Augustin Cardinal Bea, head of the Vatican's Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, will come to Harvard this Spring. He has accepted an invitation from President Pusey to attend the Roman Catholic-Protestant Colloquium to be held at the Harvard Divinity School in late March.
One of the principal figures at the current Vatican Ecumenical Council, Cardinal Bea was encouraged to come to Boston by Richard Cardinal Cushing.
Leading Protestant theologians and representatives of the Roman Catholic Church I have been invited to the conference "to discuss the issues that both unite and divide them," according to Samuel H. Miller, dean of the Faculty of Divinity.
The Divinity School conference, the first of its kind to be held at the University, is a response to the Ecumenical the Council now in progress. "It represents a deep concern for serious mutual understanding with our Catholic colleagues," Miller said.
120 Theologians to Attend
The four-day colloquium will open the evening of March 27, when the guests will assemble at the Divinity School.
Next morning 120 theologians and special students invited from Greater Boston will attend four closed seminars on religious topics. The seminars, which will also be held on the mornings of March 29 and 30, will each be led by one Catholic and one Protestant representative.
Cardinal Bea is widely regarded as the intellectual leader of the world movement for Christian unity. For the last three years he has conducted an extensive international letter writing campaign on behalf of the unity movement.
Bea was often referred to as one of the leaders of the liberal group during the Ecumenical Council in matters of Church reform. His views on Christian unity were generally regarded as highly liberal before the Council was convoked, but won popularity in moderate circles in the course of Council discussions.
Also, Cardinal Bea has given a number of addresses on the subject of Christian Unity, including one delivered last year to a convention of French intellectuals.
B.U. to Honor Bea
While in the United States, Cardinal Bea will attend convocation ceremonies at Boston University, where he will receive an honorary degree. He is expected to give a number of lectures throughout New England.
The conference is being offered under the auspices of the Chauncy Stillman Chair of Catholic Studies, which has been left vacant by Christopher Dawson's departure for England Dawson was, the first professor to hold the chair.
The Divinity School had hoped to bring the Thomist scholar Etienne Gilson from France to fill the professorship. When a sudden illness prevented Gilson from coming, it was decided to use the funds from the chair to sponsor the conference.
Chairman of the committee that is organizing the conference is Amos N. Wilder, Hottis Professor of Divinity.