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 I. BASIC QUESTIONS - selezionare
II. Areas of Collaboration
 APPENDIX I - selez.
 APPENDIX II - selez.


II. Areas of Collaboration

    6. The Joint Working Group is unable, on its own, to deal with all the problems that may confront, it. In order to develop relations it will require the help of specialized groups: commissions and consultations. Meetings of this kind have already taken place on certain subjects between representatives of the World Council of Churches and the Roman Catholic Church. Other meetings are planned. In the paragraphs that follow we give a general view of areas in which collaboration either has begun or can begin.

    It is important to note in this context, the difference between:

- on the one hand, the work of commissions and consultations set up directly by the Joint Working Group, and

- or the other hand, the activities of commissions and consultations set up either by various organizations of the Roman Catholic Church (for example, the Secretariat for Christian Unity), or by Catholic organizations (for example COPECIAL) in conjunction with the divisions or departments of the WCC.

    In the first case, reports are sent to the Joint Working Group. In the second case, reports are submitted to the responsible bodies, while the Joint Working Group is kept informed.

7. Faith and Order

    Although not the only sphere, the work of "Faith and Order" (which corresponds in Catholic terminology to the sphere of doctrine), offers many opportunities for consultations. Collaboration has already begun. It needs to be deepened.

    We should like to put forward the following proposals:

a) The program of the Faith and Order Commission of the WCC already envisages carrying out a number of studies on a world or regional scale. The Joint Working Group is glad to note that Roman Catholic theologians will take part in several of these study-commissions as consultant-observers.
b) Further possibilities for collaboration however, also exist. Parallel studies could be organised. Certain themes suggested by the Faith and Order Commission could be studied by groups of Roman Catholics, while the Secretariat for Christian Unity (or other Roman Catholic organizations), could in the same way suggest themes to be studied by groups composed exclusively of theologians invited by the World Council. The conclusions resulting from the work done would be submitted to the body which has initiated it - on occasion the World Council, on occasion the Secretariat for Unity. The Joint Working Group would be kept informed,
c) The Working Group proposes that a special theological Commission be set up jointly by the Secretariat for Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order, to study the fundamental issues that continually arise in the dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the other Churches. After detailed study of matter, the Joint Working Group suggests as a general theme "Catholicity and Apostolicity."

8. Common Prayer at Ecumenical Gatherings

    The rapid development of the ecumenical movement obliges us to reflect together on common prayer and common liturgical action. At its first session the joint Working Group had desired a consultation on this theme. Since then, two such meetings, jointly organised, have studied the problems involved and reached certain conclusions of a provisional nature. They will be found in an appendix attached to this report. They are put forward for the attention and study of all.

    During the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the faithful of all confessions meet together before the Lord. Further developments along these lines require common study. The Working Group expresses the wish that a further consultation be called to examine this subject.

9. Missions

    There are possibilities of collaboration open to us in the mission field; these need to be analyzed with care. At Crêt-Bérard (near Lausanne, Switzerland) from 5th-10th April, 1965, a first consultation, jointly organised by the Division of World Mission and Evangelism and the Secretariat for Christian Unity, took place to discuss questions of missionary activity. A report was sent to the Joint Working Group. From this emerges that there are different areas open for possible collaboration in the future. Further studies will however be necessary in order to examine the ways opened up by the Council's Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church, promulgated at the end of the fourth session.

    This report also drew attention to the tensions that sometimes arise in missionary areas (unworthy forms of proselytism, disloyal competition, etc.). To remedy such situations the Joint Working Group is convinced that means must be sought for establishing and maintaining close contacts between the bodies concerned, and proposes that action should be taken to this end. It is desirable, for example, that someone should be appointed by the competent authorities on each side to study complaints and to initiate efforts to clarify such situations.

10. Church and Society

    The problem of the place of the Church in society is one that faces all Christians in all Churches. Here a vast area requires study and collaboration. A consultation organized by the WCC's Department of Church and Society and the Secretariat for Christian Unity took place in Geneva from 28th-31st March, 1965. The report that was presented to us encourages us to pursue the cooperation. The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World contains important elements in this respect. On its part, the World Council of Churches is preparing a World Conference on Church and Society (1966). A second consultation is already being organized.

11. The Laity

    Problems specific to the laity in the Christian world can also profitably be studied in common. Two meetings have already taken place between the Permanent Committee for International Congresses on the Lay Apostolate (COPECIAL, a Roman Catholic organization), and the WCC's Departments on the Laity. In spite of different theological approaches, questions concerning the apostolate of the laity and their training have led to fairly broad agreement. This discussion led to the following conclusions among others: "While differences of faith must be respected, we must not do separately any aspect of laity training which we can do as well or better together" (Gazzada-Varses, Italy, September 7th-10th, 1965).

12. Women

    A similar desire for joint action was expressed by a group of women invited by the relevant Department of the WCC (the Department on Cooperation of Men and Women in Church, Family and Society) and by the Secretariat for Unity, at a meeting held at Vicarello-Bracciano from October 22nd-24th, 1965. Those taking part expressed the wish that further gatherings of this kind should be arranged. Other subjects that could be discussed include: the re-evaluation of the role of the unmarried woman, changes in the role of the family, part-time or full-time work for the married woman, possibilities of service open to women in church institutions, and possibilities of collaboration between women of different confessions in the celebration of the "Women's World Day of Prayer" and of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

13. Social Service Activities, Emergency and Development Aid.

    Several points of contact clearly exist in the field of social service and emergency and development aid. The organizations concerned already collaborate to a large extent. The Joint Working Group notes with satisfaction the ever-increasing collaboration between the various relief organizations of the Roman Catholic Church and the Division of Interchurch Aid, Refugee and World Service of the WCC. It suggests that further possibilities of collaboration should be studied, especially with regard to emergency situations and disasters, but also with regard to long-term projects for combating hunger and poverty. The Joint Working Group recommends that consultations should be organized to study present possibilities of collaboration in the sphere of social service activities, emergency and development aid. At these meetings, not only should possibilities of immediate collaboration be studied, but attention should above all be paid to the spiritual inspiration and Christian responsibility that form the basis of all cooperation. The first meeting of this kind has already taken place from January 16th-2oth, 1966 in Geneva.

14. The International Field

    This field requires the most urgent collaboration on the part of all. It would be of the greatest value to Christians engaged in international affairs if they could reach common convictions concerning the basis for action in this whole field. Joint Working Group therefore hopes to be able to organize in the not too distant future a consultation on the Christian responsibility in international affairs. This aspect should be given priority of study.

15. Catholic International Organizations

    The relations between Roman Catholic international organizations and the various departments of the WCC present particular problems. Which Catholic organization corresponds to which WCC department? The Joint Working Group has begun to study methods aimed at establishing contacts which will lead to fruitful cooperation.

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