Project Canterbury

The Protestant Episcopal Church and Christian Unity

By William T. Manning, S.T.D.

New York: Edwin S. Gorham, Publisher, 1915.

Reprinted by permission from the Constructive Quarterly for December, 1915.

The minds of men today are turned toward unity. They are at least becoming convinced of the practical evils of division. And there is a manifest longing for a unity that has outward and visible expression. The idea of a unity with no outward manifestation, a soul without a body, has not been justified by experience. It has become evident that those who preach a mere invisible unity propagate actual disunion. It is plain that there can be no adequate unity among Our Lord's followers until it shall again become possible for them, without violation of principle or of conscience, to kneel together at one Altar, there to eat of the One Bread and to drink of the One Cup. And in many quarters Christians are realizing with new hope that Our Lord Himself prayed not only for an inward and spiritual unity which men [3/4] could not see, but for a unity outwardly and visibly manifested which should compel their attention, and which should be the proof of His Presence among them. His prayer for His Church was, and still is, "that they all may be one, even as Thou Father art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us, that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me".

In the United States especially the religious situation is such as to bring home the need of reunion and to accentuate the desire for it. The process of disintegration has been carried further here than elsewhere. The experiment of division on the principle of individualism has been very fully worked out, and it is becoming only too clear that the theory of "the Churches" is weakening if not destroying all real belief in The Church. According to the latest statistics there are now in this country more than one hundred and sixty separate denominations bearing the name Christian. Our people thus have before them a striking object lesson and it is producing an effect. They see that the religious need of the country is not being effectively met. They see the grievous weakness, the waste of strength and resources resulting from the divisions among the Christian forces. And there is a growing impatience with this condition which is not without dangers of its own.

There is a tendency to place disproportionate emphasis on the practical advantages of unity to the obscuration of the higher considerations involved, and so to think of it only from the utilitarian point of view. It is a great gain that in the United States we are coming generally to see the disadvantages of division. But we have not yet at all generally arrived at a realization of what unity means. Many are disposed to accept some expedient or substitute for it which falls far below the true ideal. If we are to work effectively for reunion we must have the true ideal of it before us. We need to see, and shall without doubt in time see, far more generally and clearly than we now do, [4/5] the difference between any mere humanly devised scheme of union and the true Divinely given unity.

There is danger also in the increasing desire for quick results. Earnest but impatient souls cry out that there is no need for all this talk about the matter. If we want unity, all that we have to do is to "get together". Let the divisions be ignored, questions of doctrine are all of them unimportant, we should be ashamed to be kept apart by "our petty differences".

These pronouncements have an engaging and pleasant sound to the man in the street. They impress him as broad minded--wide awake--up to date. But they do not bear careful examination. They imply the entire unimportance of Christian Truth. That Life which came into this world in Christ is also "the Light". "The Life is the Light of men." Truth is second in importance only to Love. The ideal of unity without truth in the Church is as fallacious as the ideal of peace without righteousness in the State. The road to unity is not so simple and easy as this. The mistakes and sins of our fathers, and of ourselves are not to be so lightly atoned for and retrieved. Differences which have persisted through centuries can not be adjusted over night. The deep convictions of men's souls can not be dealt with in this fashion and the attempt so to deal with them results inevitably in irritations, misunderstandings and widened divisions. Doubtless some of the matters which have separated Christians are unimportant, perhaps even "petty" in themselves, but we must beware how we apply this word to any belief which expresses a sincere conviction. Nor must we make the kindred mistake of assuming that convictions with which we do not agree, and which perhaps stand in the way of some plan of united action in which we are interested, are the proof of narrowness and self-will. Pride and self-will are strong in all of us but they are as easily manifested by the casting away of doctrines as by holding fast to them. The fact that a man has religious convictions [5/6] which he can not compromise is in itself no evidence of a wrong spirit or of a lack of charity.

One of our greatest needs is to see clearly how deep and fundamental some of the differences are which at present divide Christians, so that we may in some measure realize the difficulties in the way of reunion and may not be discouraged because its progress is slow.

There is a growing tide of sentiment in favour of Christian reunion without much regard to Christian principles. A great number of people seem to think that religion means little more than moral conduct and general amiability, and therefore take it for granted that union in religious work, under any circumstances, must be right, and that any objection to it must necessarily be wrong. In this situation the position and mission of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States is one of great responsibility and opportunity. And in the interests of good understanding as well as of intelligent effort toward reunion, it is important that her relation to the situation should be clearly understood.

