WHEN Catholics and Anglicans are at last reunited — and, surely. we can now say "when" rather than "tr. — historians of the achievement will certainly note the interesting way in which it was helped by the warm friendship and Christian fellowship formed in the years since the First World War between Anglican leaders and the Belgian Catholic hierarchy. The Malines conversations in the 1920s, in which the Viscount Halifax of that time took part as the guest of Cardinal Mercier. have been described as perhaps "the first great ecumenical breakthrough".
They were recalled three years ago, when Cardinal Suenens, Primate of Belgium, preached in York Minster, praising the courage of those who took part in the conversations braving criticism from both sides. Just recently. Archbishop Danneels of Malines Brussels preached in York Minster; and now the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Runcie, has celebrated the Anglican Eucharist in the Catholic Cathedral in Brussels. Even though one looks back more than half a century to the Malines conversations, an impressive degree of progress does seem to have been made which could hardly have been envisaged then, We await quite soon the most startling development of all, the Pope's visit to England. Although there are still many difficulties to be overcome, we may surely feel now that we do not hope and pray for unity in vain.