Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS)




Our Lord Jesus Christ prayed that those who share in His calling "may become completely one" (John 17:23 NRSV). Unity is a major goal of many Christian denominations, both within those groups and with other churches. The second half of the twentieth century was an extremely active period of dialogue between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church. However, the question of authority has been a significant roadblock in this quest for ecumenical recovery. Traditional faith practices in each church are determined by markedly different models for arriving at final decisions in matters of doctrine. By way of an international commission, sanctioned and charged by both churches to oversee dialogue in matters of dogma, several noteworthy statements have been published, but none as yet have been mutually agreed upon to any significant degree. A prominent exemplification of the difference in decision-making structures between these two churches is the issue of the ordination of women to the sacramental priesthood. In light of this issue, this paper examines how a very basic difference in traditional authority-the historicity within which decisions are made-has a significant effect on dialogue, and thus the possibility of answering Christ's prayer for unity.

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