By Elena Dini
ROME — A recent statement published by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission “dares still to voice the two goals of Jesus’ command” that “all may be one” (Jn 17:21), said Anglican minister Reverend Ruth Frampton.
These two goals, she said citing the statement, are “the restoration of complete communion in faith and sacramental life and visible unity and full ecclesial communion.”
Rev. Framption currently serves as the assistant curate at the Anglican Holy Trinity Church in Salcombe, UK. She shared with The Lay Centre her reflection on “Walking Together on the Way: Learning to be the Church,” issued by ARCIC III this spring.
The statement “does not skate over or minimise the distance we need to travel as pilgrim companions,” she said. “Indeed, as a woman priest, I personify one of the perceived ‘serious obstacles’ to full communion.
“There are issues that need to be addressed, within as well as between the Anglican and the Roman Catholic churches, which will require ‘frank assessment, repentance, and the courage to look at ourselves honestly and learn from the other,’” she continued.
Citing the statement, Rev. Frampton spoke of “purposeful discussion” as “a powerful tool of engagement” in ecumenical dialogue and of receptive ecumenism as “a transformative process by which we recognise ‘the presence of the Spirit in other Christians, their churches, and their communities.’”
“The Spirit gifts us all differently; receptive ecumenism enables us to discern those gifts and learn from them,” she explained. “In learning to understand how differently our churches function we can attempt to envision a koinonia that will better serve the people of God.
“At its heart is the Eucharist. In the Eucharist we break the bread, the body of Christ, at the altar,” she continued. “But the members of the body are not fully gathered together to receive it in communion. Our disunity, our brokenness, is a continual source of pain.”
Rev. Frampton said the statement is one of hope, as it recognises that the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches “are diverse expressions of a single reality.”
“It affirms our ‘real yet imperfect communion’ and renews our commitment to ‘grow into the fullness of communion in Christ and the Spirit,’” she said, once again citing the statement.
She assessed the document as “but another milestone on the road, pointing forward to the distance still to be travelled.”
Rev. Frampton is an alumna of The Lay Centre. She resided here in the fall of 2014, and said the title of the statement sums up her experience at The Lay Centre and of her experience in October 2016, “at San Gregorio al Celio when Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin Welby (of Canterbury) modelled pilgrim companionship.
“For me, as a newly ordained priest, it was a defining moment that crystallised the focal point of my ministry: the communion of the people of God,” she said.
Rev. Frampton, ordained in 2016, said her “vocation and ministry have been influenced by the ethos of The Lay Centre” that “embodies the spirit of ‘Walking Together on the Way’” as a “place of mutual receptive learning.”