Section VII of the Denver Report began with these words, "Problems
connected with authority have exercised the Commission from the
beginning of our conversations, and have cropped up during our discussions
of other themes, e.g. ministry, eucharist. We do not feel that our
direct discussions on this theme have been more than exploratory...
discussions on this subject will be a necessary item on any future
agenda of Roman Catholic/Methodist conversation"43.
Since Denver we have not been oblivious of this necessity, but unfortunately
this field is the one in which we suffered most delay in enlisting
the kind of cooperation on which our general plan of work depended44.
It is perhaps understandable that no one should be eager to embark
lightly on so difficult a subject, but in the end it was yet again
the English joint commission that came to the rescue. By the time
they did so, it was too late to have any reasonable expectation
of material in a form suitable to be included here, though what
we have seen (especially a paper on "Authority in Doctrine", by
the Rev. Rupert Davies) suggests that yet another valuable contribution
to the dialogue is in prospect. This paper and section VII of the
Denver Report both justify the hope that Roman Catholic/Methodist
discussion has a distinctive contribution to make to a crucial subject
- a distinctiveness which will not be compromised if attention is
given to parallel discussions elsewhere. Examples of these are the
discussions in progress in the Anglican/ Roman Catholic International
Commission and the national Lutheran/Roman Catholic dialogue in
the U.S.A. It seems clear that the next stage of our conversations
will have to take this subject as a principal one on its agenda.
Proceedings, § 99, p. 60.
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Professor Norman Young, to whom the Commission
has been indebted for generous help in several fields, did supply
us at our 1973 meeting with an interesting reflection on the
question From the background of Australian dialogue.
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