In a communique, the group noted that, despite some critical voices, the great majority of church leaders and faithful support the vaccination campaign promoted by governments around the world.
Bishop Brian Farrell updated the group on the activities of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, mentioning that most of the work with ecumenical partners is undertaken using modern means of communication. “An important recent event was the publication in December 2020 of the document ‘The Bishop and Christian Unity: An Ecumenical Vademecum,’ “ notes the communique. “The Vademecum has found positive reactions not only in the Catholic Church but also in other churches.”
As every year, at the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, on 25 January, ecumenical vespers were celebrated in the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls with participation of a limited number of representatives of various Christian traditions present in Rome. “Many others joined the celebration online, including students from the Bossey Ecumenical Institute who normally would have been in Rome for their annual study visit,” reads the communique.
In an update on the current activities of the WCC, Rev. Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus, interim WCC deputy general secretary and director of its Faith and Order Commission, pointed out that the pandemic has significantly impacted the work of the WCC, including the postponement of the election of the new general secretary and the next assembly, now scheduled for September 2022. “The Faith and Order Commission is finalizing its studies on ecclesiology and moral discernment in the churches, and relevant studies and documents are being published,” reads the communique.
The Executive Committee of the Joint Working Group also discussed the Tenth Report to be issued at the end of the current mandate, together with two study documents: “Peace is a Treasure for All: Peace–building in Situations of Conflict and Violence” and “Migrants and Refugees – Ecumenical Challenges and Opportunities.”
All three documents are in the final stage of preparation.