in a tradition which sees Mary as the new Eve, a type the two teachings about Mary can be welcomed, then
of the Church; that we pray and praise with Mary; and the question of authority is placed in a ‘new ecumeni-
that Mary and the saints pray for the whole Church. cal context’ [para. 78].
There is a helpful footnote on the ‘brothers of Jesus’ in The report takes seriously the fact that the Roman
relation to ‘Mary ever virgin’ (there is curiously little dogmas were defined when the churches were apart
on the teaching that Mary is ‘ever virgin’). [paras. 62–3]. Anglicans ask whether in a re-united
Many will see the third section as the most impor- church assent to these teachings would be required.
tant part of the statement. Following the idea that Roman Catholics find it hard to think of teachings
Scripture allows us to trace trajectories which illumi- held to be revealed that would bind some, but not
nate the present state of the believer, it argues that the others.
Spirit already gives us a sharing in the end of our hope What can be drawn from this?
in Christ, God’s glory. Romans 8.30 is pivotal: ‘those First, that a group of Anglican (with good Evan-
whom God predestined he also called; and those he gelical representation) and Roman Catholic theo-
called he also justified; and those whom he justified logians can compose such a report on the person of
he also glorified’. ‘Now’ is seen in terms of what will the Mother of Jesus is in itself significant. Second, the
be. Putting summarily what is expressed with some agreement on the unique mediatorship of Christ and
subtlety, this may be fittingly applied to the person the normativity of the Scriptures, the virginal concep-
of Mary, forwards with respect to the end and back- tion and the truth that the term Theotokos is about
wards with respect to her beginning. Christ first are superb.
Finally, the theme of the role of Mary in the com- There will be continuing appraisal of how success-
munion of saints is taken up. This is divided into ful the report is in locating the controversial issues
four. Firstly, Mary is an example of the life of grace, in the context of those areas, but I think all orthodox
the fullest. We are ‘to join with her as one indeed not Anglicans have cause for thanksgiving that this is the
dead, but truly alive in Christ’. Secondly, Mary has a map which has been laid out.
role in the Church’s life of praise and prayer. The role Some of the paths, however, do look a little threat-
of the Magnificat in the prayer of both Anglicans and ening. One of the reasons for unease is that for cen-
Roman Catholics as well as the Eucharistic Prayer is turies most Anglicans have given little thought to
an example, and her place as Theotokos makes her dis- the Mother of Jesus. Paths have been closed or have God and
tinctive. Thirdly, Mary, with other saints, prays for the become overgrown. Happily, there have been some
Church, and there is a section on why some ask her to fine works written by Evangelicals on Mary in recent
pray for us [para. 70] and why it must not be allowed years (for example, The Real Mary: Why Evangelical
to obscure the direct access we have to the Father Christians Can Embrace the Mother of Jesus, by Scott
through Christ. Fourthly, she has a motherly role for McKnight).
the Church and also for the world, a role which points There is also the sadness that putting up defences
no role for
the faithful and the rest to Christ [para. 72]. to the very mention of the Mother of Jesus has often
It is important to note the wide area of agreement been a characteristic of non-Roman Catholics in the
Mary is to
about the Mother of Jesus. The emphasis on Christ, the West. Such reactions go deep, but that is no reason to
incarnation, the virginal conception and the authority shy away from another look.
of Scripture will be especially welcome to orthodox It will have become apparent that I think Mary:
Anglicans. Mary is one of the redeemed, a creature Grace and Hope in Christ is a courageous report and
like us. The section on Mary in the communion of one which orthodox Anglicans should welcome.
saints repays careful reading [paras. 64–70]; the view Anglicans are not being required to start asking Mary
of Mary in both of our communions has been partial. to pray for them or to go on pilgrimage to Lourdes;
‘Mary points people to Christ, commending them to some already do, of course. Some will welcome more
him and helping them to share his life’ [para. 65]. in the report than others. It is a good step and one
The report goes on to conclude that the two Marian which is worth treating seriously. It is, after all, a
dogmas do not present something which Anglicans scandal that there are Christians not in communion
need reject as unbiblical. It is possible to see the two with one another and it is a particular scandal that we
Marian dogmas against the background of hope and divide over the Mother of Jesus.
grace in Christ, that destiny of which I spoke above, For this reason alone, one needs to be careful of
and as consonant with Scripture. These teachings one’s ‘deep’ reactions. The wounds of the past have
need not be regarded as church-dividing, but as legiti- not healed. There is a need for conversion, a readiness
mate expressions of the faith. Nothing must obscure to go to Christ in the one who is different (to some
the unique mediatorship of Christ, and Scripture is the Roman Catholic, to others the Anglican) and to
the ultimate norm of teaching. learn. This is something which the report does not
This raises the question of the authority by which really touch on.
Rome has claimed to define these teachings. Although One of the ways to seek conversion is to read the
there has been progress in treating these more sym- Scriptures and to do so together. This is one of the
pathetically than Anglicans have done in the past, a suggestions made by the IARCCUM statement [paras.
consensus has not emerged, a fact noted by the IARC- 104–7]. It will assist our way forward if this can be
CUM statement. On the other hand, there has been made real with respect to the Mother of Jesus. This
the remarkable act of Pope John Paul II [in Ut unum may sound a strange thing, utopian indeed, but if we
sint] in asking for help in understanding the role and can agree on the things I have indicated above, then
status of the Pope, to which the House of Bishops it may not be simply something we can do with our
made a weighty (and well received) response. What Roman Catholic brothers and sisters. It will be some-
does emerge from the report is that if the treatment of thing we must do.
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