its "First official Report," the JWG stated that "its
task, both spiritual and pastoral, is to be undertaken in a spirit
of prayer and in the conviction that God is guiding his people...
The Group is ... called on to discern the will of God in the contemporary
ecumenical situation" (First Report, 1). This has been a
guiding principle for the members of the Group.
The JWG is a consultative body. It explores new
forms of cooperation between the WCC and the RCC, and prepares
projects but does not make or monitor policy.
At present the JWG consists of 12 members from each
side, some of whom are involved in pastoral work in different
parts of the world, others are from departments of the Roman Curia
and Units of the WCC. Consultants are co-opted for particular
tasks. The JWG normally meets once a year.
A small Executive is responsible for the ongoing
work between annual meetings and prepares the agenda and material
for the plenary meetings. At the end of its normally 7-year mandate,
the JWG presents an official Report to the parent bodies.
Members may also discuss questions and ideas arising
from JWG work with their own churches so as to foster dialogue
and ecumenical relations.
The JWG is called to help in assessing the ecumenical
situation and stimulating the search for visible unite and common
witness. It should select those ecumenical issues which require
particular care, and promote development of relationships between
the WCC and the RCC. This means giving attention, support and
encouragement to whatever contributes to wider ecumenical progress,
and discerning differences which hinder WCC/RCC relations. By
keeping itself informed and stimulating the spread and exchange
of information, and sponsoring particular studies, the JWG serves
as an instrument of cooperation between the WCC and the RCC. When
its findings commend themselves to the parent bodies, the JWG
offers its services in helping to present ideas and proposals
to the appropriate departments on either side, and to such concerned
bodies as theological faculties and ecumenical institutes.
III. ACTIVITIES OF THE JWG DURING THE PERIOD OF 1983-1990
Priorities of this Period
Since the Sixth Assembly of the WCC (1983) the JWG
has concentrated on four areas: "Unity of the Church - the
Goal and the Way," "Ecumenical Formation," "Common
Witness" and "Social Thought and Action." Some
of these themes, of course, overlap.
Unity of the Church - The Goal and the Way
The JWG has kept high on its agenda the goal of
visible unity of Christians and has regularly undertaken studies
of specific importance for this task. A significant role in this
work has been carried out by the Faith and Order Commission and
the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU).
The JWG hopes that by such studies it can be of service in complementing
and supporting the ongoing work of bilateral and multilateral
In the period 1983-1990 five areas of studies relating
to unity have been undertaken by the JWG. Two are primarily theological:
"The Church: Local and Universal" and "The Hierarchy
of Truths." The impetus for work on these two themes came
during the visit of Pope John Paul II to the WCC (1984). A third
area of study concerns new potential sources of division, especially
ethical issues. A fourth relates to the impact of Councils of
Churches on the ecumenical movement. A fifth is concerned with
a particular pastoral issue: Christian mixed marriages.
The Local and Universal Church
This study document deals with fundamental aspects
of the mystery of the Church: its local and universal expressions.
There is first of all a discussion of the ecclesiology of communion.
It is presented as a framework within which the study of the Church
local and universal takes place. It emphasizes that these two
dimensions of the Church are not two alternative aspects of the
Church from which to choose, but must be understood in relationship,
and seen simultaneously. A second part looks at the Church local
and universal in ecumenical perspective, presenting the view of
Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant positions on this theme.
A third section indicates ecclesial elements required for full
communion with a visibly united Church, which is the goal of the
ecumenical movement. This discussion includes a presentation of
the way the notion of ecclesial communion has been interpreted
by the RCC in the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) and by the
New Delhi (1961) and Nairobi (1975) Assemblies of the WCC. A fourth
section describes the ways in which the different Christian World
Communions understand and use canonical structures to express
and safeguard communion within their churches.
The JWG commissioned and received this study document
and presents it with the hope of stimulating further ecumenical
reflection on this theme. It is added to the Sixth Report as Appendix
Hierarchy of Truths
The purpose of this study was "an ecumenical
attempt to understand and interpret the intention of the Second
Vatican Council in speaking of a hierarchy of truths', and
to examine some implications for ecumenical dialogue and common
Christian witness" (para. 3). The result of this work is
a study document which is appended to the Sixth Report. It analyses
the conciliar statement, indicates examples of a "hierarchy
of truths" in Christian history and in different Christian
traditions (even though the expression is not used there) and
draws out implications for ecumenical dialogue and for the goal
of full communion as well as for mission, common witness and theological
method. It is noteworthy that this study document is the first
ecumenical text on this subject.
