From Atlantic to Pacific came sounds this month of a sometime-forgotten refrain: return to Rome.

Episcopal Bishop C. Kilmer Myers of California went so far as to set conditions under which the pope could be regarded as “chief” of Christendom. Myers seemed thus to echo a campaign now under way for Protestant-Catholic-Orthodox unity talks by the American Church Union, of which he is a member.

In Boston, the National Council of Churches’ General Board was treated to a thirty-nine page report on Christian relations that saw things going just that way.

Myers, successor to Bishop James A. Pike, called on Protestants to acknowledge the pope as the head of Christianity, thus making a move “far more important” than efforts for unity merely among non-Catholics. “We Anglicans and Protestant Christians ought to reexamine our relationship to the Holy See as the chief spokesman for the Christian community in the world,” he said.

Pope Paul VI was urged to implement more convincingly the ideas and actions of the late John XXIII and show himself “the chief pastor of men.” Paul VI ought to visit North and South Viet Nam, Myers said, and “stretch out his arms in a loving gesture to all men.”

Given such a “Christian amplification,” Myers added, “we should, I for one believe, acknowledge him as the chief pastor of the Christian family and we should joyfully acclaim him as the Holy Father in God of the Universal Church.”

The high-church Episcopal paper American Church News published a “solemn declaration” drafted by Dr. J. V. Langmead Casserley of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary urging the Consultation on Church Union to invite Roman Catholics and Orthodox to enter the negotiations “on terms acceptable to themselves.” The Roman church and Orthodox ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.

Tags:
Issue: