Report on the Document "The Gift of Authority"
Anglican Studies Center, The Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil
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Editorial Note: The Gift of Authority (GA) is the third agreed statement on authority produced by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC)[The Gift of Authority. London: Catholic Truth Society; Toronto: Anglican Book Centre; New York: Church Publishing Incorporated, 1999. The earlier statements, Authority in the Church I, Elucidations of Authority I, and Authority in the Church II were published as part of ARCIC's Final Report]. It builds on ARCIC's earlier work on authority, released in 1976 and 1981. The Gift of Authority examines outstanding matters about which there had not previously been consensus, including the complementarity of conciliarity and primacy. On the basis of its studies, ARCIC states that there is "sufficient agreement on universal primacy as a gift to be shared, for us to propose that such a primacy could be offered and received even before our churches are in full communion" (para. 60).
In 1999 the Anglican Consultative Council commended GA to the provinces of the Anglican Communion for study and response by 2005. To date, official responses from the Church of Ireland, the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A., the Anglican Church of Canada, the Church of England, and the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil have been published.
The report that follows has been edited for greater clarity and some citations have been added.