SACRA CONGREGATIO PRO DOCTRINA FIDEI
Quam Praefectus Sacrae Congregationis pro Doctrina Fidei Em.mus P. D. Iosephus Cardinalis Ratzinger, ob editam relationem finalem a Commissione, cui vulgo nomen « Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission » (ARCIC), compraesidi eiusdem Commissionis, R. P. D. Alano C. Clark, episcopo Angliae Orientalis, die 27 Martii 1982 scripsit.
27 March 1982
My Lord Bishop,
After twelve years of work together, the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), composed of bishops and theologians appointed by both Communions, sent to their respective authorities a Final Report which sets forth the results obtained, through their theological research and continued prayer, on the important questions of Eucharistic doctrine, ministry and ordination, and authority in the Church.
At the request of the Holy Father, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has studied the ARCIC Final Report, and believes that it is an important ecumenical event which constitutes a significant step towards reconciliation between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church.
In the same spirit of sincerity that marks the work of ARCIC, and with the desire to contribute to that clarity so indispensable for genuine dialogue, the Congregation must also express its view that it is not yet possible to say that an agreement which is truly « substantial » has been reached on the totality of the questions studied by the Commission.
In effect, as the Report itself indicates, there are several points, held as dogmas by the Catholic Church, which are not able to be accepted as such, or are able to be accepted only in part, by our Anglican brethren. Furthermore, some formulations in the ARCIC Report can still give rise to divergent interpretations, while others do not seem able to be easily reconciled with Catholic doctrine. Finally, while recognizing that the mixed Commission was legitimately limited to essential questions which have been the focus of serious differences between our two Communions in the past, one should note that other questions must be examined as well, together and in the same spirit, in order to arrive at a definitive agreement capable of guaranteeing true reconciliation.
This is why, in the judgement of our Congregation, everything should be done to ensure that the dialogue so happily undertaken continue, that there be further study, especially of the points where the results obtained thus far require it, and that this study be extended to other questions indispensable for the restoration of the ecclesial unity willed by our Lord.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, therefore, will send detailed observations about the ARCIC Final Report to all of the Episcopal Conferences, as its contribution to the continuation of this dialogue.
United with you in prayer that the Holy Spirit may inspire and guide our common efforts so that « they all may be perfectly one » (Jn 17,21 and 23), I am
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Joseph Card. Ratzinger
* AAS 74 (1982), 1060-1061.