24 April 2007
For immediate release
Statement from Church Society regarding the report Growing Together from the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM).
The recent report, Growing Together, is evidence that over thrity years of talks about Church reunion have been ineffective and misdirected. The process, known as ARCIC, failed because it had as its main goal institutional unity rather than unity in truth and faith.
Now a new approach is being tried, represented by IARCCUM, which focuses on joint activity and mission. However this cannot escape the fundamental divisions which still exist.
At the reformation, after centuries of conflict, the Church of England freed itself from the yoke and authority of the Roman Church and in particular the Pope. This facilitated the reformation of teaching and practice in the Church.
Growing Together shows that the fixation with the authority of the Bishop of Rome continues. This betrays the heart of the problem; that the errors of the Roman Catholic Church have been propped up by the false claims of the Papacy. Indeed, since the Reformation various Popes have deepened division by claiming that blatant errors were infallible truths. The papacy has thus been one of the chief causes of division in Christ’s Church.
In the light of this we are saddened that the Church of England, which asserts to be a reformed and protestant, has put so much effort into reunion with Rome. At the same time it has largely ignored, and put up barriers to, unity with Christians who hold the same core convictions about the supreme authority of the Bible and that faith in Christ is the only way of salvation.