On 4 April 2020, Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU), addressed a letter of appreciation to Reverend Dr Olav Fykse Tveit upon the conclusion of his term of office as Secretary General of the World Council of Churches (WCC). In his letter Cardinal Koch recalled the “outstanding commitment and dedication” of the WCC Secretary General to the cause of Christian unity and expressed “heartfelt gratitude” for the fruitful collaboration between the WCC and the Catholic Church during his over decade long ministry in Geneva. Cardinal Koch underlined that during these years Reverend Dr Fykse Tveit not only enriched the worldwide ecumenical community by his active ministry and many skills, but also was instrumental in the “constructive development” in relations between the WCC and the Catholic Church. The most tangible sign of this developing relationship was the memorable ecumenical pilgrimage of the Holy Father to the headquarters of the WCC in Geneva and the Bossey Ecumenical Institute on 21 June 2018 under the slogan “Walking, Praying and Working Together”, marking the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the WCC. In his letter Cardinal Koch also recalled numerous visits of Reverend Dr Fykse Tveit to the PCPCU either alone or with different delegations. Cardinal Koch concluded his letter asking God’s blessings for his new ministry as Presiding Bishop of the Church of Norway.
Even though the Catholic Church is not a member of the WCC it maintains active collaboration in multiple forms with this leading global ecumenical organisation. Catholics officially appointed through PCPCU are members of important commissions of the WCC, including the Faith and Order Commission, the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism, and the Commission on Ecumenical Education and Formation. Since 2018, for the first time in history, a Catholic scholar has been the Dean of the Bossey Ecumenical Institute. Catholics also participate in various WCC programs and ad hoc initiatives. The most significant collaboration occurs through the Joint Working Group, which has undertaken its activities continuously since its establishment in 1965.
Photo © Albin Hillert/WCC