The JWG commissioned and received this study document
and hopes that it will render a service to the wider ecumenical
discussion. It is added to the present report as Appendix B.
Ethical Issues as New Sources of Potential Divisions
The past 25 years have seen more and better multilateral
and bilateral dialogues on those doctrinal differences which helped
to cause and perpetuate divisions among the churches. In many
of these dialogues the RCC has been an active partner with member
churches of the WCC. Convergence and common affirmations are beginning
to form on such classical divisive doctrinal issues as Scripture
and Tradition, baptism, eucharist and ministry.
But during the same period, personal and social
ethical questions have appeared, causing disputes and even threatening
new divisions within and among churches. All Christian traditions
recognize that ethics cannot be separated from revealed doctrine:
faith does have ethical consequences. Yet the JWG notes that in
fact there is not enough serious, mature and sustained ecumenical
discussion on many of these ethical issues and positions, personal
and social; for example, nuclear armaments and deterrence, abortion
and euthanasia permanent married love and procreation, genetic
engineering and artificial insemination.
The JWG has taken the first steps in exploring the
new sources of potential ecumenical divisions. It first asked
a few interchurch groups to investigate and illustrate this development
in local contexts, and then it convened a small group of specialists
to review these studies. The JWG proposes that the subject be
a priority for the post-Canberra period. The JWG's intention is
not to examine the substance of each of the potentially or actually
divisive issues, but to see how they may best be approached in
dialogue. Such issues can offer new opportunities for the increase
of mutual understanding and respect and, we may hope, for common
witness without compromise of a church's convictions or of Christian
conscience. The JWG emphasizes the following questions:
1. Why are some ethical issues so emotionally and intellectually
divisive that often mature dialogue about them is inhibited, even
2. In what ways do churches formulate ethical principles and decide
on specific issues?
3. Do churches help their members to enlighten and form consciences?
4. In what ways do the churches understand and use their authority
to decide on specific issues for all their members?
5. What are the ways in which the churches should humbly enter
into public debate, where peoples of other world faiths or of
secular persuasions also desire to live together peacefully and
justly; how should Christian convictions be presented as a contribution
to the common good?
6. When does an ethical issue on which Christians disagree become
an obstacle to full ecclesial communion?
In discussing these questions, Christians can re-discover
the resources which our church traditions provide for ethical
analysis and decision making. We can better learn to respect the
convictions of others who are rooted in their traditions and commitments,
and to continue dialogue even in disagreement without demanding
that anyone should compromise convictions "for the sake of
Councils of Churches
On several occasions the JWG has discussed what
Councils of Churches can do to foster unity and to follow up its
own work. A very important contribution during the period under
review was the Second World Consultation for National Councils
of Churches (NCCs), held in Geneva in 1986. This meeting brought
together 120 leaders from some 70 NCCs and regional ecumenical
a) to share their experience and expertise;
b) to encourage the "reception" of recent developments,
such as the increased participation of the RCC in NCCs (35 NCCs
and 3 Regional Councils of Churches with RC membership);
c) to continue reflecting on their ecumenical role and ecclesiological
There were major papers on councils as instruments
of unity and in relation to justice, peace and service. One workshop
explored specific ecclesiological issues, following on from the
theological consultation on "The Significance and Contribution
of Councils of Churches in the Ecumenical Movement" which
was held in Venice in 1982. Other workshops dealt with the role
of NCCs in ecumenism, aspects of mission and dialogue, issues
of finance and resource sharing, and councils in their social
and political context.
The papers, responses and workshop reports have
been published by the WCC in Instruments of Unity: National Councils
of Churches Within the One Ecumenical Movement (ed. Thomas F.
Best, Geneva, WCC, 1988).
The vitality and development of NCCs affect the ecumenical
movement as a whole. Of particular interest to the JWG are the
cases where the RCC is moving to official membership; this at
times promotes reflection on crucial ecclesiological and practical
The Geneva Consultation touched upon a number of
important matters of common concern in the community of National
Councils. Examples include:
1) the emergence of koinonia as an expression of self-understanding
of the Councils, affirming unity, diversity and creative interaction;
2) shared life and commitment prompt shared reflection on the
nature of the Church;
3) people learn more about ecumenism as they take part in the
work of NCCs;
4) churches in a Council learn together what it means to be "the
Church in that place";
5) they begin to understand "the instrumental" character
of it but also to appreciate that they have a germinal unity,
a certain "ecclesial density" (Instruments, pp. 42-3);
6) churches in a Council will be brought up against the problem
of the local and the universal and the relation between authority
Christian Mixed Marriages1
In the course of the first years of it's existence
the JWG on many occasions considered the pastoral challenges which
mixed marriages pose. Its work certainly contributed to the progress
represented by Pope Paul VI's Matrimonia Mixta (1970), which has
been developed in the new Code of Canon Law (1983). Churches normally
encourage marriages between persons of the same communion. However,
churches and society no longer view mixed marriages as the object
of reproach, but now consider them with greater appreciation and
understanding. The churches still seek more effective pastoral
means to assist couples and their children in such marriages both
in preparation for marriage and continuing Christian counseling
during the marriage itself.
