Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity becomes Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity

6 Jun 2022

In line with the new Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium on the Roman Curia and its service to the Church and to the entire world effective as from 5 June 2022, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity has become the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity.

It was also on 5 June, Pentecost Sunday, in 1960 that the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity was created by Saint John XXIII as a preparatory commission of the Second Vatican Council, marking the commencement of the official commitment of the Catholic Church to the ecumenical movement. With the Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus of 1988, Saint John Paul II transformed the Secretariat into the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium establishes that “it is the responsibility of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Christian Unity to apply appropriate initiatives and activities to the ecumenical commitment, both within the Catholic Church and in relations with other Churches and Ecclesial Communities, to restore unity among Christians" (art.142).

In particular, it is the task of the Dicastery to “implement the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and the post‒conciliar Magisterium concerning ecumenism”, to assume responsibility for “the correct interpretation and faithful application of ecumenical principles”, to encourage “Catholic meetings and events, both national and international, to promote Christian unity”, and to coordinate “the ecumenical initiatives of the other curial institutions” (art.143).

The Dicastery “maintains relations with other Churches and Ecclesial Communities”, promoting “theological dialogue and talks to foster unity with them”, as well as “ecumenical initiatives on a spiritual, pastoral and cultural level” (art.144).

Also, “in order to advance the relationship between Catholics and Jews, a Commission for Religious Relations with Judaism is established at the Dicastery" (art.146).