APPENDIX I: REPORT ON ACTIVITIES
recent years there has been a rapid growth in cooperation between
the Roman Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches. Joint
studies and projects were initially still regarded as the exception
and only proposed rather tentatively but joint planning has increasingly
become the rule. A marked extension of cooperation to many new areas
of activity followed the adoption of the first official report in
1966. This cooperation is now so varied and extensive that it would
be difficult to give a complete survey.
cooperation stimulated by the Joint Working Group forms only a limited
section of the total field of ecumenical collaboration, and one
which cannot be isolated from the work of the ecumenical movement
as a whole. The present report, however, is restricted to the specific
responsibilities of the Joint Working Group and deals with what
has been achieved since the second official report, published in
The Faith and Worship of the Churches
The Commission on Faith and Order
Catholic theologians have increasingly participated as observer-consultants
in the studies undertaken by the Commission both at a regional level
and at a world level. A notable step forward was registered following
the second official report in 1967. With the agreement of the Roman
Catholic Church, the Uppsala Assembly of the World Council of Churches
invited nine Roman Catholic theologians to become members of the
Commission on Faith and Order. Among current studies in the general
framework of Faith and Order the following examples may be cited:
1. Studies on the Authority of the Bible
1967 report had stressed the importance of this theme. A document
prepared by the Faith and Order Commission is now being studied
by a number of regional groups, most of which have Roman Catholic
members. Roman Catholic faculties and other similar centers have
displayed special interest in the subject. At least three of the
groups at work are predominantly Roman Catholic in membership (in
Spain, France and Germany).
2. Worship Studies
World Council of Churches was invited to send observers to the meetings
of the council set up to implement the Second Vatican Council's
Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. Official links between this
council and the Faith and Order Commission were established in the
spring of 1968. It became clear in the discussions that even in
this field joint study of many questions is possible.
In the course of the sixth and seventh meetings
of the Joint Working Group, in December 1967 and May 1968, much
time was devoted to the problem of intercommunion. The Joint Working
Group looked at the theological and liturgical aspects of intercommunion.
In December 1968 it decided to suspend its work in this field although
keeping the subject on its agenda, since the Faith and Order Commission
(now enlarged to include the participation of Roman Catholic theologians)
was initiating a study of intercommunion. (A provisional study paper
has since been published with the title "Beyond Intercommunion:
On the Way to Communion in the Eucharist," in Study Encounter,
5, 3 (1969) 94 ff.).
Joint Theological Commission on Catholicity and Apostolicity
second official report described the membership and first meeting
of this Joint Theological Commission, which has pursued its work
in two further meetings. The results of its discussions so far have
been summarized in a report already published in French and English.
This document seeks to define the two terms "catholicity"
and "apostolicity" with a view to establishing the areas
of agreement which could provide a starting point for future ecclesiological
studies within the ecumenical movement. It also tries to determine
which theological problems are in most urgent need of attention
in view of the rapid development of both the ecumenical movement
and theology, and the consequences of this development in the life
of the churches.
only fourteen members, the Commission could hardly claim to represent
the whole spectrum of confessional traditions and theological trends.
A much wider circle of theologians was therefore consulted before
the document was given in its final form.
At its meeting in May 1970, the Joint Working
Group agreed to adopt the report and recommended its publication2.
It was hoped that this would ensure that the document was circulated
in colleges, ecumenical groups and institutions, the Faith and Order
Commission, National Christian Councils, ecumenical and theological
commissions of Episcopal Conferences and other similar bodies.
August 1970 a consultation was held to draft a list of questions
raised in the discussions to which the Faith and Order Commission
should give priority in its future work. This 1970 consultation
also prepared recommendations for presentation to the meeting of
the Faith and Order Commission at Louvain in August 1971.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
team of representatives of the Faith and Order Commission and of
the Roman Catholic centers working in this field was set up in accordance
with the recommendations made by the joint consultation held in
October 1966, referred to in the second official report of the Joint
Working Group. This team has met regularly since. As a result it
has been possible to plan the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
jointly. The consequence has been a far greater measure of cooperation
and common prayer in the actual celebration of the Week than ever
The Date of Easter
Joint Working Group recognized in its second official report that
there was no easy or speedy way to solid agreement between all the
churches on the date of Easter.
bring this agreement nearer, a consultation was organized by the
Faith and Order Commission at the Orthodox Center at Chambésy,
Geneva, from March 16-20, 1970. Three Roman Catholic observer consultants
participated in the consultation, representing the Secretariat for
consultation felt that there were two possibilities:
Either to fix Easter on the Sunday following the first full moon
after the spring equinox (employing the Gregorian calendar, which
takes March 21 as the spring equinox and adopts scientific astronomical
methods to determine full moon). This solution would respect the
ancient rule as adopted by the Council of Nicea.
Or to choose a fixed Sunday in April. This solution, too, respects
the wishes of the Council of Nicea in the sense that the main concern
of the Council was to arrive at an agreed date, although, of course,
it does not follow the strict letter of the decision usually attributed
to the Council.
The consultation expressed its preference for
the second alternative and suggested the Sunday following the second
Saturday in April, though it had no objection to another Sunday
being chosen if this would make the adoption of a common date for
Easter possible for all Christians and in particular for all the
Appendix III. The text has been published in Irénikon,
43, 2 (1970) 163-200 and in One in Christ 4, 3 (1970)
full text of this report will be found in the Ecumenical
Review 23, 2 (1971) 176-181.