In the Providence of God it would seem that the Episcopal Church, together with the Churches which are included in the Anglican Communion, has a special work to do toward bringing about a great synthesis in the whole of Christendom. Her mission seems to be to hold up, and bear witness to, the ideal of Christian Reunion in its fullest and largest meaning. She has been given a special relation to the world situation as a whole and she must be true to it. By her fundamental faith as to the nature of the Church and also by the practical facts of her history and life she is called to look at the question of reunion in its world-wide aspect and, to the best of her power, "to think in terms of the whole". To a singular degree she is enabled and required by the peculiarities of her position to take into account the factors on both the Catholic and Protestant sides in the West and also to realize the great place which belongs to the Ancient [6/7] Eastern Orthodox Churches, as to which until recently many of us have been so amazingly ignorant, and which are now coming into close touch with the rest of the Christian world.

The Episcopal Church has always been in close relation and contact with Protestantism. Her easily misunderstood name is a curious evidence of this. She includes, and has always included, in her fold many who have strong Protestant tendencies and sympathies. She receives constant accessions from the ranks of Protestantism, and some of those who enter her communion retain much of their old point of view. She has many interests and aims in common with Protestantism, and is brought into frequent and valued association with its leaders and representatives. Still more, she holds in common with orthodox Protestants many of the great cardinal doctrines of the Christian Faith, and above all else is joined with them in belief in Our Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour. The life of the Episcopal Church has been much influenced by her contact with Protestantism. She recognizes fully and gladly the truths for which it stands. She does not believe that its struggle and its witness in the world have been without meaning. She knows that it has played a great par, the spiritual development of this country. She honours, and claims to share in, its love of freedom, its sense of personal responsibility, its loyalty to reason and conscience, its profound reverence for the authority of Scripture, its concern for direct relation between each individual soul and God.

The Episcopal Church stands in a relation of warm and living touch and of fellowship at many points with Protestantism. But her own faith and order as judged by the standards of the undivided Church are fundamentally and definitely Catholic. Her distinctive beliefs are those which have been held and taught by the Catholic Church throughout the world since the Apostles' days. She has inherited these through nineteen centuries of history.

[8] In common with all the ancient Communions everywhere, both East and West, the Protestant Episcopal Church holds that the Church in its outward and visible organization, as well as in its inward life, is of Divine institution. With St. Paul she believes that the Church is the visible Body of which Christ is the invisible and living Head. The belief of the Episcopal Church, as officially set forth, and on every page assumed, in her Prayer Book, is that Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself established His Church in this world to be the organ and means of His continued life and work among men. She holds that all who are baptized into Him and are thus made sharers of His life, are members of this one Church which is His Body. Whether they realize this or not, even though they disbelieve it, and deny it, she holds that all who are baptized into Christ are members of His Church, and she does not hold nor believe that there can be any Church other than that visible society which Christ Himself created and which, in so far as it is true to itself and to its Head, is, and must in its very nature be, One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. The New Testament knows nothing of "Churches", except as these were local parts, particular congregations, of the one Church. The Episcopal Church therefore does not believe that there ought to be, or that there can be, separate Churches of men's making; she believes only in the one Church, which is Christ's own Body, in which He lives, and through which He still speaks and acts.

