BY A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT GROWING working relations between the World Council of Churches embracing more than 200 Protestant churches throughout the world and the Catholic Church were reported to this week's meeting of the W.C.C.' Faith and Order Commission in Bristol.
About 100 commission members, plus Catholic and other observers, assembled in the City Hall for the first full meeting of the commission since 1964. They were told of the increased contacts in a report for the past three years by Dr. Lukas Vischer, member of the Swiss Protestant Church Federation and director of the commission's secretariat.
It covered the extensive range of work between the Catholic Church and the W.C.C. on Faith and Order since the end of the Vatican Council and particularly the setting up of the Joint Working Group between the W.C.C. and Rome's Secretariat for Christian Unity.
Dr. Vischer said: "One outcome of the Joint Working Group has been the establishment of a Joint Theological Commission on Catholicity and Apostolicity. It may be
that further issues need to be studied and that more groups will be formed. Already a consultation has been held on mixed marriages, at the request of the Joint Working Group, and another is planned on Proselytism.
"It should be noted that almost all of our Faith and Order studies have benefited from the participation of Roman Catholic observers or consultants. And on the part of the Roman Catholic Church we may record that Principal George (the Rev. Principal A. Raymond George of the British Methodist Church's Wesley College at Headingley, Yorks) has been invited to be an observer on the post-conciliar Liturgical Commission.
Catholic observers at the conference are Fr. Rene Beaucaire of Lyons, France; Fr. Kevin McNamara of St. Patrick's College, Ireland; Fr. John Long, of the Secretariat for Christian Unity in Rome.
Fr. John Coventry, S.J., c Heythrop College, Oxford, attending at the invitation c the British Council c Churches, and one of the fou research consultants at th conference is Fr. David . Bowman, S.J., from Nei York.
The main topics at thi week's meeting were the unit of the Church on the local an universal levels, relationship with the Roman Catholi Church, and the Eucharist am its importance in liturgical re newal.
The conference began with an opening service in Bristol': Anglican Cathedral, which was originally the church of an Augustinian Abbey founded in the 12th century.
The preacher was Bristol's Anglican Bishop Oliver Tomkins, who is chairman of the Faith and Order Commission's working committee.
The conference went into private studies on Wednesday and was to report back to plenary sessions again on Monday and Tuesday.
The commission last met at Aarhus, Denmark, in 1964, when significant changes were initiated, largely designed to speed up the pace of theological work and increase the commission's scope for shortterm studies on various topics.