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04 January 2017


Two events of ecumenical significance took place recently; one was the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury to Rome; the other was the pilgrimage of a group of Anglicans and Roman Catholics to the Holy Land (“Held as one by the Spirit”, 10 December). Both events were marked by a spirit of warm friendship. In both instances everything proceeded with admirable smoothness – and with an amicable agreement not to share the Eucharist.

During the Welby visit to Rome, Bernard Longley, the Archbishop of Birmingham and co-chairman of ARCIC, said gravely: “The obstacles to unity show that the road is much longer than was first thought in 1966.” In the matter of sharing the Eucharist why should this be the case? Anglicans already invite members of other churches to share. The problem is a Catholic one, and it has become a scandal to many in the Church and a needless irritation to members of other churches.

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