Again in common with all the ancient Communions, including at least three-fourths of all Christendom, the Episcopal Church believes that when Our Lord founded His Church in this world, He Himself appointed a self-perpetuating Ministry, and that this Ministry has come down to the present time through the succession of the Bishops.. The Episcopal Church holds the Catholic doctrine that a Priest, ordained by a Bishop, in direct succession from the Apostles, is indispensably necessary [8/9] for the Celebration of the Holy Communion, the central and characteristic act of the Christian Church. She pronounces no judgment as to the efficacy of sacred ordinances otherwise administered. But she holds herself bound wholly to the ancient ways which she believes to be of God's own appointment. That this is the belief of the Episcopal Church is made unmistakably clear in the Preface to her Ordinal. Her solemn and official declaration is that "It is evident unto all men, diligently reading Holy Scripture and Ancient Authors that from the Apostles' time there have been these Orders of Ministers in Christ's Church--Bishops, Priests and Deacons", and that "to the intent that these orders may be continued, and reverently used and esteemed in this Church, no man shall be accounted or taken to be a lawful Bishop, Priest or Deacon, in this Church, or suffered to execute any of the said Functions, except he . . . hath had Episcopal Consecration or Ordination". And that which she declares in word she carries out in her acts. That she herself holds her doctrine of the Priesthood to be Catholic is sufficiently demonstrated by one simple fact. A Priest of the Roman Catholic Church, of the Holy Orthodox Eastern Church, or of any Catholic Communion, coming into her fold, is not re-ordained, while on the other hand, no Minister of any Protestant Communion, however great his attainments, or holy his life, can under any circumstances be admitted to the Ministry of the Episcopal Church, and allowed to celebrate the Holy Communion, without ordination to the Priesthood, at the hands of a Bishop. The doctrine of the Priesthood in the Episcopal Church is not, as is sometimes supposed by those not familiar with her teachings, a mere opinion or view held only by the "High Church party". It is a matter of the Church's own most distinct and essential teaching, as appears in her authoritative formularies. If any member of the Episcopal Church, clergyman or layman, does not believe in the office of the Priesthood, and that [9/10] Episcopal ordination is necessary for the exercise of the functions of the Priesthood, he in so far fails to accept the teaching and to represent the position of his own Communion. Whatever his individual views may be, he must, in his official acts, conform and give assent to this doctrine. This doctrine of the Priesthood and the Sacraments stands for, and is the outward expression of, that which is most fundamental of all things in the Christian Religion. It stands for the true "givenness" of all that comes to us in Christ, for the present operation of Divine grace on the souls of men, for the reality of the supernatural. History seems to us to show that this doctrine is the great safeguard of the faith. We see that where men have held to this belief, they hold fast to the certainty of God's revelation contained in the Catholic Creeds, and believe firmly in the crucial facts of the Virgin Birth and the Bodily Resurrection of Our Lord. In her doctrine of the Church and the Priesthood, the Anglican Communion aligns herself with Catholic Christendom, and it is this fact which makes it impossible for the Episcopal Church, without surrender of fundamental principle, to identify herself with the present movement for Protestant Federation in America or to enter into United Protestant work in the Mission fields or elsewhere. The Episcopal Church should feel, and does feel, warm sympathy with these movements. She should join in thanksgiving for them as most hopeful expressions of a growing desire for reunion, and as important steps in this direction. She ought in every right way to manifest her sympathy with these efforts, and to show that she wishes them Godspeed, but she can not officially participate in, and commit herself to, them without being untrue to the opportunity that God seems to have given her in relation to the Christian world as a whole, and denial of her own essential faith.

It is a sign of growth in the spirit which must prepare the way for reunion that, with singular breadth of view, [10/11] some of the most trusted Protestant leaders show a real and sympathetic understanding of the position of the Episcopal Church. There could hardly be a better example of this than that given by the Reverend Arthur Judson Brown, Secretary of the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions, in his recent volume, in which after expressing his hearty agreement with Bishop Montgomery that we do not want to reduce our convictions to "a least common denominator of Christianity", he adds:

"Meantime, those of us who are not Anglicans should do that justice to their principles which we expect them to do to ours. The Anglicans have a noble vision of the union of the people of God, a union which is to include all the historic branches of the Christian Church--Protestant, Roman and Greek. For that union they ardently hope and earnestly pray. . . . They seem unyielding to Non-Conformists because they feel that any impairment of their position to suit a particular communion on one side would jeopardize to that extent the ultimate acceptability of their position to communions on the other side, and that they have no alternative but to adhere to their Church through good and evil report, confident that in time the scattered and separate groups of Christians will find in that Church either their common point of rally and reunion or a principle of historic continuity that will be an indispensable contribution to the Church of the future. . . . And while we may not share the conviction of many Anglicans that it will come on the basis of their Church, we are not prepared to hold aloof from them because they adhere with unflinching fidelity to the Church which they reverently believe is called of God to be the unifying principle of a divided Christendom. Let us rather work with them wherever we can, honouring their loyalty to their faith as we expect them to honour ours, and joyfully believing that the Spirit of God will in His own way and time bring us all to the desired haven of Christian fellowship." [Unity and Missions, pages 223, 224.]

Such words are a happy illustration of the comprehensive spirit in which the questions relating to unity are now being considered.

