a) Continuation of the Joint Working Group
There continues to be the need for a forum enabling the Roman
Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches to evaluate together
the development of the ecumenical movement. Therefore, a joint group
with continuity of membership and sufficient breadth of representation
from both sides should be appointed. As an instrument of the parent
bodies it will be in close contact with them and accountable to
The Functions of the Joint Working Group
The Joint Working Group will primarily aim at discovering
and assessing promising new possibilities for ecumenical development.
It has the task of stimulating the discussion on the ecumenical
movement in being a challenge to the parent bodies by proposing
new steps and programs.
The Joint Working Group will endeavor to interpret
the major streams of ecumenical thought and action in the Roman
Catholic Church and in the member churches of the World Council
of Churches. It will facilitate the exchange of information about
the progress of the ecumenical movement, especially at the local
The Joint Working Group will seek to establish the
collaboration between the various organs and programs of the Roman
Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches. In accordance
with the principles and procedures of the parent bodies it should
encourage the genuine development of any ecumenical collaboration.
It should draw upon the insights gained from local experience to
foster such collaboration. As in the past, it will remain a consultative
group, not an operative agency. It may be empowered by the parent
bodies to develop and administer programs it has proposed when this
is called for.
As the joint Working Group seems to initiate and help
keep alive the discussion on the implications of the ecumenical
movement in the Roman Catholic Church and in member churches of
the World Council of Churches, it will seek the best means of communicating
its findings and recommendations.
An essential aspect of its task is to share its findings
with its parent bodies.
The Joint Working Group will be in contact with a large number
and range of ecumenical organizations and programs, especially on
the local level. It may call upon various offices and programs of
the parent bodies for assistance when special help is needed in
certain areas in the process of collaboration. It will also seek
information and advice from individuals and organizations which
have particular ecumenical experience and competence.
As the joint Working Group seeks to meet the needs of the
churches, the style of collaboration must be kept flexible. It must
be adaptable to the various and changing needs. Therefore, it will
seek to keep new structures to a minimum, while concentrating on
ad hoc initiatives, as they are required by the actual developments
within the ecumenical movement. On occasion, of course, particular
projects may call for some structural organization which will be
set up after due authorization. Flexibility of style does not mean
unplanned activity or lack of accountability. It rather means more
careful attention to the setting of priorities and to the use of
On the basis of these general considerations the following
1) The Joint Working Group shall be a group of approximately
sixteen members, some of whom shall be chosen from the staff of
the World Council of Churches and the Secretariat for Promoting
Christian Unity (and other organs of the Curia).
2) The Joint Working Group will normally meet once a year. Further,
enlarged meetings could be held on occasion to deal with specific
issues. Such meetings may be arranged to coincide with some important
regional event when this is judged useful.
3) A small Executive Group of six members shall be responsible for
the ongoing work between meetings and for preparing the meetings
of the Joint Working Group.