Those couples who take seriously their vocation
in marriage as a union in Christ, have found it to be an enriching
ecumenical experience. Nevertheless, because of the divisions
in Christianity, they and their children reflect the sufferings
of Christ; with hope and prayer they travel together the road
of conversion towards the goal of unite.
Conscious of the increase in mixed marriages and
their significance for the ecumenical movement, the JWG held a
Consultation on this question in 1989. Its report pointed to the
rich experience offered by mixed marriages but also to persisting
problems such as: 1) the mutual recognition by churches of such
marriages, 2) differing baptismal practice, 3) the education of
children, 4) intercommunion.
The Consultation stressed the need for common pastoral
care before and during marriage, especially during the early years.
It recommended more study of the ecclesiological implications
of mixed marriages. Finally, it asked that the next JWG should
study the report.
2. Ecumenical Formation
The Fifth Report of the JWG emphasized the urgency
of the task of ecumenical formation. It stressed that the ecumenical
dimension must be an indispensable part of all processes - of
Christian formation, whether of laity, of youth, in catechesis,
in religious education, in theological training.
The subject has been a priority in the subsequent
sessions of the JWG. Following discussion and reflection at the
Riano meeting (Rome), 1985, a first draft of a possible study
document on the subject was prepared. This went through a series
of revisions, with texts being prepared for discussion in Bossey,
1987, Venice, 1988, and St Prix (Paris), 1989. But a primary task
remains: to adapt the content, length and style of the draft document
to the audience it addresses. After a small consultation in 1990,
the Executive of JWG will hand over the unfinished task to the
next JWG, in the hope that the new Group will give the topic priority
on its agenda.
3. Common Witness
Collaboration between Christians in the search for
new ways of rendering common witness has been consistently encouraged
by the RCC and the WCC. Pope John Paul II has emphasized that
common witness among Christians is a stimulus to the search for
full unity. In the joint statement issued by the then General
Secretary Dr Philip Potter and by Cardinal Willebrands on the
occasion of the visit of Pope John Paul II to the WCC (1984),
mutual commitment to collaboration in the social field and the
need to strengthen cooperation in several other areas was stressed.
Pope John Paul II has expressed his conviction that "common
witness among Christians is possible in various fields. It is
founded on the common faith which exists among them and which
the comparison in the dialogue in process has shown in a new light
... The common witness which can be given today is a stimulus
for the search for full unity" (L'Osservatore Romano, 23
The JWG is pleased to note that in many countries
important work of common Bible studies, use of the Ecumenical
Prayer Cycle, joint Bible translations, publication and distribution
is carried out. Very important is also the collaboration between
churches in the area of press, radio, television and other means
of communication, as well as the training of personnel in specific
fields. In some places, the celebration of local, national, regional
and international events, the common struggle for human rights,
justice and peace (e.g. Basel Assembly on Peace with Justice,
1989), and the sharing of resources, have also contributed to
unity, renewal and common Christian witness.
Common Witness, Mission and Unity
Following the publication of the Common Witness
document by the JWG in 1982, steps were taken to distribute it
widely and to emphasize its importance both to the visitors to
the WCC and to RC groups. The presence of RC consultants in the
Commission of CWME and their participation in the WCC Mission
Conference in Melbourne 1980 led to the appointment of an RC consultant
to the staff of CWME in 1984.
During the period under review, there has been a
renewal of CWME staff visits to Rome as well as a visit of Catholics
from Rome to Geneva. Members of the staff participated in three
Roman Catholic mission seminars. An invitation to the Missiological
Congress at the Urbaniana University (Rome) was also extended
A series of visits was made by the RC consultant
to both Roman Catholic and Protestant missionary organizations
in order to discuss common witness as practiced at both national
and local level. An important part of the consultant's work during
recent years has involved promoting and organizing RC involvements
in work arising from the WCC Mission Conference in San Antonio,
Texas (May 22 - June 1, 1989). This included a seminar on the
Conference theme held in Rome with representatives of the WCC,
some departments of the Roman Curia and RC missionary organizations.
