Anglicans, Catholics Revisit Joint Mary Document

Catholics and Anglicans are revisiting their joint reflection on understanding the role of Mary, mother of Jesus, in shaping the life and doctrine of the church.

The two church traditions, similar in form but theologically disparate, began studying the sometime contentious issue of the Virgin Mary in 1999. After five years of debate and discussion, the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission essentially concluded that the Catholic beliefs of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of Mary into heaven are acceptable in the Anglican tradition. Both beliefs are widely rejected in Protestantism.

These results were printed in an 81-page document called “Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ,” which was officially published in May 2005. The document is not considered a creed for either church, as both traditions continue to study its implications.

At a meeting held Oct. 13-16 at St. Paul’s College in Washington, D.C., the two traditions resumed discussion on the document’s study of scripture and tradition. Participants also discussed tradition and the developments after the division of the two church traditions.

The Vatican has yet to officially respond to the Mary document, and according to the Episcopal News Service, Anglicans and Roman Catholics will continue their reflections through the holiday season.

“As Christmas approaches and Christ's Nativity story is retold, U.S. Anglicans and Roman Catholics continue their reflection on ‘Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ,’” an ENS statement read.