2022 PLENARY ASSEMBLY
Report of Activities 2020-2022
Bishop Brian Farrell, Secretary
This report will describe the dicastery’s activity over the past two years, a time that will be long remembered for the upheaval caused by the Covid pandemic. The ecumenical world too suffered the consequences of the restrictions imposed to tackle the health crisis. In relationships between divided Christians, personal contact is essential. Only in encountering each other does the mutual understanding and trust necessary to deepen communion arise and grow. Many meetings and ecumenical dialogues have had to be cancelled or postponed to a future date. Some meetings have been replaced by videoconferences, but there is no doubt that a conversation mediated by technology does not produce the same effect as an exchange of ideas, beliefs, motivations that takes place in person. Yet, even in this fateful period, the search for Christian unity has continued and made progress. The dicastery has published “Ecumenism in a Time of Pandemic: From Crisis to Opportunity”, a synthesis of responses of Bishops’ Conferences and Eastern Catholic Synods to the 2021 PCPCU survey on Covid-19 (see website).
A little over sixty years after its foundation (June 1960), the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity is carrying out its mandate with conviction: to promote ecumenism in the Catholic Church, and to build relations between the Catholic Church and other Christians - in their Churches and Communities.
The dicastery’s first task is internal to the Catholic Church itself: to keep ecumenical responsibility alive through information, training, motivation. This requires participation in numerous meetings, publications, regular correspondence with particular Churches, ad limina visits ...
To promote the ecumenical spirit in the Catholic Church, the Pontifical Council uses the following means of communication:
— a website, www.christianunity.va, which, in addition to offering updates on the ecumenical activity of the Holy See, presents ecumenical documents published since the Second Vatican Council in order to facilitate study and reception of these texts. The website is an ecumenical library in several languages, open to all.
— a review, Acta Œcumenica: the new format of the Information Service/Service d’Information bulletin which the dicastery had published for more than fifty years, an authentic archive of ecumenical information. The review can be consulted online.
— a new series, entitled Ut unum sint, in collaboration with the Libreria Editrice Vaticana, to disseminate ecumenical essays and documents with a view to encouraging theological reflection and rapprochement between Christians. The first volume was dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the dicastery; the second published the proceedings of a recent conference on the ecumenical mission of the Eastern Catholic Churches.
— the Ecumenical Vademecum for Bishops should also be mentioned, which the dicastery has published and sent to all the Episcopal Conferences.
As regards the second task, namely the relations between the Catholic Church and other Churches and Communities, a summary of some of the dicastery’s activities is presented below, first of the Eastern Section, and then of the Western Section, to conclude with a mention of multilateral activities.
CATHOLIC-ORTHODOX THEOLOGICAL DIALOGUE
In November 2019, a meeting of the Coordinating Committee of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church was held. The purpose of the meeting was the examination of a draft document on the theme “Primacy and synodality in the second millennium and today”, on which drafting had begun in 2017. At the meeting it was decided that the text required further study and revision at a future meeting of the Coordination Committee. Due to the pandemic, this meeting could not take place in the years 2020 - 2021, but is planned to be held from 16 to 20 May this year. The hope is to complete the examination of the document in order to be able to convene a Plenary Session of the Commission in 2023.
It has to be said that due to the pandemic the work of the Commission has suffered a slowdown. It is also true that new tensions have arisen in the Orthodox world following the granting of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. After the granting of autocephaly, the Moscow Patriarchate no longer participates in the work of the Commission, having decided not to take part in meetings chaired or co-chaired by representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. However, on the basis of a decision taken by the Orthodox Churches during the preparation of the Dialogue, which declared that the dialogue would continue even in the absence of one or more of the Orthodox Churches, the other Churches have confirmed their continuing participation. Despite the fact that the absence of the Russian Orthodox Church, as also that of the Bulgarian Church which has not participated in the work of the Commission for over ten years, represents a serious limitation, the Catholic side intends to continue the theological dialogue. Most recently, the Orthodox world is deeply shaken by events in Ukraine following the aggression by Russia, and the long-term effects this will have on dialogue cannot yet be measured.
Ecumenical Patriarchate: The traditional exchange of visits of delegations from the Holy See and the Ecumenical Patriarchate on the occasion of their respective patronal feasts took place regularly (except for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul in 2020, due to the pandemic). The pandemic did not prevent Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew from visiting Rome in 2020 and 2021, where he met Pope Francis and participated in other ecumenical events.
