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US Catholic, Anglican leaders discuss same-sex union blessings, health care

Bishop Ronald P. Herzog and Bishop Thomas Breidenthal

Bishop Ronald P. Herzog and Bishop Thomas Breidenthal

The Anglican-Roman Catholic Theological Consultation in the USA (ARC-USA) discussed blessings for same-sex unions and health care decisions during their 67th meeting  from March 15-16, in Delray Beach, Florida. Catholic Bishop Ronald Herzog of Alexandria, Louisiana, and Episcopal Bishop Thomas Breidenthal of the Diocese of Southern Ohio, co-chaired the meeting.
At this meeting the members continued their study of the theme of the current round, 'Ecclesiology and Moral Discernment: Common Ground and Divergences.'  In addition to the presentation on blessing of same-gender unions by Bishop Breidenthal and a summary of Catholic moral principles regarding health care decisions by Professor Therese Lysaught of the Department of Theology at Marquette University, members also discussed a paper by Professor Timothy Sedgwick of Virginia Theological Seminary entitled: 'Moral Teaching and the Structure of Authority: (Anglican and Roman Catholic) Convergences and Divergence,' and a paper by Fr Charles Caccavale, Professor of Moral Theology at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, 'Ethics and Ecclesiology: A Conceptual Essay for ARC-USA.'
The group also considered current developments in Anglican-Catholic relations, including last November’s Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus. The document raised questions among members as to the ecumenical relationship between the churches and its implications for the internal life of the Catholic Church. On the Anglican side, there was a general consensus that in the United States groups apt to pursue this option would be those who have previously broken away from the Episcopal Church over women's ordination. Some individuals and congregations already have made use of the Pastoral Provision which, in the United States since 1980, has allowed former Episcopalians to be received into the Catholic Church and continue to observe elements of the Anglican liturgical tradition.
Bishop Breidenthal announced that, due to his responsibilities as Bishop, he would resign as Co-Chairman of the dialogue. The next meeting of the dialogue is slated for September 9 and 10.
In addition to the co-chair, Catholic members of the dialogue are Mgr David Bohr, Rector of St Peter's Cathedral in Scranton, Pennsylvania; Fr Caccavale; Dr Lysaught; Theresa Notare, PhD, of the United States Catholic Bishops Conference (USCCB) Secretariat for Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth; Jesuit Father Thomas P. Rausch, PhD, Department of Theological Studies of Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles; and Paulist Father Ronald G. Roberson, PhD, Associate Director of the USCCB Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs and staff to the dialogue.
Representatives of the Episcopal Church, in addition to Bishop Breidenthal, include the Rev Dr Ellen Wondra, Professor of Theology and Ethics at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary; the Rev Matthew SC Olver, Church of the Incarnation in Dallas, Texas; Mary Reath, governor of the Anglican Center in Rome and author of 'Rome and Canterbury: The Elusive Search for Unity' (2007); Dr Sedgwick; the Rev Canon. J Robert Wright, PhD Professor of Church History at the General Theological Seminary in New York, New York; and the Rev Thomas Ferguson, PhD, ecumenical officer ad interim of the Episcopal Church and staff to the dialogue.
A complete list of the agreed statements released by the consultation  can be found on the USCCB website at: www.usccb.org/seia/anglican.shtml

Source: USCCB