Joint Working Group with the Roman Catholic Church

The main instrument to support a growing partnership that benefits all programmatic areas of the WCC.

For more than 50 years, the member churches of the WCC and the Roman Catholic Church have jointly fostered unity, theological reflection, and solidarity in service.

The Roman Catholic Church is the largest, by far, among those churches that are not members of the WCC. Cooperation between the Roman Catholic Church and the WCC continues to grow across all aspects of the WCC’s work for a common Christian witness and service, especially following the visit of Pope Francis to the WCC in June 2018. The Joint Working Group, co-sponsored by the WCC and the Roman Catholic Church, is an effective tool to strengthen this cooperation.

Created in 1965, immediately following the Second Vatican Council, the group brings together its 20 members annually; an executive group meets twice in between. The group’s two co-secretaries – one from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and one representing the WCC – help to coordinate contact between the WCC and the departments (or dicasteries) of the Vatican.

The Joint Working Group provides the space where the parent bodies discuss important topics affecting their relationships. Studies are carried out by the group’s members or by experts from the parent bodies invited by the group.

The agenda of the group touches practically all areas of WCC programmatic activities, including the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace, doctrinal issues, issues related to mission, justice, peace and reconciliation, ecumenical formation and youth.

The Joint Working Group is a worldwide group with regional and local input. The WCC's participation consists of ten members and consultants representing the WCC constituency (from different church traditions, confessions, regions, ordained as well as lay women and men, youth). An equal number of members are nominated by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Joint Working Group between the Roman Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches, 12-14 April 202, Plenary Communique

The Joint Working Group (JWG) between the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) met virtually for its plenary session from 12-14 April 2021 under the leadership of His Eminence Archbishop and Metropolitan Nifon of Târgoviște, Romanian Orthodox Church, and Most Reverend Diarmuid Martin, Catholic Archbishop Emeritus of Dublin.

Joint Working Group

Summary of the Ninth Report

This document offers a summary of the Ninth report from the Joint Working Group between the Roman Catholic Church and the WCC, which relates the focus and work of the group from 2007 through 2012. As the group approaches its fiftieth year, its recent foci include in-depth work on the notion of ecclesial reception of ecumenical work, the spiritual roots of ecumenism, church participation of youth, and emerging work on migration.

Joint Working Group

Ninth report of the Joint Working Group

This report outlines the activities of the JWG during 2007-2012 and includes the two study documents and reflections on the role of youth. The JWG members offer these texts to the parent bodies, i.e. the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) and the World Council of Churches (WCC), and hope that they will be received by churches and Christians around the world, inspiring them in their own ecumenical journey.

Joint Working Group

International Dialogues in Dialogue: Context and Reception. Tenth Forum on Bilateral Dialogues, 2012

Meeting for the first time outside Europe, the tenth Forum on Bilateral Dialogues met in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in March 2012. Following the recommendations on the reception of ecumenical texts from the ninth forum, the meeting in Dar Es Salaam gave special attention to the reception of the achievements of the bilateral dialogues in the Global South. Its recommendations urge the international theological dialogues to be more intentional about questions of membership, methodology, and theological questions about Christian unity that emerge from the variety of contexts in the South.

Commission on Faith and Order

Communiqué of the JWG Plenary Meeting 2011

The island of Malta located in the Mediterranean Sea between Italy and the shores of Tunisia and Libya was the setting for the last plenary meeting of the Joint Working Group between the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) before the forthcoming WCC assembly in 2013 in Busan (Korea). Malta has been at the crossroads of Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East throughout its history.

Joint Working Group

Obituary for Dom Emmanuel Lanne

Tribute to the life and work of Dom Emmanuel Lanne on the occasion of his death. Father Lanne belonged to the first group of Roman Catholic theologians that became in especially close ways associated with the WCC as members of the Commission on Faith and Order.

WCC Programmes

Many ways to Christian unity? The Ninth Forum on Bilateral Dialogues, 2008

Bilateral dialogues are official talks between two Christian churches or families of churches (often known as Christian World Communions, CWCs). They aim at overcoming inherited divergences often related to doctrine and church order, so that the two partners in dialogue may move to declaring that they are in fellowship. The proliferation of bilateral dialogues as from the 1960s has led to the creation of the Forum on Bilateral Dialogues. The Forum provides space and time for CWCs engaged in bilateral dialogues to exchange information, consult together on emerging issues and trends and reflect on the coherence and integrity of the dialogues. The ninth such forum was held in Breklum, Germany, 10-15 March 2008.

Commission on Faith and Order
WCC staff in charge of the JWG with the Roman Catholic Church:

Dr Vasile-Octavian Mihoc
phone: +41 22 791 6551

Though the Roman Catholic Church is not a member of the WCC, it is a full member of the Faith and Order Commission. The Commission on World Mission and Evangelism has Roman Catholic members. The Vatican sponsors a faculty appointment and spiritual support at the Bossey Ecumenical Institute. Through the Pontifical Council for Promoting Interreligious Dialogue, the Catholic Church also works with the WCC on interreligious dialogue and cooperation.