by DAN STOLLENWERK
It was with great joy that the Anglican Roman Catholic Conference of Aotearoa NZ (ARCCANZ) welcomed back Archbishop Sir David Moxon to their semi-annual gathering at Vaughan Park on Auckland’s North Shore from March 13-14.
The Archbishop and Primate Emeritus of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia had recently returned from his duties as representative of Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, and director of the Anglican Centre in Rome.
Archbishop Moxon, who had served as co-chair of ARCCANZ for more than a decade, shared with the members his impressions of ecumenism at the highest
levels. “There is more that unites us than divides us,” he reiterated.
In recent years, Anglicans and Catholics have joined forces to combat modern slavery and human trafficking. Anglicans have related closely to the Rome-based Sant’Egidio community over a number of justice and peace issues, including discussion about peace-making in South Sudan, refugee missions in the Mediterranean and shared liturgies.
After two successful rounds of dialogue on doctrine, there is now the beginnings of the third Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC III). And, for the first time ever, the two communions celebrated Anglican Choral Evensong at the altar of the Chair of St Peter in St Peter’s Basilica.
Moreover, Archbishop Moxon added, they like each other. He couldn’t help but speak with enthusiasm of the warm relations between Archbishop Welby and Pope Francis, and even the heart-felt salutations Pope Francis reserved for himself on the occasion of their first meeting at the Vatican in June, 2013.
Yes, there are still divisions, he insisted. Yes, there are dogmatic issues. But ultimately our unity in prayer, action, and dialogue is overwhelming — and something to celebrate.
ARCCANZ will continue its nearly four-decade dialogue in October at the Mercy Spirituality Centre in Epsom with discussions on, among other things, Amoris Laetitia and joint Lenten prayer.