A group of representatives of The Society, led by the Bishops of Ebbsfleet, Fulham and Richborough, have held a seminar in Rome. Its purpose was to present and explain to an invited audience both the official provisions put in place to enable Anglican Catholics and Conservative Evangelicals to flourish within the Church of England following the ordination of women as bishops (notably in the House of Bishops’ Declaration) and The Society as the anglo-catholic structure which builds on those provisions. The group also included Dr Colin Podmore (Secretary of the Council of Bishops of The Society) and the Revd Ian McCormack.
The seminar was held at the Anglican Centre in Rome by kind permission of its Director, Archbishop David Moxon, who participated in the seminar with the Associate Director and the Director-designate, Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi. The British Ambassador to the Holy See was also present. The Roman Catholic participants included staff members of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and other dicasteries of the Holy See, together with a number of Roman Catholics prominent in Anglican – Roman Catholic relations.
In addition to presentations by the members of the group and responses by Roman Catholic participants, the seminar also included a presentation by the Revd Alexander McGregor, Deputy Legal Adviser to the General Synod, on the legislation and the House of Bishops’ Declaration.
The Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Rt Revd Jonathan Goodall, said, ‘The seminar has been a very positive experience, and warmly received. It has given us a valuable opportunity to set out for our friends and colleagues in Rome how The Society is responding, in an anomalous situation, to the challenges, on the one hand, of obedience to an ancient common ecclesiology we share with Roman Catholics, and on the other of confidence in those aspects of mutual recognition and witness we have with our fellow Anglicans. We are very grateful to the Anglican Centre for making it possible.’