The announcement that the wife of an Anglican bishop has become a Catholic was made by the Church of Ireland itself - presumably to counter possible leaks to the media.
It had the backing of two local bishops who indicated their support for the individual involved.
Anita Henderson, the wife of the Bishop of Tuam, the Rt Rev Dr Richard Henderson, had indicated that, after great soul-searching, she had decided to become a Catholic.
Accordingly, on Sunday last, she was officially received into the Catholic Church in the private chapel of Bishop Dr John Fleming of Ballina, Co Mayo. She was accompanied during the ceremony by her husband and family.
This was a private ceremony, but because of Mrs Henderson's position as the bishop's wife, it was felt important that this should be made known publicly, though both she and her husband indicated that after the announcement they would like this to be regarded as a family matter.
There have been other conversions over the decades, but there is no record in recent times of a Church of Ireland bishop's wife taking this step.
Her husband, and Bishop Fleming, were understandably supportive. They said in a joint statement that Mrs Henderson's decision was a matter of conscience and added: "We trust that people of goodwill will share in this. We commend her for her honesty and courage."
Some people may be critical of such a move, but the vast majority will be supportive of Mrs Henderson, and not least those in her husband's Diocese.
The manner in which this has been handled says much about the good relations between the Church of Ireland and Catholics in the Republic.
Most people would have been equally understanding if this had involved a Northern Ireland bishop and his wife, though the cultural differences between north and south are such that others on this side of the border might have found the move more difficult to understand.
In the wider Anglican Church, however, there is a broader view. A significant section of the Church of England would still favour initiatives towards greater communion with Rome.
The Vatican, in turn, has accepted a number of married Protestant clerics who have been become disillusioned with aspects of Anglicanism, though Pope Benedict XVI has made it clear that there will be no slackening of the insistence on celibacy for Catholic clergy.
Despite the long-term aspirations of some Anglicans for more unity with Rome, this remains a remote possibility, and the recent claim by the Vatican that in effect Catholicism is the "only true Church" has greatly annoyed many Reformed Christians.
The Protestant Churches have said little in public, but they have made their views clear.
Recently, for example, a leading Church of Ireland cleric has criticised the Vatican for claiming that "Christian communities born out of the Reformation cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called Churches in the proper sense."
The Rev Canon Professor John Bartlett, former principal of the Church of Ireland Theological College, stated: "It cannot be right to patronise our fellow-Christians by saying to them 'You do not belong'." Professor Bartlett was politely indicating - though not in these words - that members of the Reformed Churches were not going to recognise this Vatican claim, and that they were fully prepared to defend their beliefs accordingly.
In essence, the Church of Ireland and the Catholic Church have a good working relationship, and this was underlined by the sensitive manner in which Mrs Henderson's conversion was handled.
This, however, was a personal issue, and the much larger question of structural unity is an entirely different matter.
The deep differences between these Churches in their theology and practice will continue to exist as they have done for centuries, albeit more recently in a spirit of Christian charity.
Happily, however, individuals like Mrs Henderson are now much more free than in earlier decades to follow their conscience by remaining or becoming members of the Church of their choice.