The possible combining of the National Council of Churches and American Roman Catholics into one common federation of churches is moving ahead on a new front. The Rev. David Bowman, S. J., who was the first priest to become a full-time staff member of the NCC, has been assigned as a personal deputy to Dr. R. H. Edwin Espy, NCC general secretary, according to Detroit Free Press religion editor Hiley H. Ward.

Ward said Bowman told him during an interview at the NCC General Board meeting in Indianapolis: “I will, for the next year, help facilitate Roman Catholic membership in local councils of churches.” Bowman said four state councils have asked him to help set up combined Protestant-Catholic councils, and more may soon do likewise.

Bowman predicted a common national council could be created “in the foreseeable future” but “not less than five years.” Meanwhile, the NCC General Board added a sixth Roman Catholic to its executive staff, the Rev. Richard W. Rousseau.

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