STUDY DOCUMENT ON CATHOLICITY AND APOSTOLICITY
following study document, prepared by a Joint Theological Commission
on the initiative of the Joint Working Group between the Roman Catholic
Church and the World Council of Churches was received by the latter
at its meeting in May 1970. The status of this document is expressed
in paragraph 2: "This study document is not a joint statement,
neither is it a doctrinal consensus nor a status quaestionis; it
is essentially a tool in the service of joint research."
While noting the limited status which the document enjoys, the Joint
Working Group considers it to be a real step forward in ecumenical
discussion. It therefore recommends to its parent bodies that it
be offered to the Churches for attentive consideration by competent
1966, the Joint Working Group between the Roman Catholic Church
and the World Council of Churches decided that a Joint Theological
Commission be formed "to study the fundamental issues that
continually arise between the Roman Catholic Church and the
other Churches" (first Report of the Joint Working Group,
7). It suggested that the Commission should examine the general
theme "Catholicity and Apostolicity". The Commission
was appointed in the following year. Its work has been organized
by the Secretariat of the Commission on Faith and Order and
by the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity in Rome.
The Commission consisted of the following members:
Council of Churches
Prof. S.C. Agourides
Prof. Jean Bosc
Dr. J.N.D. Kelly
Prof. John Meyendorff
Prof. Paul Minear
Prof. Wolfhart Pannenberg
Rev. Dr. Lukas Vischer
Prof. Claude Welch
Dr. J.D. Zizioulas
Prof. Giuseppe Alberigo
Rev. Raymond Brown, S.S.
Rev. Fr. François Dreyfus, O.P.
Rev. Alexandre Ganoczy
Rev. Fr. Jérôme Hamer, O.P.
Dom Emmanuel Lanne, O.S.B.
Rev. Umberto Neri
Rev. Prof. Dr. R. Schnackenburg
Rev. Prof. Jan Witte, S.J.
Commission has held three meetings (at Nemi, Rome, May 19-24,
1967; at Oud-Poelgeest, Holland, December 16-20, 1967; and in
Rome, May 31 - June 5, 1968). The following papers were prepared
Present State of Studies (R. Schnackenburg)
Catholicity of the Church (J. Bosc)
Relativism and the Authority of Christian Dogma (J. Meyendorff)
and Unity Possibility of Different "Typologies"
within the Same Ecclesial Allegiance (E. Lanne)
Episcopacy, Primacy (A. Ganoczy)
Theses on the Sacramentality of the Church (in connection with
Catholicity and Apostolicity) J. L. Witte)
Church: Catholicity and Apostolicity (E. Lanne)
Role of Eschatology in Understanding the Apostolicity and Catholicity
of the Church (W. Pannenberg)
and "Apostolic" in the Early Centuries' (J. N. D.
its third meeting the Commission decided to suspend its work
and prepare a study document for publication with a view to
promoting continuation of the theological dialogue on these
points. It is this document which is presented here.
This study document is not a joint statement, neither is it
a doctrinal consensus nor a status quaestionis; it is essentially
a tool in the service of joint research. This compilation
deals with a series of important themes which it is proposed
that theologians should study in depth and examine critically.
It has been put together by the above-named interconfessional
team. No member of the team will identify himself with the
entire document presented here in which widely-divergent views
stand side by side, but all are fully agreed in commending
it to the attention of competent theologians.
The compilation is in two parts. Part One gives a new description
of the two concepts of Catholicity' and Apostolicity'.
Part Two consists of a number of appendices dealing with certain
special aspects of the general problem.
Part One seeks to focus attention on elements frequently neglected
in theological discussion. While the old differences remain,
it is possible today to see them in a new light permitting
us to discern possibilities of progress.
With a necessarily limited time available for its work, the
Commission devoted more time to Part One than to Part Two.
Thus each of the appendices was entrusted to a single member.
Its text was carefully discussed by the group but each author
was responsible for embodying the result of this discussion
in bis own version. Thus, although anonymous, each of the
appendices is personal'. In theological approach and
in style, this Part Two, far more than Part One, bears the
imprint of the authors who drafted the various fragments.
should also be noted that this compilation was made before
the Uppsala Assembly, Section I of which produced a report
on The Holy Spirit and the Catholicity of the Church'.
Some have pointed out that the two texts cannot be read independently
and that it would be useful to compare them and at some time
to integrate them. Quite clearly, however, they differ appreciably
in character: one is the report of a full Assembly of the
World Council of Churches, approved in substance by the Assembly
and commended to the Churches for study and appropriate action;
the other is a study document which the Joint Theological
Commission on Catholicity and Apostolicity' was asked
to produce by the Joint Working Group between the World Council
of Churches and the Roman Catholic Church to study the
fundamental issues that continually arise between the Roman
Catholic Church and the other Churches'. It is still true
that in studying the present compilation the Uppsala Section
I report cannot be ignored.
In speaking of
Joint Action for Mission, the World Council of Churches distinguishes
presently three degrees of missionary collaboration: surveying
the possibilities of missionary action, joint planning; and
joint action. The meaning of common witness is wider than that
of joint action for mission.