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The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), gathered for a discussion on ecumenism.

Questions are being raised about whether the ecumenism between the Catholic and Anglican churches is coming to an end. According to Crux, many ask is there any point in the ecumenism as female bishops and gay bishops are present in Anglican churches, and they are now well-along the path toward same-sex marriage.

Last week, the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) held the fifth meeting of its current third phase at Villa Palazzola in Rome.

Pope Francis recognized the “grave obstacles to unity” Anglicans have created in his opening remarks, but told the commission members not to give up hope by saying: “The cause of unity is not an optional undertaking and the differences which divide us must not be seen as inevitable… Despite difficulties, we must not lose heart, but we must trust even more in the power of the Holy Spirit, who can heal and reconcile us, and accomplish what humanly does not seem possible.”

The situation is getting more complex because of widening rifts within the Anglican church.

Earlier this month, the leaders of Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) had a meeting in London. Founded by African Anglican bishops and now including representatives from North America, Australia and South America, GAFCON was formed to counter the liberal drift within established Anglicanism. The GAFCON bishops say that they “remain the authentic and emerging voice of Anglicanism,” and provide an alternative to the global Anglican Communion.

All of this contributes to the fact that any real ecumenical hopes are increasingly on hold. Former pope Benedict XVI did not improve matters by erecting the Anglican Ordinariate, which is a structure within the Catholic church that provides disenchanted Anglicans a semi-detached home within Catholicism.

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