Catholic participation in meetings of Faith and Order Working Groups

16 Jan 2020

Catholic theologians who are members and consultants of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches (Geneva) participated in annual meetings of working groups recently held in Bossey, Switzerland. From 8–11 January 2020, Father Andrzej Choromanski (PCPCU) attended a meeting of the Ecclesiology Study Group, which continued to analyse the responses to “The Church: Towards a Common Vision” (TCTCV), a Faith and Order convergence statement on the Church published in 2013. The 75 responses from individual churches, including the Response of the Catholic Church, as well as national councils of churches, ecumenical groups, and individual scholars received by the Geneva office of the Commission show a remarkable level of convergence among various Christian traditions regarding the nature, mission and unity of the Church. The final report on the TCTCV process together with studies on sixteen themes identified as relevant in the responses will be published this year.

Professor Dr Myriam Wijlens (University of Erfurt, Germany), Professor David Kirchhoffer (Australian Catholic University, Brisbane) and Father Professor William Henn (Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome) represent the Catholic Church in the study group on Moral Discernment in the churches. The group met in Bossey from 10–14 January 2020 exploring the common ground that churches from different traditions hold in relation to moral issues that continue to divide them. Despite remaining divergences, several similarities can be uncovered regarding the processes in the churches leading to moral discernment. Reflecting on examples taken from history, the group sought to develop means that might enable the churches to understand better how moral discernment processes occur in their own and other traditions. It is hoped that this will assist churches to constructively engage in conversation about ethical decision–making.

On Saturday 11 January both groups met together for a preliminary discussion on the possibility of organizing the World Conference on Faith and Order in 2025 in order to commemorate the 1700th anniversary of the first ecumenical council, Nicea 325.