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100 years ago: Dr Davidson on reunion

05 January 2024

January 4th, 1924.

AS THE extracts in another column will show, the letter of the Archbishop of Canterbury [Dr Randall Davidson] on reunion has had quite as good a Press as was to be expected in a country in which, almost within living memory, the Pope and Napoleon ranked equally as bogies of the nursery. But after the guarded phrases and clear explanations of his Grace’s letter it was disheartening to find that the leader in one of the most widely-read morning newspapers spoke in its first sentence of “the conversations between the Archbishop of Canterbury and Cardinal Mercier”. Other leading articles were all that could be desired, and certainly more than could have been expected. The Times, for example, spoke of the reunion of Christendom as something which the world needs no less than the Church. It accepted as an obvious truth the statement of the Lambeth Appeal that there can be no fulfilment of the Divine purpose in any scheme of reunion which does not ultimately include the Roman Church. It recognized that despite the suspicion of Rome by England there is a growing willingness to look facts in the face, and a disposition to mutual charity. It said that the account of the conferences at Malines would have been read with sympathetic interest by all thoughtful men; that the English representatives have the confidence of their fellow-Churchmen; and that such efforts as these deserve the warm approval of every Christian. These things could not possibly have been said by the greatest of English newspapers twenty, or even ten, years ago; they are strong evidence to the growth of the spirit which regards the disunion of Christendom as inimical to the mind of Christ and the welfare of the world.

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