Spanish Anglicans, Catholics Reach Accord on Baptism

MADRID, Spain, FEB. 23, 2011 ( Anglicans and Catholics in Spain have made official a mutual recognition of the validity of baptism in both confessions.

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Bishop Adolfo González Montes of Almeria, president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference’s ecumenical relations department, and Episcopal Bishop Carlos López Lozano signed Tuesday a joint declaration on baptism.

The declaration follows the guidelines of Anglican-Catholic theological dialogue and recognizes “with gratitude our common faith in God our Father, in our Lord Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit, and our common baptism in the one Church of God.” The declaration is valid only in Spain.

The bishops noted how ecumenical dialogue has strengthened conviction about the importance of baptism in building the Church. The joint declaration expresses the desire that this conviction “enjoy an authoritative expression.”

The declaration does not address differences in belief regarding the sacramental nature of confirmation. “This difference does not affect the recognition of the sacramentalism of baptism and its valid administration,” the document states.

The signing took place at the headquarters of the Spanish Episcopal Conference in the presence of the Catholic bishop of Vic, Román Casanova Casanova, and a representative of the archbishop of Canterbury. A thanksgiving ceremony with a solemn “Te Deum” followed in the Anglican Cathedral of the Savior in Madrid.

This declaration, similar to those signed already by numerous episcopal conferences worldwide, concludes in Spain a long process of dialogue that began in the 80s.

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