A Vatican delegation of 20 observers was present at the Conference
itself. The local Committee for the Conference was chaired by
the ecumenical officer of the RC diocese of San Antonio.
RC representatives contributed to the discussion
on the Mission/Unity issue both at Faith and Order and CWME meetings.
The question of proselytism has been raised at various
meetings and has made the need to promote common witness more
urgent. It will be for the next JWG to suggest ways in which common
witness, mission and unity can be further promoted. It is important
to involve those organizations and groups who share the concern
for a common witness to Jesus as Lord and Savior in today's world.
There is also need to continue ecumenical reflection on the challenge
of New Religious Movements.
b) The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
The Week of Prayer is one of the oldest ways of
expressing and celebrating the spiritual communion that binds
the churches together in listening to the word of God, in praise
and intercession. The 80th anniversary of the Week of Prayer,
1987-88, was marked by gratitude for this form of ecumenical fellowship
and "spiritual ecumenism," which is generally regarded
as an indispensable basis for all other ecumenical endeavors.
Christians are convinced that their efforts to overcome
their divisions can only be fruitful through the Lord's blessing.
Therefore, prayer should be at the very center of the ecumenical
movement. The various other ecumenical activities that may be
occasioned by the Week of Prayer are important, but they should
not "obscure" the significance of praying together for
unite. In thousands of places all over the world Christians gather
together to pray for Christian unity and the needs of all people.
In many places and circumstances this Week remains, for various
reasons, the main expression of local ecumenism. The material
for the Week of Prayer is prepared each year through joint consultations
of the PCPCU and the Faith and Order Secretariat (WCC). Local
churches of different traditions prepare draft texts for these
At all its meetings the JWG has heard reports about
the Week of Prayer for Christian Unite. It has noted that in several
countries observance of the Week is expanding, while there is
a certain stagnation in others. An enquiry undertaken by the PCPCU
in 1984 regarding the week of Prayer showed how vital is the practice
of ecumenical prayer for education and renewal, unite and common
witness. The considerations and suggestions of the JWG point in
the same direction. Churches must be reminded that the Week is
not just a prayer for unity once a year, but is an integral part
of continuous ecumenical. formation and collaboration; that material
and proposals for the Week should reflect a wider range of context
and opportunities; that more preparation/adaptation should be
done at the local level; and that more thought should be given
to the relationship between prayer, ecumenical formation and shared
The JWG is convinced that the Week of Prayer can
provide one of the most fundamental ecumenical experiences and
inspirations and that therefore it deserves the active participation
and commitment of all churches.
c) Collaboration in Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation
The initiative for the JPIC program and Convocation
came from the Sixth Assembly at Vancouver (1983). At the 1985
JWG meeting, the PCPCU was asked to investigate the possibility
of RC participation in JPIC. In January 1987 the WCC Central Committee
officially invited the RCC to be a co-inviter' with the
member churches of the WCC, non-member churches, and CWCs for
the World Convocation on JPIC (Seoul, 1990). In December 1987,
Cardinal Willebrands informed Dr E. Castro that although the RCC
would not be a co-inviter' because of some unresolved difficulties
(for example, "the different nature of the two bodies"),
it would collaborate in the project because of the common Christian
concerns for justice, peace and integrity of creation. The RCC
sent participants to the preliminary consultations (Genova, 1986;
Glion, 1986; Granvollen, 1988), appointed a staff person to work
full-time in Geneva with the JPIC desk, and designated five official
representatives on the 30 member Preparatory Group.
In September 1988, the WCC General Secretary invited
Cardinal Willebrands to arrange for the RCC to appoint 50 participants
to the Seoul Convocation. Cardinal Willebrands and Cardinal Etchegaray
(Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace) responded to Dr Castro
in November 1989: the RCC would appoint twenty experts to Seoul
in the capacity of advisers - the type of participation now customary
in WCC Assemblies and other major meetings. Meanwhile, the RC
staff assigned to JPIC remained; Roman Catholics continued to
serve on the local planning committee in Seoul; and the RCC assured
financial support for the convocation. Furthermore, local RC churches
have fully participated, together with other Christians, in the
development of national or regional JPIC programs, and their representatives
attended the Convocation in Seoul as members of delegations either
of NCCs or of regional ecumenical bodies of which the RCC is a
At its January 1990 meeting, the JWG discussed the
process that led to the official RC decision. The common Preparatory
Group work and the presence of RC official advisors and others
at Seoul, as well as the urgency of common Christian witness in
confronting the world's survival issues, will lead the JWG to
follow attentively this post-Seoul process, and to be alert to
the ways of possible cooperation in the period which leads to
the Canberra Assembly and thereafter.
