth Palace.
Last year, the group met in Canterbury and London, and was joined by its co-patrons, retired Archbishop of Malines-Bruxelles Cardinal Godfried Danneels, and former Archbishop of Canterbury The Rt. Revd. and Rt. Hon. The Lord Williams of Oystermouth, each of whom gave presentations. This year, US-based bishops and scholars including Archbishop Joseph Tobin, C. Ss. R., of Indianapolis, Bishop Catherine Waynick of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis, distinguished Orientalist Fr. Robert Taft SJ FBA, Fr. John Baldovin SJ of the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, and Professor Karen Westerfield Tucker of Boston University.
The Group was hosted by Fr. William Leahy SJ, President of Boston College, and graciously received by the Cowley Fathers at The Monastery of St. John the Evangelist in Cambridge, and the Episcopal Church of the Advent on Beacon Hill. The Malines Conversations Group includes five members of ARCIC including one of its co-chairs, and two members of the IARRCUM coordinating committee including one of its co-chairs.
This year’s full conversations explored contemporary Anglican-Roman Catholic relations through the broad lens of Sacramentality, considering the world, the Word, the Eucharist, the Church and ministry. Other topics included joint presentations on the sacramentality of scripture, and discussions relating to apostolicity, history and authority.
At the recommendation of those responsible for coordinating ecumenical relations in the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, the Malines Conversations Group remains in close communication and collaboration with both the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) and the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM). The number of participants is intentionally limited, to allow for the detailed conversation, and for the growth of friendship which characterized the first Malines Conversation.
The Group’s Steering Committee is chaired by The Revd. Dr. Thomas Pott, OSB of the Monastery of Chevetogne, along with The Revd. Dr. James Hawkey of Westminster Abbey, and the Revd. Dr. Keith Pecklers, SJ of the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome.
A fourth meeting is scheduled for April, 2016.
Members present in 2015
The Revd. Dr. Jennifer Cooper, College of the Resurrection, Mirfield, UK
The Revd. Dr. James Hawkey, Westminster Abbey, London, UK
The Revd. Dr. Simon Jones, Chaplain of Merton College, Oxford, UK
Archbishop David Moxon, co-Chair of ARCIC III, Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See and Director of the Anglican Centre, Rome, Italy, Archbishop Emeritus of New Zealand
The Revd. Dr. Michael Nai-Chiu Poon, member of ARCIC III, Singapore
Canon David Richardson OBE, Melbourne, Australia
Canon Dr. Nicholas Sagovsky, member of ARCIC III, London, UK
The Reverend Austin K. Rios, Rector of St Paul’s within the Walls, Rome, Italy
Bishop Donald Bolen, Co-Chair of IARRCUM, Saskatoon, Canada
The Revd. Anthony Currer, Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, Vatican City, co-Secretary of ARCIC III
Professor Joris Geldhof, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium
Dr. Maryana Hnyp, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium
The Revd. Professor Keith Pecklers, SJ, Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, Italy
The Revd. Professor Thomas Pott, OSB, Monastery of Chevetogne; Ateneo Sant’Anselmo, Rome, and Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, Italy
The Revd. Cyrille Vael, OSB, Monastery of Chevetogne