Index > Interconfessional Dialogues > JWG > 2nd Second Official Rep. | CONT. > Part II, 3
   I. GENERAL REMARKS - select
   2. UNITY AND MISSION - select
3. Laity and Unity
   4. SERVICE TO HUMANITY - select
   6. BIBLE TRANSLATION - select


3. Laity and Unity

a) Conversations on the Role of the Laity

The role of the laity in the ecumenical movement, which statements on both sides have constantly affirmed, has received high priority in the Joint Working Group's discussions from the beginning. The first informal discussion on laity questions took place at Glion, Switzerland, in January 1964, jointly sponsored by the Permanent Committee for International Congresses of the Lay Apostolate of the Roman Catholic Church (COPECIAL) and the Division of Ecumenical Action of the World Council of Churches. This meeting was followed up by an Ecumenical Consultation at Gazzada, Italy, in September 1965, sponsored by COPECIAL and the Laity Department of the World Council of Churches.

There has been co-operation also in the program planning of the forthcoming Third World Congress for the Lay Apostolate (Rome, October 1967), to which the various churches, the World Council of Churches, and also the World Alliance of YMCA's and the World YWCA have been invited to send observer-consultants. These and other non-Catholic lay observer-consultants, proposed by national Catholic delegations to the Congress, will fully participate in the discussions and seminars.

The establishment of the Pontifical Council on the Laity with a permanent secretariat in Rome has opened up new possibilities. On the one hand, the type of co-operation begun with COPECIAL can continue on a more official and permanent basis, Since COPECIAL'S work will be absorbed by the Consilium after the forthcoming World Congress; the Consilium, at its first meeting, favorably considered tentative plans suggested by the WCC Laity Department for a further consultation along the lines of Glion and Gazzada. On the other hand, new forms of cooperation will be able to develop as soon as the relation of the Consilium to the various Lay Catholic International Organizations is clearly structured.

b) Women's Co-operation

Ecumenical conversation between women at international level began at Vicarello, near Rome, in October 1965. This was a meeting of lay women, deaconesses, and religious on the changing role of women and forms of service in the Churches. It was sponsored by the Secretariat for Unity and the WCC Department on Co-operation between Men and Women in Church, Family and Society. The conversations have been continued between groups from COPECIAL and the WCC Department during preparation for the Third World Congress of the Lay Apostolate.

In June 1966, a meeting for women from various organizations on either side, was held at Crêt-Bérard, Switzerland, focusing on:

- Ecumenical education at "grass-roots" level.

- Possibility of common action through joint projects of service to humanity, etc.

This meeting was sponsored by the WCC Department on Co-operation and the Conference of Catholic International Organizations; they also sponsored, from June 19-24, 1967, a Conference at Taizé, bringing together some 100 women, most of them national executives of Church-related organizations. The theme of the Conference was "Christian Women - Co-artisans of a Changing Society."

c) Education - General and Religious

There are many aspects in the field of Christian education which need discussion and present opportunities of collaboration. Roman Catholic observers have already participated in the Joint Study Commission on Education sponsored by the World Council of Churches and the World Council of Christian Education. Several significant regional developments have taken place. The Joint Working Group is agreed that closer contacts should be established, and is exploring the possibilities.


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