ARCIC to launch statement on Blessed Virgin Mary

 An international delegation of Anglicans and Roman Catholics will convene in Seattle, USA, on 16 May, to release a joint statement of understanding on the place of Mary in the doctrine and life of the Church. The document, entitled Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ, represents the first major agreed statement by a formal international dialogue between two Christian world communions on this important aspect of Christian faith and devotion. The statement draws together the fruits of five years of work by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), a dialogue officially sponsored by the Anglican Consultative Council and by the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. As the work of ARCIC, the text is not an authoritative declaration by the Roman Catholic Church or the Anglican Communion. With its publication, the statement will be offered for study and evaluation by the churches. The document is referred to as the 'Seattle Statement' because members of ARCIC completed it in Seattle during their February 2004 meeting. The theologians who constitute the commission include bishops, clergy, religious and laypersons from 10 different countries. The May 16 event will be hosted by Seattle Archbishop Alexander J Brunett, Roman Catholic co-chair of ARCIC. Archbishop Brunett will be joined by his Anglican co-chair, Archbishop Peter Carnley, Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, for the statement release. The Revd Don Bolen (Vatican) and the Revd Canon Gregory Cameron (Anglican Communion), co-secretaries of ARCIC will also be present. The publication of the agreed statement will be announced in Seattle on 16 May. On 19 May the book will be launched at a gathering in Westminster Abbey hosted by the Revd Canon Nicholas Sagovsky, a member of ARCIC and Canon Theological of Westminster. The Roman Catholic Bishop of Nottingham, England, the Most Revd Malcolm MacMahon, a member of ARCIC and other church leaders.