The 81-page booklet, released in Seattle by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), said the churches now see eye-to-eye on divisions that helped spark the 16th-century Protestant Reformation.Read the small print:
However, the statement said the only two Catholic dogmas that carry the weight of papal infallibility - that Jesus' mother was born without "the stain of original sin," and was "assumed body and soul" into heaven at the end of her life - remain an obstacle for some Anglicans.
Traditionally, Anglicans have rejected the pope's power to proclaim any doctrine as infallible, and have been skittish about the Marian dogmas.
"Catholics were believed to have, as it were, invented a whole series of beliefs about Mary that didn't have a proper place in Christian faith," said the Rev. Gregory Cameron, deputy secretary general of the Anglican Communion, in an interview.
For their part, Catholics often accused Anglicans and other Protestants of overlooking Mary and grew defensive of their devotion to her. "What this document does is lay to rest both of those caricatures," Cameron said.
On the Immaculate Conception, the two sides said, "We can affirm together that Christ's redeeming work reached `back' in Mary to the depths of her being, and to her earliest beginnings."
And though "there is no direct testimony" in the Bible about how Mary died, the two sides affirmed the scriptural roots for the Assumption, that "God has taken the Blessed Virgin Mary in the fullness of her person into his glory."
Both sides have asked how sensitive issues like the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption would be applied to Anglicans if the two churches were ever able to totally reconcile.... In a footnote, it suggested that Anglicans might not have to follow the "explicit acceptance of the precise wording" of the two dogmas since they were not in communion with Rome when the dogmas were proclaimed.Thanks to Mark of Saluda for the link, and, on the same subject, this and this.
I remain skeptical of the virtue and economy of re-establishing one Christian church. Indeed, the differences between the gospels provide sufficient evidence that back to the time of the crucifixion there were several competing churches. How can it be otherwise given that we are human? The best we can do is challenge each other to interpret our faith honestly. There's something purifying about the competition of ideas. The church is better for it in members and in depth of faith.
Titusonenine is covering the Seattle accord in several posts like this and this.