World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Sixth report of the Joint Working Group

Reading this sixth report will in itself show the extent to which the productive relations between the WCC and the Roman Catholic Church have multiplied and developed.

01 January 1990

The Joint Working Group for relationships between the Roman Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches has just become twenty-five years old - an opportunity for it to take stock of what it has achieved.

The Joint Working Group came into existence immediately after Vatican II and the opportunity the latter opened up and endorsed for the Roman Catholic Church. The Group was entrusted with studying the conditions for cooperation between the

WCC and the Roman Catholic Church and even - in the first few years - with considering the possibility of the latter's becoming a member of the WCC. When that prospect proved premature, the JWG turned its attention to furthering relations and practical cooperation between the two partners as far as possible.

In submitting the sixth report of JWG, we wish first of all to say how grateful we have been for the experience we have had since it was given its present member­ship, following the 1983 assembly of the World Council of Churches at Vancouver.

Fraternal cooperation among its members has indeed been gradually consoli­dated till it has become a real fellowship characterized by mutual trust and respect. We have learned to talk to each other and listen to each other with real openness. And our awareness of the common mission of our churches in the world has deepened to the point where that mission is seen as the urgent priority.

Reading this sixth report will in itself show the extent to which the productive relations between the WCC and the Roman Catholic Church have multiplied and developed. Setting aside the places in which they have found institutional expres­sion, especially in the Commission on Faith and Order, most of the sub-units of the WCC and their Roman Catholic partners have worked out a process of mutual consultation and sometimes common action which must be taken fully into account. The JWG has constantly applied itself to following this process through and expanding it. It has nevertheless not confined itself to this but has also sought to contribute its own bricks to the common structure. The JWG decided to publish as an appendix to this report two documents - on "The Church: Local and Universal" and on the "Hierarchy of Truths" - which it had ordered and officially received and which demonstrate this. We hope they will make a useful contribution

Download : 06 Sixth Report Joint Working Group.pdf