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In the April 1, 2013 issue of The Catholic Voice, Bishop Emeritus John S. Cummins shared the remarks he gave as an invocation at the GTU's 50th Anniversary Gala. Below is a brief excerpt and link to the full remarks.
My thoughts on this Golden Jubilee have drifted to time and tide. St. Paul spoke of "the acceptable time." William Shakespeare placed on the lips of Brutus, "There is a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood leads in to fortune." Dr. Martin Marty of our day — Chicagoan, Lutheran, professor, columnist — has added specificity: "Not until mid-20th Century was it possible for most of Protestantism to take a second look at the means for overcoming problems of disunity."
An index of his historical observation was the creation in Geneva in 1948, almost exactly mid-century, of the World Council of Churches. The organization included mainline communities, with Anglican and Orthodox participants as well. Catholics remained cautious, present only as observers. Yet Rome at that time encouraged its bishops to promote ecumenism and appoint suitable priests for study and participation in the movement.
In a decade, modest words spoke of "the beginnings of discussion among several San Francisco Bay Area schools, leading to an exchange of scholars and the sharing of library resources."
In the same decade in another part of the world came Pope John XXIII, elected in October 1958, proposing in January 1959 a Council, one of whose purposes would be to serve Christian unity.
Bay Area conversations by 1962 announced a conclusion: "The experiences have proved so promising that a common doctoral program was agreed upon and incorporated under the laws of the state of California as the Graduate Theological Union." The convener of the group modestly exclaimed that it was "the pooling of our poverty."
Original post: "GTU at 50 - work of a sacred character" http://www.catholicvoiceoakland.org/2013/04-01/inthisissue13.htm