THE Anglican Bishop of Southwark, Dr. Mervyn Stockwood, suggesting the reunion of the Church of England and the Catholic Church in two stages, writes in the current issue of his diocesan review, The Bridge: "Let us share our churches and as many activities as possible, both inside and out."
His proposal came within days of an announcement that such a sharing arrangement is already in existence on a new housing estate in Peterborough. As reported in the CATHOLIC HERALD on November 25, the temporary Anglican church of St. Jude, Westwood, is being used for Masses by Fr. Paul Taylor, parish priest of All Souls' Catholic Church.
A joint statement by Fr. Taylor and the Rev, Roy Dooley, vicar of St. Jude's, said: "There is no suggestion of joint services . . . two historic Churches are joining in friendly use of one building."
Bishop Stockwood, a strong supporter of the ecumenical movement, discussed in his article possible ways in which Canterbury and Rome might draw more closely together. Of the first, the sharing of churches, he wrote: "The idea that Church of England should retain its buildings to the exclusion of other Christians shows a bow-and-arrow mentality, if not worse . . .
"Let us consider a scheme of reunion that would be in two stages, similar to the scheme between ourselves and the Methodists. I would gladly receive from the Roma! Catholic Church an authorisation that would enable me to minister to them so long as I was not asked to deny the validity of my present Orders.
"This would be Stage One. The second stage would not be reached until we had achieved full agreement on doctrine . . .
A "serious dialogue" between Catholics and Anglicans is to be opened next year in accordance with the Common Declaration signed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Ramsey, and Pope Paul in Rome last March.