Visits of the Holy Father: From 2 to 4 December 2021, Pope Francis visited Cyprus, where he met His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos II and the Holy Synod. An ecumenical prayer service with migrants took place on December 3. From 4 to 6 December 2021, Pope Francis visited Greece. He twice met the Archbishop of Athens and of all Greece, His Beatitude Ieronymos II, on 4 and 5 December. The Cardinal President was part of the Pope’s entourage.
The Catholic Committee for Cultural Collaboration: The Committee continued to support Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox students wishing to perfect their ecclesiastical training at Catholic academic institutions. The pandemic made it impossible to organize study visits to Rome by students from other Churches in 2020 and 2021.
THE ORIENTAL ORTHODOX CHURCHES
The Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches began the third phase of its dialogue in 2015, dealing with the sacraments in the life of the Church. The Commission met in Rome in January 2019, in Beirut in January 2020 (hosted by the Syrian Orthodox Church), and online in 2021 and 2022, in order to finalize a document on this topic. The plenary assembly of the Commission will meet in Rome in June 2022 and should be able to agree on this document, the third since the beginning of the dialogue. The next phase of the dialogue will focus on “The Virgin Mary in the teaching and life of the Church”. It should be noted that after the death of Metropolitan Anba Bishoy, the new Oriental Orthodox Co-Chair is Bishop Kyrillos, Coptic Orthodox Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles.
The Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East began the third phase of its dialogue in 2017, considering the images of the Church in the Latin and Syriac patristic traditions. Plenary sessions took place in Rome in November 2018 and in November 2019. Since then, the members of the Commission have been able to draft a document on this topic, which should be finalized and agreed in November 2022. Some changes have occurred in the composition of the Commission after the election of Mar Awa Royel as Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East in September 2021. The new Catholicos will make his first official visit to the Holy See in November 2022.
The Theological Dialogues with the Malankara Orthodox Churches in India takes place every year when a delegation of the Pontifical Council visits Kerala. The Commission with the Malankara (Jacobite) Syrian Orthodox Church has discussed a project of joint pastoral guidelines for interchurch marriages. The Commission with the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church discussed updates on various practical projects: a “Source Book on Ecclesiastical History”, a “Common Patristic Readings for 365 Days”, and diverse proposals for pastoral cooperation. Since 2019 the Commissions have not been able to meet due to the pandemic. It should be noted that after the death of Catholicos Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in October 2021 elected a new Catholicos, namely, His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Mathews III.
Other events included a first study visit to Rome of young priests and monks from the Oriental Orthodox Churches from 15-22 February 2020, aimed at deepening their understanding of the Catholic Church. Eighteen monks and priests nominated by their respective Heads of Churches (three from each Oriental Orthodox Church) took part in the initiative. The next study visit will take place in June 2022. It is our hope that this project will contribute to mutual understanding and friendship between our Churches.
From 5‒8 March 2021, Pope Francis visited Iraq, and although the focus of the Apostolic Journey was on interreligious dialogue, the visit also had an ecumenical dimension and was an opportunity to meet representatives of the various Christian communities present in Iraq, in particular His Holiness Mar Gewargis III, Catholicos–Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East.
Pope Francis called for a Day of reflection and prayer for Lebanon in the Vatican on 1 July 2021. Joining the representatives of the Catholic communities were the leaders of the other Churches and Ecclesial communities of the region: Patriarch John X Yazigi of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch; Catholicos Aram I of the Armenian Apostolic Church (Cilicia); Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch; and Reverend Joseph Kassab, President of the Supreme Council of the Evangelical Community in Syria and Lebanon.
From 12‒15 September 2021 Cardinal Koch visited Iraq, representing the Holy Father at the enthronement of the new Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, His Holiness Mar Awa III. He also made an ecumenical visit to the Nineveh Plains and to Baghdad, where he met with the members of the Council of Christian Church Leaders of Iraq
On 6 October 2021, Pope Francis met with His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and His Beatitude Sahak II, Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, who were in Rome for a meeting of the Sant’Egidio Community. His Beatitude Sahak II was enthroned Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople on 11 January 2020 and this was the first visit to Rome as Patriarch.
