Anglican Still Hopeful for Ecumenical Ties With Catholics

Mary Tanner Addresses Conference in Rome

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ROME, DEC. 18, 2003 ( Fostering of good relations between Anglicans and Catholics is more necessary than ever, says an Anglican Communion figure.

«There is no collapse in relations between Anglicans and Catholics. What is more, we need one another more than ever,» said Mary Tanner at a conference of the Pro Unione Center of Rome last week. Tanner is an Anglican member of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission.

The English professor spoke at the annual conference in honor of Father Paul Watson and Mother Lausana White, founders of the Society of Atonement, the Franciscans who direct the Pro Unione Center of Rome, an institution dedicated to ecumenism.

«We are at a moment that is equally rich in dangers and opportunities,» Tanner said. «Anglican-Catholic relations must go forward exploring the ecclesiological implications posed by the present situation.»

She referred to the «problematic context» the Anglican Communion is going through because of the ordination of an open homosexual as an Episcopalian bishop in the United States. The speaker said it is important to know «who is in communion with whom.»

Tanner claimed that «perhaps, we Catholics and Anglicans have never been so close,» and she stressed the importance of the visit of Rowan Williams, the Anglican archbishop of Canterbury, to the Pope last Oct. 4.

«On that occasion the Pope expressed at the same time both a warning and warmth,» Tanner said. She emphasized that the Pontiff is concerned, even as he is aware of the progress made toward visible union.

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