.- The Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops of England and Wales organized an unprecedented two-day joint meeting in Leeds this week. Forty Anglican and 30 Catholic bishops prayed and worshipped together on Nov. 14 and 15, and discussed how to heal the historic rift between them. They also discussed the rise of secularism in the United Kingdom.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor were to issue a joint statement on the importance of working together and how to overcome the differences that remain between the two churches.
The joint meeting comes one week before Archbishop Williams, the leader of the Worldwide Anglican Communion, is scheduled to meet with Pope Benedict in Rome. The visit will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the meeting between Pope Paul VI and the late Anglican Archbishop Michael Ramsey.
Christian unions banned
In the course of their meetings, the UK bishops were also urged to consider helping thousands of Christian students at British universities from having their student societies banned, reported the Times Online.
Dr. Peter May, member of the Church of England General Synod and head of the Universities and Christian Colleges Fellowship, addressed the issue of Christian student unions in a letter to the bishops.
"If CUs (Christian unions) uphold orthodox Christian teaching, they can find themselves banned from using campus buildings for their activities or promoting them, their SU (Student Union) bank accounts frozen, and removed from the official list of SU societies on campus," the letter states.
The three cases cited include Birmingham University Christian Union, banned from the official list of societies after it refused to amend its constitution to allow non-Christians to become executive committee members; Exeter University Christian Union, ordered to change its name to Evangelical Christian Union and suspended until it complies, and Edinburgh University, where the Christian Union has also been banned and was refused permission to run a Bible-based course on relationships on campus.
The Exeter Christian Union has served notice on the university and the Guild of Students that it is taking legal action under the 1998 Human Rights Act.