According to its Constitution the first object of the Church Union is to promote and renew Catholic faith and life within the Church of England and elsewhere. It goes on to list seven specific tasks, some of which are also the major task of other organisations. The fostering of vocations has been the major task of ACS, and retreats the task of the Association for Promoting Retreats. Publishing is likewise a task that we share with others. This must never be a cause of conflict but of sharing in our common work.
The Union’s second object is in the area of social concern. As Catholic Morals are under increasing pressure in the Church of England this area will need increased and diligent attention. We cannot be content with a post Christian morality and must, together with Evangelicals, strive to re-assert traditional standards of Christian life. I cannot believe that the ordinary people in the pews appreciate the continued attack on Biblical standards.
The Third object is working for visible Unity. The present crisis in Catholic Anglicanism has led to anti-Romanism in some circles. We most steadfastly resist this. Our commitment to Christian Unity must be worked out and sincere. The present problem we face is the result of our own church’s disobedience and total disregard for the ecumenical imperative. What does unity mean in a church which is steadily moving in a pan-Protestant direction. Porvoo is not a happy catholic scheme. Bishop Gartner of Sweden recently described it as a ‘diminution of the Church of England’s catholicity’. We need a new commitment to convergence with Rome and the Orthodox.
The fourth object of the Union is to defend the Catholicity of the Church of England. That has always been a task the Union has shared with others. As the Forward in Faith assemblies work and develop they will create a demand in which the Union has a major part to play.
The Unions development depends upon a vigorous adoption of the tasks contained in its own Constitution. For too long we have been content to think that statements equal action. Now we must put our statements into action.
Father John Broadhurst. Member of the CU Executive, National Chairman of Forward in Faith