Until forty years ago, Anglicans and Catholics, wherever they co-existed, viewed each other in a way that was determined by centuries of separation. Although there had been various attempts at building bridges, such as the Anglican Papalist movement and the Malines Conversations, it was not until the 1960s, in the wake of the groundbreaking Second Vatican Council, that the ice began to thaw. The seeds sown by such early pioneers of unity such as Gregory Dix, William Temple, and Yves Congar began to bear fruit as the Anglican Centre in Rome was opened and the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) was created.
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'It is impressive that a Roman Catholic should be
the one to tell the story of Anglicans in Rome from the heady days following
Vatican II to the present. Professor Bliss brings out the importance of personal
friendships in the reconciliation of churches - that is as true for Archbishops
and Popes, for Directors of the Anglican Centre and ecumenical staff, as for
those around the tables of theological conversation. The way ahead, in a
somewhat fragile situation, is not immediately clear but this story, honestly
told, ought to convince us that relations between Anglicans and Roman Catholics
have changed dramatically and that the results of the theological dialogue are
there to be harvested. We must not cease getting to know one another,
"building friendships and searching out ways and means of becoming one
believing people". Professor Bliss's account deserves to be widely read.'
Dr Mary Tanner