World Council of Churches

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

Third report of the Joint Working Group

The Joint Working Group is convinced that the work of the past five years has been worthwhile. At the same time a great many things remain to be done. The Lord's demand is clear: that they may be one in order that the world may believe" (John 17,21). As we face this demand we are keenly aware of how much we still fall short of giving to the world the sign of communion which should arouse its faith in the love of the Father who sends his Son to save us.

01 January 1971

For the past five years there has been a develop­ment in relations between the World Council of Churches and the Roman Catholic Church. The Joint Working Group, since its inception in 1965, has attempted to encourage this development and to search out and recommend to the responsible authorities on both sides areas and forms of co­operation. In two previous reports presented in February, 1966, and August, 1967, it reviewed the many fields of common study and action. The impressive range of common concern is clear evi­dence of the communion already existing among the Churches. Since the publication of the Second Re­port, there has been a marked increase in common programmes for study and action.

The Joint Working Group is convinced that the work of the past five years has been worthwhile. At the same time a great many things remain to be done. The Lord's demand is clear: that they may be one in order that the world may believe" (John 17,21). As we face this demand we are keenly aware of how much we still fall short of giving to the world the sign of communion which should arouse its faith in the love of the Father who sends his Son to save us.

A recognition of the contemporary situation calls for reflection on the foundations for future co-ope­ration among Christians, and specifically between the Roman Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches. If on the one hand the scandal of disunity is sharper and the task of overcoming our confessio­nal differences becomes more imperative, on the other hand it becomes clearer that we are faced with the question of how to interpret the Gospel today so that we may respond more faithfully to God's call to give witness to him in a way which can be effectively heard by the world.

Download : 03 Third Report Joint Working Group.pdf