Anglicans, Catholics Prepare Joint Statement on the Virgin Mary

The first joint Anglican-Roman Catholic statement on the Virgin Mary is slated for release on May 16, 2005. The statement, entitled “Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ,” will be revealed in Seattle, Washington by an international delegation comprised of members from the Vatican and the Anglican Communion.

Like many previous joint-documents released by the two churches, the statement on the Virign Mary will be available for further study and evaluation by local parishes worldwide.

According to the Anglican Communion News Service, the document will not represent an authoritative declaration, but will, however, represent the “first major agreed statement" resulting from a "formal international dialogue between two Christian world communions” concerning this sensitive topic.

ACNS also said that the joint-statement “draws together the fruits of five years of work by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC)” – a group officially sponsored by the Anglican Consultative Council and the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The 77-million-member Anglican Communion is widely regarded as the midway between the Catholic and Protestant churches. While the Anglican Church openly emphasizes its full-communion status with the Roman Catholic Church, many of its doctrines continue to follow Protestant teachings.

The original document was completed in February 2004 by bishops, clergymen, religious figures, and laypersons from 10 different countries.

The statement’s release event will be hosted by Seattle Archbishop Alexander J Brunett and the co-chair of the Roman Catholic's ARCIC.

Others in attendance include: Archbishop Peter Carnley, Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, the Revd Don Bolen from the Vatican and the Revd Canon Gregory Cameron from the Anglican Communion.