On 28 February 2022, on the anniversary of his apostolic journey to Iraq, Pope Francis received in audience the Representatives of the various Christian Churches in Iraq. Among them, together with the Catholic representatives, were the Syrian Orthodox Archbishop of Mosul, Nicodemus Daoud, the Greek‒Orthodox Metropolitan of Baghdad, Ghattas Hazim, and the Assyrian Bishop of Kirkuk, Mar Abris.
After the publication of Walking together on the Way (2018), the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) renewed its membership and met for the first time in Jerusalem in May 2019 to begin its study about how “the Church in communion discerns right ethical teaching”. Since then it has been impossible to meet in person because of the pandemic, but a meeting is scheduled for 7‒14 May 2022. However, during the lockdown the Commission continued to work, having two remote plenary sessions in May 2020 and 2021, and a number of webinar meetings at other times of the year. The Commission formed a drafting group and two Case Study Groups that have prepared material to be studied during these webinars and at this year’s plenary.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has continued to maintain close relations with the Holy See. He was one of the principal Church leaders present at the event held in the Vatican ahead of COP 26. The Archbishop will accompany Pope Francis and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland in an ecumenical visit to South Sudan in July of this year.
An unofficial dialogue, the Malines Conversations Group, completed a document entitled Sorores in Spe. This document re-examined the current position on Anglican Orders and was published to mark the centenary of the beginning of the Malines conversations.
The International Anglican‒Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) was to hold its second summit meeting in 2021. The pandemic made this impossible and so the meeting has been rescheduled to meet in Rome during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in 2023 and then travel on to Canterbury.
METHODIST WORLD COUNCIL
The Methodist‒Catholic dialogue held a final drafting meeting in the first week of March 2020, just before the lockdowns began. Commission members continued to draft throughout the summer of 2020 and submitted a mature draft to the Commission’s virtual plenary in October of the same year. This text was examined and revised, and finally adopted in March 2021. The document is entitled God in Christ Reconciling: On the Way to Full Communion in Faith, Sacraments, and Mission. It examines soteriology, Church structures, sacramental life and mission through the lens of reconciliation. It is the first Western ecumenical document to examine the sacrament of penance.
Father Paolo Cocco, OFMCap, was nominated to prepare a commentary. A number of points that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith raised with both the document and the commentary were incorporated into the text of the commentary and the nulla osta to publish was given in March 2022. The dicastery is currently working with the World Methodist Council on an event to launch the document and prepare for the next round of dialogue, set to begin in October of this year with the working title, “That the World May Believe”.
The World Methodist Council has established the Methodist Ecumenical Office in Rome, with a full-time representative to the Holy See, the Revd Matthew Laferty. The PCPCU is grateful for this initiative which strengthens relations between the two Communions.
OLD CATHOLIC CHURCHES OF THE UNION OF UTRECHT
A document called “Church and Church Communion” which synthesizes the dialogue so far is in the process of publication.
LUTHERAN WORLD FEDERATION
The fifth phase of the Lutheran-Catholic dialogue concluded its work on a document, entitled “Baptism and Growth in Communion”. It is being published with a preface which states that it is an “open-ended study document not yet ready for reception” and a commentary by Professor Wolfgang Klausnitzer, which indicates the problematic issues in the document from the Catholic point of view. These texts can be consulted on the PCPCU website. A new expanded Italian edition of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification was published to mark the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s excommunication (3 January 2021). In June 2021, the leadership of the LWF visited the PCPCU and had an audience with Pope Francis. A working-group has been set up to prepare the sixth phase of the dialogue, as well as a study-group to prepare for the five hundredth anniversary of the Confessio Augustana. The new Secretary General of the LWF, Reverend Anne Burghardt and staff held talks at the PCPCU in February 2022.
The Cardinal President has issued an official statement regarding the document “Together at the Lord’s Table” of the Ecumenical Working Group of Protestant and Catholic Theologians (OAK) in Germany, which raised fundamental questions of ecclesiological and sacramental theology, under the influence of the Leuenberg Agreement on ecumenical relations in that country.
The PCPCU has begun a new regional and multilateral dialogue with the Communion of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE), which held a first meeting in April 2022 in Basel (Switzerland), with the working title: “Towards a Common Understanding of Church. Reassurance, Deepening, Outlook”. The co-chairs of the dialogue are Bishop Bertram Meier, Augsburg, and Reverend Dr John Bradbury, presiding member of the CPCE Committee. A second meeting is planned for November 2022.
