The leaders met in a prayerful and collegial atmosphere to evaluate past collaboration between the WCC and the Roman Catholic Church during the 2013-2022 strategic period. They then went on to share the 2023-2030 WCC strategic objectives, and to reaffirm and refine future ways of working, with particular reference to the work of the Joint Working Group, WCC commissions and collaboration with other dicasteries and Catholic organisations with reference to the current ecumenical and global landscapes.
A major highlight from those past was Pope Francis’ visit to the WCC and the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey in 2018.
Planning also included the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, along with other Catholic participation in WCC commissions and programmes. Catholic participation has been particularly strong in the WCC Commission on Faith and Order, and in the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace Reference Group, as well as in the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism, Commission of the Churches in International Affairs, and Commission on Education and Ecumenical Formation.
The group made a commitment to recovering the unique role of the Joint Working Group in the ecumenical movement as a tool for collaboration and as a consultative body that is able to discover and analyse ways of being church in a challenging world. The Joint Working Group observed its 50th anniversary in 2015.
Possible themes identified for the Joint Working Group’s future reflection include thinking of ways of providing ecumenical formation that introduces ecumenism to the new generation, and ways of being church in the context of new challenges brought on by globalization.
Both parts gave a positive assessment of the past period of collaboration and reaffirmed their will to continue to respond together to Jesus’ prayer that all his followers may be one so that the world may believe (cf. Jn 17, 21).
The meeting consisted of following representatives;
Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay (Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa), general secretary
Rev. Dr Kuzipa Nalwamba (United Church of Zambia), programme director for Unity and Mission
Dr Andrej Jeftic (Serbian Orthodox Church), director of the Faith and Order Commission
Dr Vasile-Octavian Mihoc (Romanian Orthodox Church), programme executive for Ecumenical Relations
Cardinal Kurt Koch (Switzerland), prefect
Bishop Brian Farrell (Ireland), secretary
Mons. Juan Usma Gómez (Colombia), head of the Western Section
Revd Hyacinthe Destivelle (France), Eastern Section
Revd Andrzej Choromanski (Poland), responsible for multilateral relations