BY A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
SERIOUS opposition to one of the fundamental features of the proposed Anglican Methodist reunion scheme was confirmed on Wednesday with the official publication of the result of a nation-wide referendum conducted among more than 15,000 Anglican clergy.
The clergy were asked to say 'yes' or 'no' to whether they would take part in the proposed Service of Reconciliation whereby the ministries of both
churches would be integrated
iE the churches agree to enter the first stage of reunion.
The result showed that 9,635 clergy replied yes, 5,621 replied no, and 243 recorded no answer. This was converted as 63.1% in favour and 36.9% against, which represents less than a two-thirds majority.
A Church of England spokesman explained, however, that these results in themselves have no constitutional or legislative effect. But it was reasonable to expect, he added, that they would be borne in mind by the convocations of Canterbury and York when they take their final vote in London on July 8.
On this day the four houses of bishops and clergy forming the two convocations will vote whether final approval should be given to the inauguration of the first stage of the reunion scheme, and majorities of at least two-thirds in each house and an overall majority of 75% will be needed.
The Methodist Conference will vote similarly, and simultaneously, at Birmingham.
The referendum among the clergy was the last stage in learning the mind of the Church on the whole reunion scheme before a final vote by the convocations.
The scheme had previously been discussed and various aspects voted on at previous convocations, diocesan confer ences and in the House of Laity. This unprecedented referendum among the clergy on the reconciliation • service was arranged because of the opposition, particularly among Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals, and Wednesday's result was, therefore, not entirely unexpected. All except two of the bishops are known to favour the scheme and the crucial thing now is how the clergy will vote in the convocations,
Italian version of Dutch Catechism
THE first Italian translation of the controversial New Dutch Catechism is about to go on sale. The LDC publishing house of Turin, run by Salesian priests, said the book includes a full translation of the New Catechism, plus a supplement of modifications suggested by a Cardinals' Commission. The commission of six cardinals appointed by Pope Paul, called last November for correction and clarification of what it called 10 "erroneous" interpretations of Catholic teaching. The Vatican has since accepted a request by the Dutch hierarchy that the modifications be printed as a supplement rather than be embodied in the .text ofthe New Catechism.