REPORT ON WORK SO FAR ACHIEVED WITH RECOMMENDATIONS
FOR ITS CONTINUATION
1. The Faith and Worship of the
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
whatever purpose Christians come together they will also meet for
common prayer. Those who believe in Christ know that they depend
on Him for everything. For this reason the separated Christians
will only be able to advance on the way to unity if, again and again,
they turn together to God through Christ in the Holy Spirit and
ask for renewed clarity and freedom.
Joint Working Group concerned itself first with the problem of "worship
at ecumenical gatherings." Some guidelines were attached to
the first official report. Since then it has dealt, in the first
place, with the "Week of Prayer for Christian Unity."
From the beginning of the ecumenical movement, this week has been
the source of many new initiatives. Today it is being observed by
more and more Churches. The Joint Working Group, desiring to serve
the churches in this observance, made therefore arrangements for
arriving at a fuller measure of agreement both on the concept of
prayer for unity and on ways of preparing for the Week of Prayer.
A consultation organized by the Secretariat for Promoting Christian
Unity and the Secretariat on Faith and Order (October 16-20,1966)
came to the following conclusions:
A team shall be formed consisting of representatives of the Faith
and Order Commission and of the Roman Catholic centers working in
The task of this team shall primarily consist in the annual preparation
of the leaflet for the Week of Prayer at the free disposal of Churches
and Council of Churches.
(iii) The churches in the various countries shall be encouraged
to adapt the text of the leaflet according to their needs. The adaptation
in each country should be made, as far as possible, in ecumenical
The week is not observed on the same date in all countries. While
the majority keep the week January 18-25, come countries, for different
reasons, have chosen other dates (especially the period between
Ascension and Pentecost). None of these dates is to be considered
as universally binding, but it is important that all churches in
one country should observe the Week of Prayer on the same date.
(For more details see report from the Consultation published in
One in Christ, July 1967).
The Date of Easter
efforts to reach a common date for Easter accepted by all Christians
have been continued. The World Council of Churches has organized
an inquiry on the subject and many of the member Churches have already
sent in their replies. The question will be further examined on
the basis of these replies. The Roman Catholic Church has created
a commission for the study of the issue. The Joint Working Group
is aware of the difficulties involved in this problem. A solution
cannot be expected in the near future, since it must be based on
solid agreement between all the churches.
The Theological Commission on Catholicity and Apostolicity
In the first official report, the joint Working Group proposed the
establishment of a Joint Theological Commission of the Secretariat
for Promoting Christian Unity and the Secretariat on Faith and Order.
This commission has now been appointed and has held its first meeting
(May 19-24, 1967). It is not yet ready with any results. If it is
to deal in full with the subject entrusted to it, the deepest differences
between the churches need to be examined and discussed. This will
demand a considerable amount of time. The Commission consists of
the following members:
Prof. Giuseppe Alberigo
Prof. Jean Bosc
Rev. Raymond E. Brown, s.s.
Rév. Alexandre Ganoczy Hochw.
Rév. Père Jérôme Hamer, o.p.
Rev. Prof. John Kelly
Dom Emmanuel Lanne, o.s.b.
Rev. Prof. John Meyendorff
Prof. Paul Minear
Prof. Wolfhart Pannenberg
Dr. R. Schnackenburg
Rev. Dr. Lukas Vischer
Prof. Claude Welch
Rev. Prof. Jan Witte, s.j.
Authority of the Bible
certain exegetical and theological trends have a considerable impact
on the search for the visible unity among Christians, the Joint
Working Group intends to study the problem of the authority of the
Bible and of its interpretation under both ecumenical and pastoral