Of note is the accession of the New Apostolic Church of Switzerland to the baptismal declaration of “Riva San Vitale”, which means that it is no longer considered a “sect”, but “an apostolic free church”. Also noteworthy is the fact that in October 2021, under the title “With Luther to the Pope”, approximately five hundred Protestant, Catholic and unbaptized pilgrims from Germany visited Rome, and were received in audience by Pope Francis.
WORLD COMMUNION OF REFORMED CHURCHES
Cardinal Koch sent greetings to the General Secretary, Reverend Dr Chris Ferguson, and the Executive Committee members during the Executive Committee Meeting, 25‒28 May 2021. The WCRC has been undergoing a time of transition. After the retirement of the General Secretary on 31 August 2021, a “collegial general secretariat” is directing the work of the WCRC. Its members, Reverend Dr Hanns Lessing (Evangelical Church of Westphalia), Acting General Secretary, Reverend Philip Vinod Peacock (Church of North India), Acting General Secretary for Programmes, and Mr Phil Tanis (Reformed Church in America), Acting General Secretary for Communications, visited the PCPCU on 7 September 2021. At the meeting, the association of WCRC to the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification and the possibility of it developing into new forms of cooperation was discussed.
DISCIPLES OF CHRIST (CHURCH OF CHRIST)
In 2020, the International Commission for Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Disciples of Christ published the report of the fifth phase entitled: “Do This In Memory of Me: Christians Formed and Transformed by the Eucharist” (2014-2018). In 2021, a sixth phase of dialogue began on the topic of “The Ministry of the Spirit” (2 Cor 3). Under the chairmanship of Bishop David Ricken, Diocese of Green Bay, WI, USA, and Reverend Robert Welsh, former secretary of the Commission for Christian Unity of the Disciples of Christ, USA. Three Steering Committee Meetings and two online Plenary meetings have been held. An in-person meeting is planned for June 2022 in Lexington, KY, USA.
BAPTIST WORLD ALLIANCE
A third phase of theological conversations between the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) and the PCPCU, on the general theme of “The Dynamic of the Gospel and the Witness of the Church”, is continuing. The latest meeting, partly in‒person and partly online, took place in December 2021, on “Forms of Common Witness,” giving attention to the ways in which Baptists and Catholics have already been engaged in a shared witness to the Gospel and envisioning ways in which the two communions might more intentionally and more fully collaborate in offering the world a common witness to Christ. Under the co-presidency of Bishop Arthur Serratelli, Emeritus of Patterson, USA, and Reverend Frank Rees, University of Divinity, Melbourne, Australia, a Final Report is being prepared, to be discussed during a December 2022 Plenary session in Rome.
Catholic-Pentecostal International Dialogue
The seventh phase of dialogue continued on the theme “Lex orandi, Lex credendi”, now chaired by Most Reverend Joseph Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, USA, and Reverend Cecil M. Robeck, Jr, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena (CA), USA. Many of the members of the Commission are also new. An important development is the active involvement of the Pentecostal World Fellowship through Reverend David Wells, Chair of Christian Unity Commission and General Superintendent of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Reverend Wells will now be the Pentecostal chair of the dialogue. An Executive Committee meeting was held in July 2021 and a virtual plenary meeting on 23 September. The next meeting has been scheduled to take place in Rome in the summer of 2022. The dialogue, which is not aimed at structural unity but at exploring the life and spiritual experience of Christians, gives special attention to the fullness of life in the Holy Spirit.
