For immediate release.
In a recent letter to the Vatican
the Council of Church Society rejected the work of the Anglican Roman Catholic
International Commission (ARCIC) on the understanding of Mary in Christian
Anglican Evangelicals have had no confidence in the ARCIC process which constantly
seems to ignore or undermine the historic Anglican teaching which Church Society
seeks to uphold. This feeling was underlined by the fact that the co-chairman
of ARCIC was until fairly recently Frank Griswold the Presiding Bishop of the
Episcopal Church in the USA. Mr Griswold has been instrumental in the revisionist
campaigns which have torn apart the Anglican Communion.
The Roman Catholic teaching on Mary, which is defended by ARCIC, has no basis
in Scripture, nor in the teaching of the early Church. This is clear from the
report itself when their attempts to defend Roman teaching have to rely constantly
on reading meaning into Biblical texts and on what they call ‘symbolic
and ecclesial reading’. Such teaching about Mary is a late invention.
In writing to the Vatican Church Society is not seeking to open up old wounds
but to recognise that the cause of unity will never be served by deceit and
misrepresentation. True unity will only be found if churches are willing to
reform themselves and their teaching in the light of the plain teaching of
TEXT OF THE LETTER
Cardinal Walter Kasper
President of the Dicastery
Pontifical Council of Promoting Christian Unity
Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC II): Mary: Grace and
Hope in Christ (2005).
Church Society, the senior body representing reformed evangelical views in
the Church of England, exists to promote biblical truth within the Church of
England, the wider church and the United Kingdom.
The purpose of this letter is
to inform you that Church Society has studied the statement of ARCIC II entitled “Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ” (2005)
and rejects its conclusions relating to the status and role of Mary. The conclusions
which have been reached are contrary to Holy Scripture and to the extent those
conclusions claim to be based on ancient traditions, then such traditions are
likewise contrary to Holy Scripture. The conclusions are also entirely inconsistent
with the historic formularies of the Church of England (The Thirty-Nine Articles),
which state, inter alia, that Holy Scripture contains all things necessary
for salvation with the consequence that whatever is not read in or capable
of being proven from Scripture cannot be demanded from any person to be believed
as an article of faith. The conclusions of ARCIC II are incapable of being
proven from Scripture.
Accordingly, the conclusions of ARCIC II should not be misunderstood as reflecting
the true position of historic biblical Anglicanism which Church Society seeks
David Phillips (Revd)
General Secretary on behalf of the Council of Church Society