Indice > Dialoghi Interconfessionali > JWG > 2nd Second Official Rep. | CONT. > Part II, 2
   I. GENERAL REMARKS - selezionare
   2. Unity and Mission
   3. LAITY AND UNITY - selez.
   4. SERVICE TO HUMANITY - selez.
   6. BIBLE TRANSLATION - selez.


2. Unity and Mission

a) The Common Witness of the Churches

Division is an obstacle to the effective proclamation of the Gospel. For is the message of reconciliation not denied if Christians live side by side without themselves being reconciled to each other? All churches feel the contradiction of this situation. It is one of the reasons why they are seeking today to re-establish their communion. A common witness will proclaim the Gospel more effectively. The member Churches of the World Council of Churches express this intention by their common life and action in the Council; it has been particularly underlined by the integration of the International Missionary Council. The Roman Catholic Church has affirmed the same intention in the Decrees on Ecumenism (para. 12) and on the Missionary Activity of the Church.

Common witness presupposes ecclesial communion. Therefore it can become full reality only when the churches will have reached unity in doctrine and life sufficient to live in communion. Such communion will be the perfect form of common witness. This does not mean that the churches cannot already in many respects bear witness together to the name of Christ. A common witness raises questions with regard to the central content of the Gospel; it can happen that ecumenical activities avoid anything which goes beyond practical collaboration. This tendency must be resisted. All ecumenical work must serve the purpose of glorifying the name of Christ.

Common witness in missionary situations calls in particular for a thorough examination. For this reason the Joint Working Group is of the opinion that a special working party should as soon as possible be entrusted with the task of exploring possibilities in this field. Its members should be so chosen that both the theological and practical aspects of the problems can be dealt with successfully.

b) Non-Christian Religions

Relationships with the non-Christian religions are being discussed afresh in many churches and it is more and more apparent that the theological problems concerned with these relationships can be best discussed on an ecumenical basis. The Joint Working Group heard reports about various meetings and especially about a consultation held at Kandy, Ceylon (February 27-March 6, 1967) on the ‘Dialogue with non-Christian religions'. The consultation had been organized by the World Council of Churches, but was attended also by a number of participants named by the Vatican Secretariat for non-Christian religions. The Joint Working Group feels unanimously that such contacts need to be continued and increased.


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