This book discusses the different understandings of 'catholicity' that emerged in the interactions between the Church of England and other churches - particularly the Roman Catholic Church and later the Old Catholic Churches - from the early 1830s to the early 1880s. It presents a pre-history of ecumenism, which isolates some of the most distinctive features of the ecclesiological positions of the different churches as these developed through the turmoil of the nineteenth century. It explores the historical imagination of a range of churchmen and theologians, who sought to reconstruct their churches through an encounter with the past whose relevance for the construction of identity in the present went unquestioned. The past was no foreign country but instead provided solutions to the perceived dangers facing the church of the present. Key protagonists are John Henry Newman and Edward Bouverie Pusey, the leaders of the Oxford Movement, as well as a number of other less well-known figures who made their distinctive mark on the relations between the churches. The key event in reshaping the terms of the debates between the churches was the Vatican Council of 1870, which put an end to serious dialogue for a very long period, but which opened up new avenues for the Church of England and other non-Roman European churches including the Orthodox. In the end, however, ecumenism was halted in the 1880s by an increasingly complex European situation and an energetic expansion of the British Empire, which saw the rise of Pan-Anglicanism at the expense of ecumenism.
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