CARDINAL Willebrands, President of the Vatican Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, preaching on Sunday in St. Mary's Anglican Church, Cambridge, said: "We may thank God that humility and courage in the spirit of Christ have begun again to inspire relations among Christians.
"This new spirit has also been manifested in a particular way in the relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion during these recent yearsso charged with events of heavy import for Christianity.
"From the very beginning, when he first announced the calling of an Ecumenical Council, Pope John made it clear to the world that the restoration of Christian unity was one of his great hopes.
'STROKE OF VISION' "Pope Paul, in his speech opening the second session, indicated the restoration of Christian unity as one of the main objectives of the Council.
"In December 1960, after a pilgrimage to the Holy City of Jerusalem. Archbishop Fisher of Canterbury paid a visit to the Churches of Constantinople
and Rome. For the first time since the Reformation the Archbishop of Canterbury met the Pope.
"This fraternal encounter, in historical perspective SO much more than a mere gesture of courtesy, was a stroke of vision pointing firmly towards the future.
"The Archbishops of Canterbury and York responded to the spirit and the words of Pope JOhn, and during the period of the Second Vatican Council sent a personal representative to Rome. The Archbishop of Canterbury, as the head of the Anglican Communion, led the way in accepting Pope John's invitation to send observers to the Council.
"When the Vatican Council turned to formulate Catholic principles on ecumenism and its practice, both Roman Catholics and Anglicans rejoiced that the Decree on Ecumenism spoke of the 'special place' held by the Anglican Communion 'among those in which some Catholic traditions and institutions continue to exist . .
"For us, especially during this week of prayer for unity, there remains the call to perseverance, to a closer union of prayer in our common enterprise."