The Holy See
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November 20-24, 2001 


The special international meeting of Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops held in Mississauga, Canada in May, 2000 (see Information Service N. 104, 2000/III) called for the establishment of a high level working group in order to foster ecumenical efforts between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church. The first meeting of this working group which will be known as the "International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission" took place November 20-24, 2001.

The meeting began at Lambeth Palace, London, after which the participants travelled to Rome to continue and complete the session there. In London they were greeted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey. In Rome they had an audience with Pope John Paul II.

Below one will find the letter of the Archbishop of Canterbury, dated November 21st, brought to the Pope when the bishops came to Rome, the address given by Pope John Paul II to the commission at the end of its meeting, as well as the press communiqué.  



21 November 2001 

Your Holiness

It gives me the greatest pleasure to send you this letter of greeting by the hands of members of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Working Group. Since the inauguration of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission in 1970, much work has been done by its members to enable our churches to listen to each other, to share experiences and understandings, and to come to agreements about our common faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. The Commission has prayed together, has studied issues that have divided our churches, and has offered statements that express our shared Christian inheritance. At the meeting that Cardinal Cassidy and I chaired in Mississauga last year, we too prayed and reflected together, and were made vividly aware of the communion that we share. It is my hope and prayer that this Working Group will be able to build on the foundations of the international Commission and of that meeting, and will enable our churches to put into practice the mutual commitment and common life that is already ours.

I welcomed the members of the Working Group at Lambeth Palace on Wednesday 21st November, and shared with them my vision and hopes for their work. I am glad that they will also be able to hear from Your Holiness your commission for the task that lies ahead. Remembering that my predecessor St Augustine journeyed to Canterbury with a mission from Pope Gregory, it is highly significant that this Working Group should receive its charge from both of us. As bishops, we have been entrusted with the mission to guide our churches and to bring good news to all the world. In these troubled times, I believe we must be bold in our witness to the truth of God's call and to the fullness of life in Christ.

I send my warm personal greetings to Your Holiness, with many happy memories of my visits to Rome. It is my earnest prayer that our churches may be one in faith and common witness, expressing that unity which is the vocation of the Church, that the world may believe. I trust that the Anglican Roman Catholic Working Group may be an instrument of strengthening our communion for mission. 

Yours in Christ