Anglicans, however, are far from holding that Christian reunion can come only "on the basis of their Church". They do not hold or feel that their own Communion rises to the full ideal of Catholicity. The Episcopal Church does not desire to see all Christians made into "Protestant Episcopalians". What the Anglican Communion desires [11/12] and prays for is that in God's own way she may, together with all Communions, be lifted up into a realization and manifestation of the unity that is in Christ, fuller, holier, more Catholic, than is now seen in any Communion in the world. And to this end the Episcopal Church believes that it is her duty, and that of all other Communions likewise to hold in faithful trust those principles which they believe to be essential and which they regard as vital to Christianity.

Christians of all names should unite, as fully as possible, in practical and social work. This involves no compromise of principle or conviction. If the movement for Protestant Federation related only to forms of civic and social endeavour, it would present no difficulty. But its work is not limited to this sphere. Its prospectus states clearly and specifically that its purpose includes union in religious work.

Its aim is to combine the Protestant Churches and to bring about as far as this is possible a "United Protestantism".

Quite naturally, therefore, its platform embodies and bases itself upon the Protestant principle as to the Church and the Ministry. To this principle it is explicitly and definitely committed. The doctrine of "the essential oneness of the Christian Churches of America", upon which the Federation movement is founded, can not possibly be reconciled with what the Episcopal Church believes to be the teaching of the New Testament, and of our Lord Himself, in regard to His Church.

From this doctrine of the essential oneness of all "the Churches", upon which the Federation platform is built, it follows indisputably, just as the Protestant Communions which are united in the movement believe, that an Episcopally ordained Ministry is unessential, and that the faith of the ancient, undivided Church with regard to the priesthood is a mistake, and official acceptance of the platform signifies endorsement of this position.

[13] The facts here set forth involve no criticism of the platform as such, nor do they furnish any argument against the Federation of Protestant Communions. For them the platform calls for no sacrifice of principle. But it is clear that no Communion which holds the ancient doctrine of the Ministry and Sacraments can, without surrender of faith, commit itself to the Federation Movement.

The Episcopal Church can not rightly be expected to enter into Federated union in religious work on a platform which presupposes and assumes that the doctrine which she holds as to the Church, the Priesthood and the Sacraments is not only unessential but untrue.

There are many ways in which Catholics, Protestants, Jews and all others can unite and co-operate to their own benefit, and to the great advantage of the community. But plainly they can not, without sacrifice of conviction, unite in the ministration and propagation of the Christian religion.

Before there can be union in religious work, there must be agreement as to the essentials of faith. Without this an outward reunion would not be a manifestation of unity. It would probably be a manifestation of the view that belief is of no importance, and of an absence of any definite faith whatever.

It is natural however that the Protestant Communions should form Federations and enter into united religious work. In many cases the differences between these Communions are recognized by themselves to be only of minor importance. There seems to be every reason why Communions which are practically indistinguishable should so unite. For the Protestant Communions Federation may prove, and we pray that it will prove, to be a great gain. But for the Episcopal Church, under present conditions, and until much further progress towards a true unity shall have been achieved, it would be something far more serious than a mistake.

If the Episcopal Church were to adopt the principle on which Federation in this country is based, and on which [13/14] union of religious work in the Mission fields is proposed, she would cut herself off from the fellowship of the Anglican Communion, she would destroy all prospect of her nearer approach to the rest of the Catholic world, she would cast away the hope that God has given her of helping to mediate between, and draw nearer together, the great separated parts of Christendom, Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant, and she would surrender that which she believes that she has received from Jesus Christ in trust not only for herself but for her Protestant brethren, which she believes that they will one day rejoice to claim as their own, and which many of the wisest and most devout among them today would grieve to see her depart from, or treat lightly.

The principle which must govern all our actions in regard to co-operation and union with others in religious work was set forth by the Bishops of the Anglican Communion assembled at the last Lambeth Conference in the following carefully drawn resolution:

"This Conference reaffirms the resolution of the Conference of 1897 that 'Every opportunity should be taken to emphasize the Divine purpose of visible unity amongst Christians as a fact of revelation'. It desires further to affirm that in all partial projects for reunion and inter-communion the final attainment of the Divine purpose should be kept in view as our object; and that care should be taken to do what will advance the reunion of the whole of Christendom, and to abstain from doing anything that will retard or prevent it."

