To the Most Reverend the Primate
and Members of the Executive Council:
In the last few years there has been a notable improvement in our relations with our Roman Catholic brethren. There have been many new opportunities to meet and discuss our differences; in Ecumenical Services of Witness they have joined in public worship; some of the Roman dioceses have had representatives at inductions in our parishes, and in a few instances Roman Catholic clergy have spoken in our churches. Our clergy, too, have been asked to speak to our Roman brethren on numerous occasions, and have been treated with great courtesy. For this great improvement in our relations with one another we thank God.
In many parishes the clergy pray constantly for Unity, and the Church Unity Octave in January is quite widely kept. We trust that an ever increasing number will join in its observance.
We have had first-hand reports from Father Gregory Baum, O.S.A. and the Rev. G.B.S. Wheeler on the Second Vatican Council. We rejoice that the Archbishop of Canterbury has appointed the Rev. Prof. Eugene Fairweather, of Trinity College, as an official Anglican Observer at the forthcoming session of the Council, and trust that, in due course, we will hear from him about its deliberations.
During the Anglican Congress in Toronto last summer there were a number of Roman Catholic observers present, and we were happy to know of the visit paid by Cardinal McQuigan on the Archbishop of Canterbury.
An up-to-date list of books and pamphlets of special value in this field is being prepared by our Committee in collaboration with the Anglican Book Centre and will be available soon. The matter of Separate High Schools in Saskatchewan and of Separate Schools in Manitoba has been before us. The Brief to the Premier of Saskatchewan from our three bishops in that Province seems to us just and wise. We trust that the Government will give good heed to what our bishops have to say in the interests of Unity in that Province.
We rejoice in the appointment of the Rev. Canon H.L. Puxley, M.A., D.D., D.C.L., as Director of the Canadian School of Missions and Ecumenical Institute in Toronto. In his new position Canon Puxley is in a strategic position to advance the cause of good relations with our separated brethren.
We have received and endorsed a statement of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches in regard to relations with the Roman Catholic Church, and would end our report with a salient paragraph from that statement:
“One of the effects of the first session of the Vatican Council has been a new and welcome opening up of relationships between Roman Catholics and other Christians. This does not mean that the great issues of faith and order upon which we are divided have been settled or on the way to settlement. On the contrary, they remain realities which must be faced. It is important to state this fact in order that we may be honest in our dealings. But there is ground for hope that the new atmosphere will make possible the beginning of a genuinely ecumenical dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and other Churches, in which these profound dogmatic differences can be faced in a spirit of love and humility. We urge that every opportunity be seized for the development of this dialogue at every level of the life of the churches.”
James H. Craig, Chairman