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History 

 

Although this joint body is over 40 years old, it was not until the seventh meeting, in November 1972, that the name ‘English Anglican - Roman Catholic Committee’ came to be used. The purpose of English ARC was defined then like this:

The positive fostering of Roman Catholic and Anglican relations in England, and the co-ordination of future work undertaken for this purpose by our two churches.

Already at this stage some topics familiar to us were mentioned: the possibilities of spiritual ecumenism, promoting joint church schools, encouraging local ecumenism, making the work of ARCIC known, fostering co-operation in theological education.

At its thirteenth meeting, English ARC asked its outgoing Anglican Co-Chairman, William Chadwick, the Bishop of Barking, to prepare a position paper on the tasks of English ARC. About a year later, Bishop Chadwick was invited back to present his findings. (We appear to have only the minute of his paper, not the paper itself.) The points that he made included the following:

* The origins of this body pre-date the historic meeting between Archbishop Michael Ramsey and Pope Paul VI in 1966, soon after Vatican II had opened the Roman Catholic Church to the ecumenical movement.

* The early development of what became English ARC was strongly regionalised and moved to the national level later.

* In the early days, the members did not realise how long-term the task of promoting Anglican-Roman Catholic rapprochement would be. A programme for theological study was proposed.

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