And the Archbishop of Canterbury, in his recent statement with reference to the Kikuyu controversy, a statement the great moderation of which no one has questioned, says:

"If for the sake of securing what looks like a gain in the direction of Church Unity, or of attaining in the Mission field a nearer prospect of a Church in the true sense 'native' we were to treat the question of a threefold ministry as trifling or negligible, it is obvious that we might do irreparable ill to the future life of the Church of Christ in that region of the earth."

Looking at the matter only from the practical point of view, any action on the part of the Anglican Communion [14/15] or of the Episcopal Church which would tend to impair or obscure its historic position as to the Ministry and Sacraments would show a short-sightedness, and a lack of statesmanlike vision strange indeed. It could be explained only on the assumption that we had come to believe in nothing more than a United Protestantism and had no real hope or desire for the reunion of Christendom.

The belief as to the Church and the Ministry which the Episcopal Church holds is that which was held by the whole Christian world for fifteen centuries and which is held by three-fourths of the whole Christian world today. Clearly it would be as mistaken in policy, as it would be wrong in principle, for the Episcopal Church in this matter of her fundamental belief to abandon the position of the majority in order to align herself with the minority, and that a very greatly divided minority.

Whatever the difficulties and obstacles, whether the prospect is encouraging or discouraging, the ideal of the Episcopal Church must for ever be the ultimate reunion of all Christendom.

In all her prayers and plans and efforts, she must have this ideal ever in view. All that she undertakes must be in conformity with this final aim. She can not even entertain the suggestion that because such reunion seems far off she may cease to believe in it and strive for it.

She must welcome any and every step which makes truly in this direction but she must try every proposed measure by the touchstone of this her abiding faith and hope.

She can do nothing for the sake of a seeming temporary gain which would weaken her central position, or lessen her power to help towards the realization of this ultimate ideal, because she believes that this, and this alone, is in accordance with the prayer and the purpose of the Church's Divine Head.

The Episcopal Church has placed herself officially on record through her General Convention, as believing that [15/16] it will be a true step forward if Christians can be brought to consider together fully and frankly, but in the spirit of love and forbearance, the things as to which they are not agreed. With the conviction that the true approach towards reunion is to be made not by ignoring or minimizing real differences but by honest effort, with the help of God's grace, to face and deal with them and, believing that "the time has now arrived when representatives of the whole family of Christ, led by the Holy Spirit, may be willing to come together for the consideration of questions of Faith and Order", she has ventured to suggest the calling of a World Conference and to ask that all Christian Communions throughout the world, which confess Our Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour, will unite in arranging for and conducting such a Conference.

To some this method may seem a slow one. But in efforts towards Christian reunion there can be no place for haste or impatience. God alone is able to bring this to pass and He awaits our readiness to yield ourselves to His Will and to the guidance of His Spirit. The fact that this method is slow is perhaps one of its chief recommendations. We must not try to run ahead of grace. And the way of Conference would seem to be the only one that is now open to us. How else, so far as we can see, can there be advance towards deeper mutual understanding and closer agreement except through consideration and brotherly discussion of the matters that divide us.

We are sometimes asked what the Episcopal Church is prepared to concede, as though this were a necessary preliminary to Conference. The answer is that no Communion is asked to say whether it will concede anything. All are asked simply to confer. The purpose of meeting in this way is to understand more fully the position of those from whom we differ, to enter more clearly into what others think, what their convictions are, on what grounds they hold them and why they feel them to be of vital importance. In a Conference men come [16/17] together not to argue but to explain, and if possible to make more clear their positions to each other.

If concessions are to be made by any, these would naturally come after the gathering, as a result of it, and not before it. It has in fact been agreed by all from the beginning that in connection with the World Conference there should be no discussion of points of difference until the gathering itself meets.

We hope that when the time comes, the Episcopal Church will be found ready, for the sake of reunion, to concede everything that can rightly be conceded. But she can not concede anything believed by her to be a matter of principle or an essential part of God's revelation of Truth, nor would she desire to see any other Communion do so. We should no more think it right that others should do this than that we should do it ourselves.

Concession, whether by individuals or by Communions, is morally justifiable only in matters which are seen to be non-essential. No one has the right to sacrifice a real conviction for the sake of fuller intercourse or closer fellowship.

The true manifestation of unity can not be brought about by concession, on either hand, of that which is believed to be essential. The way toward reunion must be prepared by fuller faith, truer sympathy, and growth in the knowledge and spirit of Christ our Lord. Reunion in Him will come not by surrender of the truth, or of that which is believed to be such, but by deeper entrance into the truth, under the guidance of God's spirit, so that all may progress toward a common mind.

