Index > Interconfessional Dialogues > JWG > Seventh Rep. | CONT. > Part V
FOREWORD - select

III. ACTIVITIES OF THE JWG, 1991-1998 - select
A. The unity of the church – the goal and the way
B. Common witness
C. Ecumenical Formation

Prospects for the Future (1998-2005)
 APPENDIX A - select
 APPENDIX B - select
 APPENDIX C - select
 APPENDIX D - select



1. Over the seven-year period of its mandate, the JWG has tried to meet its given priorities. But its overloaded agenda, the sensitivity of many of the issues it dealt with, its short annual meetings and the limited financial resources at its disposal did not allow the JWG adequately to assess the ecumenical situation and specific developments at regional, national and local levels, or to cover the whole pattern of relationships between the RCC and the WCC and its member churches.

In the face of its limited resources of time and staff, the JWG had to limit the scope of its agenda and carefully ration the time spent together.

2. The JWG strongly recommends that two general priorities should be continued in the next period.

i) Both the WCC and the RCC are committed to a common, integrated vision of the one ecumenical movement which tries, in its diversity of expressions, emphases and activities, to hold together the interrelated dimensions of the churches' faith and life, mission, witness and service. But, in the words of the PCPCU response to the WCC's draft statement on CUV, "the oneness of the movement is both blessed with authentic diversity and often challenged and burdened with contradictions, even conflicts, and with competing criteria of judgments concerning what are ecumenical successes, stand stills and setbacks."

ii) The JWG should be alert to those tensions which may threaten the coherence of the movement in its diversity. Addressing the social, economic and political concerns which profoundly affect the quality of life for all human communities is an essential ecumenical task. But attention to these should not come at the expense of attention to the theological divisions and unresolved issues of Christian faith which remain stumbling blocks to .achieving the visible unity which is the goal of the ecumenical movement. These are stumbling blocks as well for the churches in carrying out their essential missionary task and in maintaining their dialogue in community with people of other world faiths and secular ideologies.

In this context, the JWG should continue to focus on those fundamental issues which are obstacles to achieving full koinonia of the RCC and the WCC member churches, and on those common concerns which, when addressed by the WCC and the RCC together, manifest common witness to the reconciling love of God.

3. The JWG recommends these specific priorities for the next period of its mandate:

Issues affecting koinonia

The ecclesial consequences of common baptism. The implications of recognizing the common baptism of Christians on ecclesial communion and liturgical practice.

The ecumenical role of interchurch marriages. The ecclesiological implications of the sacrament of marriage in between Christians of different churches and their family life.

Local, national and regional councils of churches which have RC churches as full members. The practical and ecclesiological implications of membership of councils of churches, and their instrumental role in the growth of koinonia.

Church and church law. The impact of ecumenical agreements and dialogues on actual church legislation and on relations between ecclesiology and canon law/church law/church discipline.

Common concerns facing the WCC and RCC

The stances of Conservative Evangelicals and Charismatic/Pentecostals towards the ecumenical movement and its present structures. The establishing of dialogue.

Christian fundamentalists: an ecumenical challenge? The impact of fundamentalisms on the ecumenical commitment of churches, and of dialogue with the major issues which Christian fundamentalists address.

The place of women in the churches. The further recognition and integration of the gifts of women in church life and society, and the appropriation of the findings of the Ecumenical Decade of the Churches in Solidarity with Women on the life, structures and witness of the churches.

Ecumenical education. The development of appropriate ecumenical education for church members, students and clergy on the fundamentals of the Christian life in the search for the manifestation of the unity of the church within a pluralist society.

Rome, February 10, 1998

[Information Service 97 (1998/I-II) 62-80]


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