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Thursday, 26 May 2022

Malines Conversations in Madeira

In 1889 an English aristocrat, Viscount Halifax (Charles Lindley Wood) and a French Roman Catholic priest, Abbé Fernand Portal, met on the beautiful island of Madeira. A friendship began that led to the Malines Conversations of the 1920s which were the precursor of the modern bilateral dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, which now has two official commissions, ARCIC and IARCCUM. 

The Malines Conversations continue in a modern form today as a theological working group, supporting the official dialogues through exploring ways to address some vital points which may still hinder our journey towards the unity to which we are committed as Anglicans and Catholics. Last December we published Sorores in Spe an evaluation of Apostolicae Curae, Pope Leo XIII's negative judgement on Anglican Orders dating from 1896. 

A recent session of the Malines Conversations were held in Madeira, returning to the place where one could say that the journey towards the restoration of full communion between Anglicans and Roman Catholics began. It was in many ways a pilgrimage to the roots of our dialogue.

Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Funchal

Fr Thomas Pott, preaching at Holy Trinity Church

The Anglican Chaplain of Holy Trinity Funchal, the Revd Michael Jarman, and the Bishop of Funchal, Dom Nuno Brás da Silva Martins, both played their part in hosting the dialogue group. On Sunday 15 May, the Revd Fr Thomas Pott delivered the sermon at the Anglican Eucharist in Funchal, and Dom Nuno later in the week presided at an ecumenical service at which I preached, and hosted the group for a reception and dinner. Ecumenical relations between Anglicans and Roman Catholics in Madeira are very good indeed. It was wonderful that Fr Michael and his parishioners at Holy Trinity could host the group at their Sunday mass; it is quite likely that Viscount Halifax worshipped at Holy Trinity in the late 19th century.

Bishop Nuno (4th from left) with the Malines Conversations Group

The full communiqué from the meeting is below:




20TH MAY 2022

The postponed eighth international meeting of the Malines Conversations Group took place between Sunday 15th May and Thursday 19th May 2022. Initially proposed to take place in 2020, prior to the centenary celebrations of the Malines Conversations in 2021, the Group was delighted to meet in Madeira, commemorating the meeting of Viscount Halifax and Abbé Portal on the island in 1889/90. This encounter, and the subsequent friendship that developed, was foundational for the initial Malines Conversations and the subsequent international theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. Under the patronage of The Right Reverend and Right Honourable The Lord Williams of Oystermouth (former Archbishop of Canterbury) and His Eminence Cardinal Josef de Kezel (Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels), the Malines Conversations Group comprises Anglican and Roman Catholic theologians from seven different countries and meets with the encouragement and support of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity and Lambeth Palace. It includes members of both ARCIC and IARCCUM.

The Group was welcomed by the Bishop of Funchal, The Most Revd Nuno Bras da Silva Martins, who co-presided at a service of Ecumenical Vespers alongside The Right Reverend David Hamid, Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese in Europe. The Anglican Parish of Holy Trinity, Funchal, welcomed the group for a Sunday Eucharist, and was warmly hosted by Fr Michael Jarman and his parishioners.

In December 2021, the Group was delighted to publish Sorores in Spe, arguing for a reassessment of the negative judgement on Anglican Orders made by Pope Leo XIII in 1896. There have subsequently been two public seminars on this text and its reception, at the Angelicum and at the Centro Pro Unione in Rome. During the course of their Madeira meeting, the Group deepened its own thinking on issues surrounding apostolicity, sacramentality, gender and ministry. During seminars and conversations, the Group was once again guided and challenged in its thinking by several companions and guests including The Revd Professor Gordon Lathrop, Professor Barbara Hallensleben, Mme Olga Lossky, The Revd Professor Angela Berlis and Professor Thomas O’Loughlin.

The meeting took place within the context of daily prayer. The group’s next meeting is scheduled for May 2023.

The text of Sorores in Spe can be accessed in English, Italian, German, French and Spanish at


The Revd Canon Professor Sarah Coakley, Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity Emerita, University of Cambridge, UK; Washington DC

The Revd Dr Jennifer Cooper, Director of Initial Ministerial Eduction, Dioceses of Durham and Newcastle; Research Fellow, Campion Hall Oxford, absent

The Most Revd Ian Ernest, Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See, and Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, observer, absent

The Right Revd Dr David Hamid, Suffragan Bishop of the Church of England Diocese in Europe; Co-chair of IARCCUM

The Revd Canon Dr James Hawkey, Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey; Bye Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge; Visiting Professor in Theology at King’s College, London; member of the Faith and Order Advisory Commission, Church of England

The Revd Canon Dr Jeremy Morris, National Ecumenical Officer, Church of England; Affiliated Lecturer at the Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge University, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

The Most Revd Sir David Moxon, Former Representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Holy See and the director of the Anglican Centre in Rome; Former Co-Chair of the Anglican- Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC)

The Very Revd Canon David Richardson, Former representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Holy See and director of the Anglican Centre in Rome

