by Jonathan Petre THE ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury. Dr Robert Runcie, celebrated the Anglican Eucharist and preached in St Michael's Catholic Cathedral. in Brussels. as part of a tour of Belgium and Holland.
The sermon, which was on the theme of ecumenism and European unity, was delivered last Sunday in the presence of the former Archbishop of MatinesBrussels, Cardinal Suenens, and the present incumbent, Archbishop Godfried Danneels.
Both men have been actively involved in bridging the gaps between the Catholic and Anglican faiths and between the Belgian and English churches. Archbishop Danneels was a guest at Canterbury earlier in the year.
Ih the sermon Dr Runcie referred to the Malines conversations between the wars. "The Malines conversations between Cardinal Mercier, in whose chapel I shall have the privilege of celebrating tomorrow. and Lord Halifax were part of a striving and a search for the faith and vision which the Church throughout the whole of Europe once shared in common.
"This occasion," Dr Runcie continued, "is evidence that those conversations have already oorne fruit in deeper respect and understanding between Anglicans and Roman Catholics."
The Archbishop then recalled the name of St Thomas More as a man who represented the unity of the Church before it became divided. "Sir Thomas More spent a part of his childhood, some of his most formative years, in the house in which I live in London — Lambeth Palace.
"He was pageboy to my predecessor, Cardinal Morton, and in the 1490s learned how to conduct himself in public by watching the visitors come and go in the Cardinal's audience chamber which can still he seen above the great gate of Lambeth."
"Many years later, at his trial just across the river in Westminster !fall, Thomas i■ilore made a comment which I want to take for one of my texts: "And for the Kingdom, I have all other Christian realins7 Dr Runcie concluded his sermon by pleading for unity. "We arc surrounded," he said. "by so great a cloud of witnesseo that the Chrigtian faith and Church has had the energy to do these things in the past — do we have the cc ill to Follow the saints'!"