Roman Catholics and Episcopalians should jointly pursue such programs as evangelism and studies of sexual roles and church leaders should meet to study their pastoral duties and identities, the chairman of the U.S. Anglican Roman Catholic Consultation declared here.
They urged that interdenomination task forces be created to carry out such joint programs.
Episcopal Bishop Arthur Vogel of West Missouri and Bishop Raymond Lessard of the Savannah Catholic diocese made the assessment in interviews following a review of the ARCC's 12 years of dialogue. The consultation members had met for four days at the Mercy Center in Cincinnatti.
Bishop Vogel said that in "suggesting new areas of common experience," the consultation is hopeful that unity would grow from close cooperation on substantial enterprises.
If all 18 ARC members concur with the recommendations from the Cincinnati meeting, Episcopal-Catholic joint efforts will include:
Greater cooperation in easing world hunger.
A review of "covenant relationships" being entered into by "several hundred" groups of Catholics and Episcopalians around the country, to better understand their intent and content, practices, participation and programs.
"Spiritual ecumenism and joint prayer" because liturgical calendars generally coincide.
"Joint study by our bishops on the pastoral role of bishops" as well as their identity in practice."
Combined study of "male and female imagery in the Church and its theology, and the roles of male and female in the ministries of the Church."
Bishop Vogel said denominational commissions of the ARC could pursue these projects. But he said that he is hopeful that task forces would be formed once agreements on topics are achieved.
Both bishop-chairmen were cautious about describing their responses to the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission study on authority in the Church, which points the way to reunion under some kind of "universal primacy." Bishop Lessard said the ARC was raising "questions" American Catholics and Episcopalians had about the language of the ARCICI statement, drawn up in late 1976 in Venice, Italy.
Both bishops noted that the statement focuses on the bishops and the pope, and does not examine other sources of authority in the Church. They also saw a need to view the Venice document in the perspective of the earlier international commission statements on the eucharist and ministry.