Anglicans and Roman Catholics

Just completed a nice visit with Bishop Stephen Platten from the Diocese of Wakefield in England. Stephen is chairman of the Board of Governors of the Anglican Centre in Rome. He was in the States to greet our new Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, and to meet with the American Friends of the Anglican Centre.

The Anglican Centre is 40 years old this year and is located on the second floor within Palazzo Doria Pamphilj in the heart of Rome. Its mission is to promote Christian unity by developing friendly and informed relations between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church.

It provides a permanent Anglican diplomatic presence in Rome and exercises a ministry of hospitality and prayer and creates affordable educational opportunities for clergy and laity so that all may be involved in working toward Christ’s prayer ‘that we all may be one.’

Their website is Check it out!  

15 Responses to “Anglicans and Roman Catholics”

  1. rwk Says:

    What is the Episcopal Church’s vision of oneness? I’ve been struck how in our current crisis is very much like a family crisis. We take much more harshly criticism from a family member than we do criticism from a member of another family. I bring this up in the context of Rome because in very many ways Rome is far more conservative than either Anglican Anglo-Catholics or Evangelicals. Yet, the Presiding Bishop would probably feel more at ease in Rome, where the rules are clear, than in CANA’s Anglican District of Virginia, where the rules are in flux. Could not relations between disaffected conservative Anglicans and TEC’s progressives be healed more quickly if we amicably separated, as was the original plan in Virginia?

    From my perspective both sides are so on edge that we are like a couple in a very conflicted marriage, where the slightest comment over dinner or what to watch on tv is nothing more than a fuse igniting the larger powder keg underneath the table. No quarter is being given, unfortunately.

  2. ecubishop Says:

    Well, the Episcopal Church’s “vision of oneness” ultimately is the full, visible unity of all Christians and churches. Penultimately we seek “a communion of communions,” based largely on the Lambeth Quadrilateral, in which Eucharistic hospitality is offered, ministers and ministries are interchangeable, and some kind of “coordinating council” helps us stay in touch and do joint planning for mission.

    We are a long ways from that with Roman Catholics. And, sadly, we are increasingly unable to claim that relationship within our own Anglican Communion! So…the prayer and the work of seeking reconciliation becomes all the more urgent — not “amicable separation” (which is hardly that for which our Lord prayed!

  3. Jamie Says:

    The Anglican Centre is a quite wonderful place in the heart of Rome. I was there on a choir tour with the church of Little St. Mary’s in Cambridge a few years back, and we were greeted by Bishop John Flack, the Director, and he told us the fascinating story of how the Centre came to have such an amazing building. Apparently it had something to do with an Italian princess, an English soldier, and love at first sight! The library is also quite good, and the whole place is definitely worth a visit.

  4. rwk Says:

    Why does oneness need to be “institutional”?

    I was more at one last Summer with fellow Christians from many different denominations when we were doing relief work in Mississippi than with many in the Episcopal Church. There’s more of a sense of oneness in my Bible study at work which is far more inter-racial and ecumenical than anything I’ve ever encountered in an Episcopal Church. In those two groups we are not arguing over divisive issues because were not in the “winner take all mode” that seems to pervade the Episcopal Church. If we separated amicably on an institutional level it would certainly be easier for us to serve together and reconcile on issues where we agree. What a stunning example to the rest of the culture an amicable separation would have been vice the flurry of lawsuits that now top the headlines.

  5. ecubishop Says:

    I would say that the oneness sought is not so much “institutional” as it is “organic.” The Church is the Body of Christ. One part cannot say to the other “I have no need of you.”

    Of course, that is precisely what some Episcopalians and Anglicans are saying to one another. And what fellow Christians sometimes say to one another.

    Which is why the search for unity must go on…

  6. rwk Says:

    While I agree the “search for unity must go on” the legal actions being taken by TEC, the discarding of a protocol painstakingly worked out among a the leadership in Virginia point to an institution more interested in winning the political battle than they are maintaining an ties whatsoever with those with whom they disagree.

  7. ecubishop Says:

    Institutional battles are not of much interest to me…on the right or on the left.

  8. rwk Says:

    That is why I look for unity in a belief in the redeeming work of a risen Christ. This is also probably why I feel at home with many different stripes of Christians but have felt so out of place in TEC and I grew up in TEC. My other brothers and sisters hold the fundamentals of the faith in common. I respect their traditions and don’t demand they accept all I understand scripture to teach. Our Bible studies and conversations offer different views but we start from a common core of belief. Unfortunately in our case, the prayer book, lectionary, Anglicanism and Canterbury — all things with merit — have proven to be weak substitutes for sound doctrine.

  9. ecubishop Says:


    I can certainly relate to much of what you say here. I too “feel at home with many different stripes of Christians” and sometimes also “feel out of place in TEC.” At least some expressions of TEC!

    I too respect other Christians “traditions and don’t demand they accept all I understand scripture to teach.”

    At the last Lambeth Conference, “our Bible studies and conversation offer(ed) different views but we start(ed) from a common core of belief.”

    However, I still believe that “the prayer book, lectionary, Anglicanism and Canterbury (to which I would add the creeds and the sacraments) do indeed contain “sound doctrine.”

    The question is, can we together claim that “common core of belief”, accept that we have differering views on some things, and continue the conversation together seeking the mind of Christ for the sake of mission?

  10. rwk Says:

    Well, I thing we’ve pretty much summed it up. I concur that the Prayer Book et. al. contain sound doctrine. I question how much of the church actually accepts the doctrine and relies just on the fact that we “speak the same words” for unity. If there were easy answers we wouldn’t be where we are now. I think we’ve finally put this thread to bed. God Bless.

  11. rwk Says:

    Well, I think we’ve pretty much summed it up. I concur that the Prayer Book et. al. contain sound doctrine. When I was older I was surprised just how much was there. However, I question how much of the church actually accepts the doctrine and relies just on the fact that we “speak the same words” for unity. If there were easy answers we wouldn’t be where we are now. I think we’ve finally put this thread to bed. God Bless.

  12. ecubishop Says:

    And blessings upon you. Thanks for the conversation…

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