4. Social Thought and Action
At its meetings in Le Louverain (1979) and Marseille
(1980), the JWG accepted a proposal to form a Joint Consultative
Group on Social Thought and Action (JCG) that would undertake
a study on collaboration in the field of social thought and action.
When the mandate of SODEPAX came to an end in 1981, the JCG continued
work in this field, focusing first on development, peace and human
rights. Later, attention was specifically given to the issues
of racism and apartheid (1985-87). At its meeting in Venice (1988),
the JWG, with the agreement of the parent bodies, decided not
to renew the mandate of the JCG, which ended the same year. The
work formerly done by this Group is now to be carried out by the
JWG itself, with the help of small ad hoc study groups, on basic,
issues Such as development and debt crisis, racism and apartheid,
armaments and arms transfers, human rights and religious liberty.
At its 1989 meeting, the JWG strongly recommended that it was
now time to explore the possibilities of common witness against
racism. The Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace (PCJP) and
the WCC Program to Combat Racism (PCR) are working together on
a common reflection on the issues of racism and apartheid.
B) Ecumenical Collaboration in Other Areas Between WCC and RCC
1. Major Studies and Other Activities in the Field of Faith and
Since 1968, the RCC has been officially represented
in the Commission on Faith and Order; so have several other non-member
churches of the WCC. This is the basis for continuing and e:ctensive
cooperation, which has enabled Faith and Order to include in its
work RC theological perspectives and contributions. Thus, the
wider dimensions of current ecumenical endeavors have always been
present in this work. In recent years this cooperation and the
consequent wider outlook has deepened and led to remarkable results.
The 1982 Lima document on Baptism, Eucharist and
Ministry (BEM) was a major result of this cooperation. The document
was elaborated with the help of RC theologians and led to convergences
on issues that had long - been divisive. In the broad discussion
process on BEM from 1982 to 1990 the RCC was actively involved
at international, national and local levels. Roman Catholics have
discussed BEM in ecumenical groups, seminars, commissions, seminaries,
theological faculties, publications, etc.
Most importantly, the RCC accepted the invitation
of Faith and Order to send a response to BEM at the highest appropriate
level. This involved several steps. First, the document was sent
to RC Bishop's Conferences, theological faculties and others asking
them to study it and send their reports to the PCPCU. These reports
were analyzed and taken into account by the PCPCU, which then,
with the help of a team of theological consultants, prepared a
draft response to BEM. The response was brought to its final form
as a result of collaboration between the PCPCU and the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith. In August 1987, it was sent by
the PCPCU to the Faith and Order Secretariat in Geneva.
The RCC has thus for the first time given an official
response to an ecumenical document. The response affirms the ecumenical
achievement represented by BEM. It contains a positive evaluation
of large sections of BEM, points to areas that from an RC point
of view need further study and raises ecclesiological questions
which, according to the RCC, need to be faced if ecumenical progress
is to be made. It reaffirms the commitment of the RCC to continuing
Pope John Paul II and other RC leaders have repeatedly
underlined the importance of BEM in the movement towards visible
unity. The BEM process is probably the most significant instance
for many years of ecumenical rapprochement between Roman Catholics
and Christians of other traditions.
RC theologians have participated in all meetings,
consultations and drafting groups of Faith and Order in recent
years. They have thus made theological contributions to the major
study programs on Towards the Common Expression of Apostolic Faith
Today and The Unity of the Church and the Renewal of Human Community.
The meeting of the Faith and Order Commission in
Budapest in August 1989 received the results of these studies,
which will determine the future direction of the work of Faith
and Order. This will include more comprehensive work on ecclesiology,
especially a re-consideration of the "unity we seek,"
for which RC contributions and cooperation are of crucial importance.
The same applies to the plan to hold the Fifth World Conference
of Faith and Order in 1993.
2. Bilateral and Multilateral Dialogues
While the WCC and the RCC cooperate directly through
multilateral dialogue in Faith and Order, many member churches
of the WCC have been engaged for a long time in bilateral dialogue
with the RCC, either through their respective CWCs at the world
level, or directly at the national level. During the last eight
years, both the number and range of bilateral dialogues have increased.
