For the second time within a year in an ecumenical setting, the Anglican archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev. Donald Coggan, has made a plea for "joint participation in the Sacrament of the Eucharist" by Anglicans and Roman Catholics.
Archbishop Coggan's most recent plea came last month in London's Roman Catholic Westminster Cathedral at an ecumenical service marking the close of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
During a visit to Rome last April, the spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion questioned whether the work of joint evangelization by Roman Catholics and Anglicans would not be seriously weakended until the two were able to undertake the work while "strengthened by joint participartion" in the Eucharist.
As George Basll Cardinal Hume, Archibishop of Westminster, listened, Archbishop Coggan complained about the slow pace that he said had marked progress in joint evangelistic work between the two communions over the past decade.
Archbishop Coggan said evangelism is not the task of a small coterie within the church but is the task incumbent on every baptized member of the church, part of a Christian's highest privilege.
He acknowledged the "wonderful meausre" of Anglican-Roman Catholic unity already achieved.
"But," he said, "let us confess it. The impact that we make on a word, which like the Greeks in St. John's Gospel 'who would see Jesus,' is pathetically feeble. The witness we bear is muted. The vision we share is blurred.