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50 years ago: Roman Council to open

by
05 October 2012

October 5, 1962

IT IS in itself a remarkable sign of the improvement in relations between Roman Catholicism and other parts of the universal Church that next week's Vatican Council should be the object, not of mistrust and suspicion among those outside the Roman obedience, but rather of sincere and sympathetic concern.

Our own special correspondent in Rome, whose first dispatch on the Council appears in this issue, re-echoes the warning recently given by the Bishop of London against any indulgence in false optimism over the probable outcome of the Council, insofar as this may effect future relations between Rome and other Churches. It would indeed be asking too much to expect that the errors of many centuries should be undone in the meeting of a single Council. At the same time, his tribute to the pastoral heart of that "great and good man", the present Pope, is entirely justified. However great the obstacles may be - and they are, frankly, enormous - in the way of anything approaching reunion with Rome, it is a great gain that the Romans themselves should be willing at least to recognise that the ecumenical dialogue exists and should be encouraged.

The appeals for prayers for the Council should not go unheeded. For this purpose, we may commend a brief but satisfying prayer written specially by the Lutheran Bishop of Hamburg, which is available in English translation (6d. a copy post free) from the Vicar of St Mary's, Pimlico, Graham Terrace, Sloane Square, London, S.W.1.

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