Significant developments at the local and international levels
Pope Francis continues to strengthen relations with Pentecostals and Charismatics through messages, as on the occasion of the Ecumenical Vigil of Pentecost organized by the Commission for unity of CHARIS in Rome, or his support for the Pentecostal initiative of the John 17 Movement. Over the past two years, relations between Catholics and Pentecostals/Charismatics have experienced noteworthy developments at the local level. In the spirit of collaboration with local Churches, the Pontifical Council was able to participate in the SOMOS UM initiative in Brazil which saw the inauguration of the Joint Catholic-Pentecostal Working Group in Brazil (September 2021); Monsignor Juan Usma and Pastor David Cole, co-secretaries of the Catholic Pentecostal International Dialogue, led a session of the Society for Pentecostal Studies of the United States on the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Dialogue. Furthermore, Monsignor Usma took part in the first Course on Pentecostalism in Italy; at a conference for the establishment of relations between Catholics and Pentecostals/Charismatics in Lodz (Poland) and a study day at the Centro UNO of the Focolare Movement, as well as a webinar with the delegates for ecumenism of Sri Lanka. With the exception of the last, all the other events involved the participation of Pentecostal and Charismatic leaders. Relations are improving in various countries. On the Pentecostal side, of note are the establishment of a Pentecostal-Catholic Dialogue with the Bishops’ Conference of the United States, and the participation of Pastor David Wells, Vice-President of the Pentecostal World Fellowship, and Pastor Harold Hunter, International Pentecostal Holiness Church Liaison to the Greater Christian Community, in the meeting in the Vatican (October 2021) of religious leaders in view of the COP26 Conference on the environment.
WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES
Although the Catholic Church is not a member of the World Council of Churches (WCC), a multifaceted relationship began during the preparation of the Second Vatican Council and has grown considerably over the decades.
Joint Working Group
The principal means of this partnership is through the Joint Working Group (JWG). Since its foundation in 1965, the JWG has been a catalyst of fruitful theological discussion and practical cooperation. The JWG is approaching the end of its tenth mandate, which was extended due to the pandemic. The last in-person plenary took place in Lyon in 2019; in 2020 and 2021 meetings were organised online. The executive committee also continued to work online, although it met in‒person in Bossey in November 2021. The main effort during this mandate was to produce two documents with recommendations to the churches: 1) Peace is a Treasure for All. An Ecumenical Reflection on Peace Building in Situations of Conflict and Violence, and 2) Migrants and Refugees – Ecumenical Challenges and Opportunities. Both texts, together with The Tenth Report, entitled Walking, Praying and Working Together. An Ecumenical Pilgrimage, have been finalised and are in the process of being published.
The Catholic members of the JWG: Most Revd Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop Emeritus of Dublin, Co-Moderator; Revd Andrzej Choromanski, Co-Secretary; Revd John Crossin, OSFS, USA; Most Revd Brian Farrell, Secretary of the PCPCU; Most Revd Rodolfo Valenzuela Núñez, Bishop of Vera Paz, Guatemala Revd Mons. Indunil Kodithuwakku, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue; Professor Dr Annemarie Mayer, Associate Professor at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium; Dr Professor Teresa Francesca Rossi, Associate Director of Centro Pro Unione, Rome, Italy; Revd Mons. Juan Usma Gómez, PCPCU.
Faith and Order
Four Catholic theologians nominated by the PCPCU have continued their work in two study groups: 1) Ecclesiology: Towards a Common Vision of the Church; 2) Moral Discernment in the Churches. The Catholic members of the Faith and Order Commission: Revd Professor William Henn, OFM Cap., Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome; Professor Dr Myriam Wijlens, University of Erfurt, Germany; Professor Dr hab. Krzysztof Mielcarek, Catholic University of Lublin, Poland; Professor Dr David G. Kirchhoffer, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane; and as consultant, Revd Dr Andrzej Choromanski, PCPCU. Both groups have recently published reports on their work, together with a series of thematic publications on topics relative to their research. All these documents can be consulted on the WCC website. The input of the Catholic theologians has been recognised as crucial for the work of Faith and Order and for the redaction of its documents. Another theologian represents the Catholic Church in a recently formed ad hoc committee called Nicea 2025, charged with developing a concept of a Faith and Order World Conference on the transmission of the Apostolic faith today to mark the 1700th anniversary of the first Ecumenical Council. In November 2020, the PCPCU organized a study session entitled “Nicea 325 – Between the history and the present” as a preparation for the anniversary.
Ecumenical Education and Formation
There is longstanding collaboration between the PCPCU and the WCC in the field of ecumenical education and formation. Father Dr Lawrence Iwuamadi (Nigeria) continues to teach Biblical Theology at the Bossey Ecumenical Institute. Every year during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the students and the staff of the Bossey Institute come to Rome for a weeklong study visit. In 2021, the visit was organized as a series of online sessions with different Dicasteries of the Roman Curia. In 2022, the in-person visits resumed.
