... is the name it started off with at the start of the twentieth century, when it was begun by a community of American Anglican Papalist Franciscans. Originally, this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity linked the Feast of the Cathedra of S Peter on January 18 with that of the Conversion of S Paul on the 25th.
Autobiographically speaking, as a 75 year-old, I now feel conned.
When I was an undergraduate in the early 1960s, this Week was, in Oxford and elsewhere, one of the big events of the year. Prayer booklets were issued every year, giving intentions for each day of the Octave and liturgical formulae for use at the (many) prayer meetings that took place all over the University. Christian Unity was the imperative; the overwhelming need if the Church was to bear united witness to her Lord. It took precedence over anything, everything else. It was pointed out, over and over again, that John 17 means that the Unity of the Lord's people is rooted in and required by the inner life of the Trinity itself; we were to be One, that our Oneness might be the same Oneness as that shared by Father and Son in the koinonia of the Spirit, "so that the World may believe". Anything that delayed or obstructed such a Unity was deeply wrong.
So there was much regret that 'the Roman Church' had 'placed a new obstacle' in the way of unity a decade earlier by defining the dogma of the Bodily Assumption of the Theotokos. Anglo-Catholics like me were made to feel awkward because our views on the necessity of episcopacy were an an obstacle to pan-Protestant unity. I so far went along with all this that, a little later, as a young priest, I voted in favour of the then current scheme for Anglican Methodist Unity, satisfied by the assurances of Dr Eric Kemp (one of its authors) that the Scheme had been carefully constructed to include a service adequate to confer conditionally Priestly Ordination upon the Methodist clergy.
Now, more than half a century later, we are told that things really aren't as simple as that. Christian Unity is still, indeed, technically, a good thing ... Oh definitely ... technically. But, apparently, we were wrong to accept a simplistic notion that Unity was the one, the only one, the over-riding imperative of the Spirit. How terribly silly we were! We should, apparently, have realised (I don't remember anyone explaining this at the time) that there were many other things which would easily trump the need for Unity: particularly the Spirit-filled Gospel Imperative, a matter of the purest Justice, to ordain women to priestly ministries. Just as Pius XII thought he was right in 1950 to create a new obstacle to unity just because it was true, so the liberals of the 1980s deemed themselves absolutely right to do precisely the same. Now, they are peremptorily demanding ex animo and de fide assent to their most newly defined divisive dogma, the Sanctity of Sodomy. Well I never. Who would ever have thought it.
What gullible fools we were, I was, back in those 1960s, ever to take them at their word.
Never trust a Liberal. As the slippery b****r looks you straight in the eye, clasps your hand with warm manly sincerity, and assures you on his honour that something-or-other really is the case, always remember that a few decades later (or sooner if it suits him) he'll sneer at you and say 'Did I really say that? I think you must have misunderstood me'. It's not that they're consciously dishonest; it's simply that their own unstable fancies and fantasies slither around in such undisciplined and unpredictable ways that they easily slide into a duplicity which they are too self-obsessed even to notice.
And, before he leaves your house, count the spoons. He may have nuanced views on spoons.