The Revd Canon Dr Nicholas Sagovsky, Former Canon Theologian at Westminster Abbey; former member of ARCIC II and III


The Revd Anthony Currer, Secretary to the Anglican and Methodist dialogues at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Rome; co-Secretary of ARCIC; observer

Professor Joris Geldhof, Professor of liturgical studies and sacramental theology at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium; Chair of the Liturgical Institute Leuven; Editor-in-chief of the bilingual journal Questions Liturgiques/Studies in Liturgy; President of Societas Liturgica

Dr Maryana Hnyp, Coordinator of Inter-Religious Affairs, KU Leuven; Institutional Development Officer, Caritas Europe

Professor Arnaud Join-Lambert, Professor of Practical Theology and Liturgy at the Université Catholique de Louvain

The Revd Professor Keith Pecklers, SJ, Professor of Liturgy at the Pontifical Gregorian University (Rome), Professor of Liturgical History at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of Sant’Anselmo (Rome); Founding president of the International Jungmann Society

The Revd Professor Thomas Pott OSB, Chair of the Steering Group, Monastery of Chevetogne (Belgium); Professor of Oriental Liturgy and Sacramentology at the Pontifical Atheneum Sant’Anselmo and at the Pontifical Oriental Institute (Rome); Consultor of the Sacred Congregation for the Eastern Churches and of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

The Revd Cyrille Vael OSB, Monastery of Chevetogne (Belgium); Advisor of NNE (New Narrative for Europe) of the Department for Promotion and Protection of the Regional Cultural Heritage of Europe (European Commission)


The Revd Professor Dr Angela Berlis, University of Bern

Professor Tamara Grdzelidze, University of Tbilisi,

Professor Barbara Hallensleben, University of Freiburg, Switzerland

The Revd Professor Gordon Lathrop, Professor Emeritus of Liturgy, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia

Mme Olga Lossky, Paris

Professor Thomas O’Loughlin, Professor Emeritus of Historical Theology, University of Nottingham, UK

Companions :

The Most Reverend Donald Bolen, Archbishop of Regina, Canada 

The Right Honourable The Earl of Halifax

The Right Revd Dr David Stancliffe

His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Tobin, C.Ss.R, Archbishop of Newark, USA

Friday, 13 May 2022

Post-Covid life returning in Italy: in-person clergy chapter and Church of England in Italy AGM

It has been a while due to COVID, but this week some of the the clergy of the Italian deanery were able at long last to meet and to enjoy a meal together as colleagues. The Revd Jules Cave Bergquist is the Area Dean and convoked a clergy chapter in Rome to have some time to share together and to hear from an invited guest, Don Giuliano Savina, the Director of the National Office for Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue for the Italian Bishops' Conference.

After the conviviality of the chapter, some serious work followed: the Annual General Meeting of the Association of the Church of England in Italy (ACDI), the first such assembly since the final signing of the treaty between the Church of England and the Italian Republic which grants us some significant rights in Italy. The meeting was hosted in the Anglican Centre in Rome and the clergy were joined by the lay representatives to conduct the essential business of this important body in the life of our diocese.

Tribute was paid to several individuals who have laboured for over 15 years in the long process towards official recognition of our Church in Italy, including Canon Vickie Sims, one time Archdeacon of Italy and Malta, and presently Chaplain of All Saints, Milan. Mother Vickie stepped down as President of ACDI and handed over the presidency to Archdeacon of Italy and Malta, the Ven. David Waller.


Monday, 9 May 2022

40th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood


It is hard to believe as the time has flown by, but 9 May is the 40th anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood, which took place in St Jude’s Church, Oakville, Ontario, in the  Diocese of Niagara. 

St Jude's Oakville, the concelebration with the Bishop following the ordination, as is the custom in the Canadian Church

In the presence of Colleen and some close friends I was able to celebrate the anniversary with a quiet eucharist.

Ecumenical relations have been central throughout the years of my priestly ministry, so I was particularly moved that a friend arranged for me to use a a particular chalice and paten for the anniversary mass. 

The sacred vessels were from the 16th century and were used by St Edward Campion and other English martyrs, and so are linked to that fraught time in our history when Anglicans and Roman Catholics were persecuting each other in England. I thank God that despite this tragic history, Anglicans and Roman Catholics have made a huge progress towards restoring visible communion, due to the progress of our official dialogue over the past more than 50 years. The homilist for the anniversary celebration was Professor Fr Keith Peckers SJ, professor of liturgy at the Pontifical Gregorian University.  

I was asked by a friend to reflect on each decade of priestly ministry so far, and to consider what are the highlights. I never thought that would be such a difficult question! But I could only conclude that the highlights are the gifts and generosity I have received from those I have served over these years, for their kindness, patience, understanding and support. 

The service was in a rural Italian Church in the Le Marche region. By happy coincidence the patron of the region is St Christopher, who was the patron of my title parish, St Christopher’s Burlington.  

St Christopher's Burlington, Ontario

St Christopher, patron of Le Marche