CATHOLIC HERALD REPORTER
THE most important step in the ecumenical movement yet to be announced in this country was taken by the Bishops of England and Wales this week. They announced the setting up in each of the 18 dioceses of an ecumenical commission.
Composed of clergy, religious and laity, these commissions will regulate the whole ecumencial activity in the diocese and work for the extension of the Christian unity movement.
The decision was taken at the Low Week meeting of the Hierarchy. The Bishops discussed the future of the ecumenical movement in this country and agreed to set up the commissions. Each bishop will appoint a chairman but in the early stages may preside in person.
The commission will advise those arranging ecumenical functions throughout the diocese. It will also receive reports after each function to gain experience of the comparative value of the different methods being tried out.
Reports for Rome One of the later tasks of the commissions will be to pass on to the Secretariat for promoting Christian Unity the lessons learned from ecumenical activity in this country.
In turn, the General Directory will be followed by national directories compiled in different countries and taking into account the local situation. The new diocesan commissions in this country will collaborate in the compiling of the British directory.
A statement issued from Archbishop's House this week warned that the greatest danger to the Unity Movement is a false ecumenism which disguised essential difference in the name of charity.
The statement read:
rr HE Secretariat for Christian Unity is preparing to give practical help to the National Conferences of Bishops in their task of implementing the Council's decree on ecumenism. By the very nature of things, however, the Secretariat itself has now to look to the National Conference of Bishops for guidance in drafting a General Directory for Ecumenism.
The decree on ecumensim made clear that all ecumenical work must be undertaken under the direction of local hierarchies. Conditions vary so much from country to country that it is impossible for the Holy See to lay down anything beyond general principles.
The Cardinal has already sent to Rome a copy of the instructions on ecumenism issued by the hierarchy within a few days of the passing of the decree. At their meeting in Low Week the bishops took a second step. They decided to set up in every diocese an Ecumenical Cornmission. Each bishop will appoint a chairman but in the early stages he may preside in person. Membership of each diocesan commission will be shared by clergy, religious and laity.
Each commission will hold regular meetings to direct all ecumenical activity in the diocese. Its task, however, will be not only to control ecumenical activity but to draw up a programme for extending ecumenical work.
Ecumenical work is still in its early stages, and while the pattern of the dialogue between theologians is already clear, there are many problems to be solved in the Continued on Back Page, Col. 6