Commission on World Mission and Evangelism
The three Catholic members of the Commission ‒ Sr Mary John Kudiyiruppil, SSpS, (India), Revd Stephen Bevans, SVD, (USA), Revd Richard Nnyombi, M.Afr, (Uganda) – have continued to be actively involved in its work, focusing on preparations for the 11th WCC Assembly.
11th WCC Assembly
The 11th General Assembly of the WCC will take place from 31 August to 8 September 2022 in Karlsruhe, Germany, on the theme “Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity”. Revd Andrzej Choromanski (PCPCU) is a member of the Assembly Planning Committee. Several Catholics and Catholic organizations, including those from the local context, are actively involved in the preparations. An international delegation of 20 persons, representative of a broad spectrum of life in the Catholic Church and headed by the President of the PCPCU, will attend the Assembly. The Holy See has sent official delegations since the Third Assembly in New Delhi in 1961.
A delegation of about ten young Catholics, aged between 18-30, will attend a five-day Ecumenical Youth Gathering to take place in the same city immediately prior to the Assembly.
WCC Central Committee
Revd Andrzej Choromanski represented the PCPCU at the online meetings of the WCC Central Committee, in June 2021 and February 2022, dedicated mainly to preparations for the General Assembly. He will also attend an in-person committee meeting in June, which will address the issue of appointing a new secretary general, postponed because of the pandemic.
GLOBAL CHRISTIAN FORUM
Another multilateral body in which the Catholic Church is actively involved is the Global Christian Forum (GCF), an initiative that emerged at the end of the last century to respond to a new ecumenical situation marked by the rapid spread of Evangelical, Pentecostal and Independent churches. Catholic representatives continue to participate in all GCF initiatives. Revd Andrzej Choromanski is a member of the GCF Committee and the Facilitation Group, which acts as an executive body. The PCPCU is involved in the preparations for the Fourth GCF Global Gathering scheduled to be held in Ghana in 2024 on the theme “…so that the world may know” (John 17, 23). The spirit of the GCF continues to inspire ecumenical initiatives on the national and local levels; in the past few years forum-like events with Catholic participation have been organized in Poland, France and Switzerland. Catholics are involved in preparations for the regional GCF Consultations in Asia (South Korea), Latin America (Colombia) and in Africa (Kenya), postponed due to the pandemic.
CHRISTIAN WORLD COMMUNIONS
The last in-person Conference of Secretaries of Christian World Communions (CS/CWC) took place in October 2019 in Christiansfeld, Denmark. In 2020 and 2021, the meetings were held online. This year’s conference is scheduled to take place in Vancouver, Canada, in November. Meeting annually since 1957, the CS/CWC brings together general secretaries from Communions that are international in membership, as well as representatives of some global ecumenical organisations. The Secretary of the PCPCU represents the Catholic Church. The Conference aims at exchanging information on ecumenical events and on the bilateral and multilateral dialogues in which the Communions are involved.
THE SYNODAL PROCESS IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
The ongoing Synodal Process is being viewed with great interest by our ecumenical partners. They see in this dimension of the permanent reform of the Catholic Church the hope of a new phase of ecumenical collaboration and growth in communion. The joint letter that Cardinal Grech and Cardinal Koch addressed to the ecumenical officers of the Episcopal Conferences (October 28, 2021) offers practical suggestions aimed at implementing the ecumenical dimension of the process by Dioceses, Episcopal Conferences and Synods of Eastern Churches. The Vademecum for the Synod states: "Dialogue between Christians of different confessions, united by a single baptism, has a special place in the synodal journey" (5.3.7). In the letter, the Cardinals affirm: "In fact, both synodality and ecumenism are processes of 'walking together' ... Since ecumenism can be understood as an 'exchange of gifts', one of the gifts that Catholics can receive from other Christians is precisely their experience and understanding of synodality ”. In particular, the letter recommends that the bishops provide information on the Synodal Process to the leaders of the main Christian communities in the area of their dioceses, inviting them to appoint delegates to participate in pre-synodal diocesan meetings.
In conclusion, the above are some of the activities involving the PCPCU in the search for Christian Unity. The dicastery continues to fulfil its twofold task: to keep alive in the Catholic Church a lively and responsible commitment to the ecumenical movement, and to build ever deeper relations with our sisters and brothers of the other Churches and Communions.