Today is the start of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity which runs 18th-25th January every year. Relations between churches have changed enormously over the last fifty years or so, not least from the Catholic perspective. Unfortunately, however, things seem to have slowed down in recent years, at least on the "official" level of popes, bishops and theologians. One of the main reasons is the internal decisions and difficulties of various denominations. On the world level, relations between the Catholic Church and Orthodoxy are far more significant than between the Catholic Church and various Anglican and Protestant communities.
On the local level things are often going a little better, with a huge thaw in good relations between local churches and clergy. In May I come to the end of my term as Chair of our local Churches Together in Llanishen. We've rejigged the Chain of Prayer from something that happened one day a year, to a monthly hour of prayer. Last year we moved our annual event of witness to a Walk past Roath Park at Pentecost followed by a shared picnic. However, we have had some minuses too - for example, we've just heard that the Lenten discussion groups will not take place this year.
I cannot understand brother priests who feel free to opt out of this aspect of our work, in a way that they would not do in other parts of priestly duties. It's sometimes tedious, other times nothing seems to be happening, but we have come a long way - which would not have happened if we all just sat back and declared ourseves absent from the fray.
All of which is by way of saying that five of us clergy had another good lunch at the Three Arches today, as we do every other month more or less. Three of us had the All Day Breakfast (under £4 when you get it off the special menu, but more if you get it off the ordinary menu - same dish. Naughty pub!). I have to admit that one of the reasons I like these lunches is that I feel better afterwards. We Catholics can be very good whingers about the state of the Church and parish life - but... well... umm, compared to some of our brothers and sisters from other churches... And, oh yes, thank God for the Catholic Church in its humanity - I was the only one to have a pint! ps Rev James, of course, since you ask...