They represent an important element of the present ecumenical
movement and have led to significant results.
There is common agreement that multilateral and
bilateral dialogues have complementary purposes and possibilities.
Ways have been developed to further their complementary character
and to help to give them common purpose. Thus, the work of Faith
and Order has profited from the insights and results of bilateral
dialogues and these in turn have focused attention on the developments
and achievements in multilateral dialogues. For example, several
bilateral dialogues and many responses of the churches to BEM
have seen the BEM document as providing a wider framework within
which dialogues can find common aims. The Fourth Forum on Bilateral
Conversations, sponsored in 1985 by the CWCs, and organized by
Faith and Order, has confirmed the complimentary character of
multilateral and bilateral dialogues by evaluating and comparing
main elements of multilateral convergence on BEM and the results
of bilateral dialogues on the same issues (Report of the Fourth
Forum on Bilateral Conversations, Faith and Order Paper no. 125,
Geneva, 1985). The Fifth Forum was held in 1990 and focused on
the question of consistent ecclesiology in bilateral and multilateral
It will also be a task of the next JWG to follow
developments in bilateral and multilateral dialogues and help
to ensure that they together serve the one ecumenical movement.
This corresponds to a request by the WCC Central Committee in
1988 which was addressed to the JWG and Faith and Order.
3. Dialogue and Witness
Cooperation between the WCC Dialogue Subunit and
the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue (PCID) has
continued regularly. There have been yearly joint staff meetings
held alternately .in Rome and Geneva. Conversations during the
past three years have been concerned with:
1) the role of dialogue in relation to religious fundamentalism,
2) dialogue and mission;
3) the place of dialogue in a religiously plural society.
In 1988 a joint meeting was held to discuss the
possibilities and problems of tripartite dialogue: Christians,
Jews and Muslims. The WCC and its RC partners have also been jointly
in contact with Islamic and other organizations.
RC groups have participated in the study of the
Dialogue Sub-unit on "My Neighbors Faith and Mine" which
makes Christians more aware and informed about religious pluralism.
Inter-religious dialogue is growing in importance; WCC and RCC
partners should discuss the questions it raises and share information,
studies and publications.
4. Faith, Science and Ethics
There are moves towards collaboration on these topics:
1) faith and science, 2) technology and environment, and 3) the
theology of creation. For example, Cardinal Sin addressed a Church
and Society meeting on technology and its effects on the poor,
held in Manila. RC observers attended the working committee meeting
of the Sub-unit on Church and Society in 1988 and 1989. Further,
RC theologians attended consultations on "A Theology of Nature
and Theocentric Ethic" (Annecy, September 1988) and on "God,
People and Nature One Community" (São Paulo,
June/July, 1988). Valuable RC contributions on these themes were
5. Health Care, Healing and Medicine
Since 1982 collaboration in this field has found
expression in the presence of RC observers/consultants at the
WCC Christian Medical Commission (CMC) meetings. They are appointed
jointly by the PCPCU and the Pontifical Council for Health Care
Workers. The partners have undertaken joint activities in the
field of health care, healing and medicine. For some years there
have been mutual invitations to meetings. The exchange of visits
between CMC and the Vatican staff have helped further collaboration.
One proposal that would augment this cooperation in the future
is the appointment of RC consultants to work with CMC Commission.
6. Diaconal Service..., Peace...,
The WCC/CICARWS Emergencies Desk maintains good
relations with Caritas Internationalis on disasters, and often
works closely with national organizations related to Caritas Internationalis
such as Caritas Germany, Caritas Switzerland, Catholic Relief
Service and Secours Catholique in France. Effective joint relief
work has been done in Ethiopia and there are plans to support
actively long term reconstruction by the Armenian Apostolic Church.
A protocol has been signed by the Armenian Soviet Republic, by
WCC/Caritas Internationalis and by the Armenian Apostolic Church.
In the wider context of co-ordinating agency response
to disaster, CICARWS and Caritas Intel-nationalis are members
of the LICROSS-Volags Steering Committee in which six members
are engaged, the others being the League of the Red Cross Societies,
Oxfam, Catholic Relief Service and the Lutheran World Federation.
It, too, should be noted that there was important co-ordination
through the CCDA in 1983-86.
In June 1989 CICARWS visited Rome and met Bishop
Alois Wagner, the Vice President of Cor Unum. A number of areas
of mutual interest were identified and an agreement to encourage
dialogue on world developments, refugee service and relief operation
was warmly welcomed. Sharing information on the position of the
two organizations, in the Vatican and the WCC, will help the two
bodies in meeting the challenge ahead.
