Malines Conversations

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The Malines Conversations were a series of informal discussions exploring possibilities of corporate reunion between the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England.


The conversations were held in the Belgian primatial see of Malines (now normally referred to as Mechelen) from 1921 to 1927, largely on the initiative of Cardinal Mercier, but with tacit support from the Vatican and the Archbishops of Canterbury and York Randall Davidson and Cosmo Gordon Lang.

The number of participants varied but included on the Anglican side Lord Halifax, Bishops Frere and Gore and Armitage Robinson (Dean of Wells). The Catholic participants included Mercier himself, Batiffol, Hemmer, Portal and Mercier's successor van Roey, who wound up the conversations in 1927. Dom Lambert Beauduin's 1925 paper L'église anglicane unie, mais non absorbée was particularly remarked.[who?]

Van Roey was personally less favourable to the idea of unity than his predecessor, and Cardinal Bourne, Archbishop of Westminster, successfully urged the Vatican to withdraw its encouragement, in line with Leo XIII's bull Apostolicae curae (1896), which had denied validity to Anglican orders.


  • Walter Howard Frere, Recollections of Malines, 1935.
  • George Bell, Life of Randall Davidson, 1935.
  • Balthasar Fischer, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, Band 2, 1994, p. 110.