In this growth of sympathy and understanding direct personal contact, human fellowship, is a most important factor, and it is the opportunity which it provides for such contact, through the years of preparation as well as at the gathering itself, which seems to constitute one great value of the method of Conference.

[18] The Conference is suggested in the hope and belief that truer understanding of divergent views may lessen some of the difficulties and remove others entirely. It is believed that, at least in some cases, candid and loving consideration will show that those who seemed furthest away from us in belief are nearer than we thought, that they are emphasizing a part of the truth of which we had in some measure lost sight, or a principle which we need more to emphasize. We do not pretend to know how the different principles can be reconciled. But we do know that God is able to do that which is far beyond our power or knowledge, and we believe that such an effort as this is according to His Will.

It is definitely provided that no Communion can be in any way compromised by the presence of its representatives at the Conference. It is to have no legislative powers of any sort. It is not the business of the Conference to arrange terms or to formulate definite plans of reunion between separated Communions. Any such action could be undertaken only by the Communions themselves. The aim of the Conference would be to inspire and prepare the way for action. It is to be only a Conference on Faith and Order looking towards Christian reunion, and in its carefully restricted scope perhaps lies its hope of service. Certainly no principles can be impaired or compromised by participation in a Conference at which each Communion, through its own chosen representatives, shall have full opportunity, without limitation and with the assurance of patient and sympathetic hearing, to present to all who are assembled the truth which it holds and believes.

The fact that such a Conference, to include the whole Christian world, Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant, can be seriously considered is in itself epoch marking and it shows that we are progressing on the road towards reunion. It is the first time since the separations of the sixteenth century that there has been such a proposal to bring together Christians from all Communions, with the [18/19] thought of reunion in their hearts and prayers, on the basis of belief in the Godhead of their Common Saviour. It is at least encouraging that after centuries of estrangement and division Christian men should now be planning to come together for face to face consideration of the things which have separated them, not to sacrifice conviction, but to speak the truth faithfully to each other in love with the hope of finding the way to closer fellowship.

Who shall measure the moral and spiritual influence of such a gathering, its effect upon the minds, the imagination and the faith of men, or the results that may flow from it?

The difficulties in the way of bringing about a World Conference of this character are manifest, but the progress so far made has been greater than the most sanguine would have dared to anticipate five years ago when the proposal was made. Already more than fifty Religious Communions in all parts of the world, including the Anglican Communion in its various branches, have identified themselves with the undertaking, and have appointed Commissions or Committees to represent them.

Assurances of support for the movement have been received from high dignitaries of the Eastern Churches and the matter is under favourable discussion in the Holy Orthodox Church of Russia. The proposal has also received the warm commendation of many eminent dignitaries of the Roman Catholic Church, and, through the Papal Secretary, Cardinal Gasparri, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XV has recently expressed his personal interest in it with the assurance of his prayers for the right guidance of the undertaking and for its prosperous issue.

At the precise moment when the present war broke out, a deputation was about to start from this country to lay the matter formally before the authorities of the Churches in Europe and the East. This mission has only been deferred, and it is to be carried into effect just as soon as the conditions admit of it.

[20] It seemed at first as though the breaking out of the war were an almost fatal blow to the hopes for the World Conference. In God's ordering it may prove to have been far otherwise. As a result of the fearful experience through which the world is passing men may be more ready to listen to suggestions of this nature. Out of the great struggle may come forces making powerfully for closer union and concord. With all its horrors the war seems to be bringing the world into closer relation. It is opening doors, casting down barriers and drawing the ends of the earth together. On the whole we may believe that it is making towards world-brotherhood. It has compelled men to see more clearly than ever the weakness and ineffectiveness of a Christianity disunited, and divided against itself. It is suggesting to many the relation of a United Christendom to the hope of a lasting world peace. It is bringing men to see that the only real hope of peace for the world is in the religion of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. May not one result of the war be an opportunity without precedent in history for some such effort, some such coming together of the Christian forces, as the World Conference movement proposes?

And may not all Christians of whatever name be rightly asked to pray, at their Masses and at their Prayer Meetings, for God's guidance and blessing for this effort which has as its only object the drawing into closer contact and understanding of all who believe in and love the Lord Jesus Christ, and the bringing somewhat nearer of that unity for which He Himself prayed, and still prays, the need of which was never so tragically manifest as it is now?

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