In many parts of the world (Africa, Latin America,
Europe) CICARWS partners and networks collaborate with RC colleagues.
In Africa there are many NCCs in which Catholics are full members,
e.g. Sudan, Botswana, Namibia. Swaziland, Lesotho and Liberia.
In these countries there are ongoing refugee programs in which
CICARWS and the RCC participate fully in leadership and funding.
The RCC and the WCC member churches together address
issues relating to peace, e.g. in Sudan and make joint statements.
In 1988 a visit to Europe by Sudan church leaders was organized
in which Roman Catholics participated. In 1989. a journey was
made to North America, to explain to churches and human rights
movements the difficult situation in Sudan and its people's deep
need for peace. The Namibia Repatriation Program, handled by CICARWS,
received funds from RC Funding Agencies. These brief examplesrefugee
aid, joint projects, peace action, repatriation programsindicate
that some African Christian Councils are active in coordinating
essential programs and need direct funding to be able to offer
to their societies leadership and resources. An equitable way
must be found by all partners to support ecumenical enterprises.
...and Refugee Work
In 1984 CICARWS/Refugee Service held a consultation
of church-related partners in Western countries which had significant
RCC participation, to examine the situation of asylum and refugee
In 1986 a global Consultation on Protection and
Asylum in Zurich was jointly organized by CICARWS, Swiss Inter-Church
Aid (HEKS) and Caritas Switzerland. The Consultation brought together
representatives of the various Catholic and WCC-related networks.
It called for greater collaboration between RC and WCC-related
groups serving refugees. An International Ecumenical Committee
on Refugee Protection was established, to be convened alternately
by the WCC and Caritas Internationalis with the participation
of other global bodies, such as the LWF, International Catholic
Migration Commission, etc.
After this initiative on the international level,
efforts have been made to foster collaboration between WCC and
RC agencies at the regional levels. The Zurich consultation called
for the establishment of joint committees or working groups in
each of the regions.
The North American Continuing Committee for Refugee
Protection is composed of both RC and WCC-related bodies (Canadian
Bishops' Conference, Canadian Council of Churches, NCCCUSA, US
Catholic Conference) and meets regularly. In Europe, a joint CEC-CICARWS
European Churches' Working Group and Asylum and Refugees was set
up and has met every two years since 1988. Catholic participation
has been continuous, represented by an observer from the Council
of European Bishops' Conferences.
7. International Issues and Human Rights
Member churches of the WCC in Latin America and
the Caribbean have taken wide-ranging initiatives on human rights,
with RC participation at local level. These are seen as ministries
of assistance to victims of human rights violations, as well as
pastoral help. Human Rights Resources on Latin America (HRROLA)
has spread ecumenical groups which have RC leadership. It has
sought funds from churches and agencies related to CICARWS/WCC
for work in which most, if not all, membership in a given ecumenical
committee belongs to the RCC.
Examples of cooperation dot the landscape of Latin
and Central America. Representatives from El Salvador have, with
the help of CCIA, appeared before the UN Human Rights Commission.
Chilean experience includes the work of the Committee of Cooperation
for Peace in Chile. This Committee, made up of Lutherans, Methodists,
Orthodox, Roman Catholics, and evangelicals, has carried out ministries
with political prisoners, exiles and families of those who have
In Brazil, the NCC constituted by the RCC and Protestant
churches has closely followed the situation on human rights, especially
in relation to land rights involving several indigenous nations.
The Ludigenist Missionary Council is developing sections and programs
in this connection which are appreciated by the different ethnic
groups. The participation of leaders of some Protestant churches
in the Pastoral Commission on Land has opened up this section
of the National Bishops' Conference of Brazil to ecumenical dialogue
and greater commitment. This progress was confirmed at the 7th
Inter-Ecclesial Meeting of Basic Ecclesial Communities in July
1989, where RC, Orthodox and Methodist Bishops were present.
WCC and RC-related organizations jointly sponsored
a meeting in Brussels, 16-20 May, 1988, on the European Community
and the Debt Crisis of African, Caribbean and Pacific (A.C.P.)
Representatives of the Vatican PCJP have attended
the Commission on Churches' Participation in Development
(CCPD) Advisory Group and Economic Advisory Group meetings. CCPD
is a member of the Advisory Board of the Swiss RC/Protestant initiative
regarding the international debt crisis.
8. Education (General Education, Theological Education, Family
Collaboration in these areas during most of the
period under review was limited to those situations in which the
WCC and RC partners in Education participated in jointly planned
activities with NCCs and regional ecumenical bodies to which local
RCCs belong. Examples of this were a workshop held in the Pacific
on Ecumenical Learning for JPIC, in September 1988, and the Consultation
on the Church and Persons with Disabilities held in Bangkok in
Another area of indirect collaboration is in relation
to "street children." Following the International Year
of the Child (1979) a three-year Inter-NGO Program on Street Children
and Street Youth was started on the initiative of the International
Catholic Child Bureau (ICCB) in 1982. The WCC and ICCB among others
founded a new organization in 1986, called CHILDHOPE, in order
to continue the work. The headquarters are in Rio de Janeiro.
Since the beginning of 1988 the scope for joint
collaboration, particularly in the field of Adult Education, increased
significantly when a RC priest from Mauritius joined the WCC staff.
Because of his previous involvement in ecumenical adult education
work in Asia and the Pacific he has brought the WCC into contact
with a new network of RC or RC-related organizations that are
open to ecumenical collaboration on Justice, Peace and Development
In East and Southern Africa, Training for Transformation
programs, which were originally started by the RCC, are now being
planned ecumenically by NCCs (e.g. Zambia, Zimbabwe) and the .All
Africa Conference of Churches, with significant RC involvement.
The WCC Adult Education Program is actively participating in this
Catholic educators are involved in the work of the
Program on Theological Education (PTE) through the Association
of Theological Institutions. RC representatives have attended
some consultations sponsored by PTE and other ecumenical partners.
9. Renewal and Spirituality
Since 1983, "Spirituality" has figured
largely in the life and the programs of the WCC and in cooperation
between the WCC and the RCC.
A first step towards "A Spirituality for Our
Times" was a consultation held in Annecy (France), in December
1984, in which the RC contribution was substantial. Because of
need for further study and reflection on some aspects of spirituality,
the Sub-unit on Renewal and Congregational Life (RCL), as well
as other sub-units of the WCC, have organized a series of seminars
and consultations. In all of these the RC participants shared
their specific experiences and understanding, making possible
creative dialogues between various traditions and cultures of
the ecumenical community.
In the period 1985-1988, a series of workshops have
been held for renewal of worship in Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin
America, Caribbean, North America and Australia. Roman Catholics
participated in these meetings and, in some cases, shared in the
10. The Role of the Laity in Church and Society
A good deal of common work in this field has been
done on the one hand by the RCL and other sub-units in Program
Unit III "Education and Renewal" and, on the other,
by the Pontifical Council for the Laity (PCL).
The Sub-unit on RCL has a desk for Lay Centers.
In Asia, Africa, North America, Caribbean and Europe, networks
of ecumenical centers and lav academies include RC centers and
RCL and other sub-units in Education and Renewal
sent their comments on the Lineamenta-document prior to the Synod
of Bishops in October 1987 to the Synod Secretariat in the Vatican.
Moreover, WCC Unit III engaged in a meeting in Geneva on 26-27
February 1987 with representatives of the PCL on the questions
raised by the subject of the Synod of Bishops, in 1987.
In November 1988, WCC staff visited the PCL in Rome
and discussed the present dialogue and the promotion of this topic.
In February, 1990, this discussion was carried further in the
.seminar on "Merging Ecumenical Trends regarding Laity"
organized by Unit III with RC participation.
As part of future cooperation between the WCC and
the PCL, the RCL has proposed to continue this ecumenical reflection
on "The Role of the Laity in Church and Society."
11. Ecumenical Institute at Bossey
During recent years, the dynamic WCC/RCC collaboration
at Bossey has continued. It has been strengthened by the appointment
this time for 3 years of a RC professor to the annual Graduate
School. The participation of a RC observer on the Bossey Board,
the continued interest of the PCPCU in the Graduate School, and
the invitation to Bossey staff and students to visit annually
various departments of the Roman Curia, the Unions of Superiors
General, the Missiology Department of the Gregorian University,
the Dominican House of Studies, the Focolare Movement and the
St Egidio parish community, have made a positive impact on WCC/RCC
relationships and on youth commitment to the ecumenical movement.
12. Preparation for the Seventh Assembly of the WCC
RC theologians and others have been involved in
the preparations for the Canberra Assembly through consultations
on the theme and sub-themes, several regional meetings, visitors
programs, and ecumenical team-visits. Twenty RC observers will
attend the Assembly and contribute to its deliberations. Others
are serving on the local committees and many RC parishes throughout
Australia are participating in the preparatory process of study