Catholic participation in 11th Assembly of World Council of Churches

8 Sep 2022

Some 190 Catholics attended the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches from 31 August – 8 September 2022, in Karlsruhe, Germany, on the theme “Christ’s Love Moves the World to Reconciliation and Unity”. Although the Catholic Church is formally not a member church of the WCC, the Catholic representation was one of the largest including almost 20 members of the official delegation of the Holy See sponsored by the Dicastery for Promoting Christin Unity (DPCU), led by its Prefect, Cardinal Kurt Koch, as well as many other participants, ordained and lay, women, men, youth from all over the world taking part in a wide range of capacities. Representatives of Catholic communities and movements traditionally involved in the ecumenical movement, such as Focolari and Chemin Neuf, also attended.

In addition to the official greeting of Pope Francis delivered on his behalf by Cardinal Koch, delegation members attended plenaries and discussion groups, and were involved in the preparation of the Assembly documents such as the Message, the Unity Statement or statements on crucial issues of our time. Catholics also acted as moderators of various ecumenical conversations, facilitators of workshops (Brunnen), and animators of various events accompanying the main program of the Assembly.

On 1 September a “confessional meeting” led by Cardinal Koch offered the opportunity to introduce Catholic participants to the work of the DPCU, to discuss current challenges in the global ecumenical movement, and to reflect on expectations regarding their participation.

On 3 September the evening prayer was prepared and led by a group of Catholic lay faithful from Karlsruhe, around the biblical passage of the meeting of Jesus with Zacchaeus (Lk 19: 1‒10).

On 7 September Bishop Brian Farrell, DPCU Secretary, spoke in the thematic plenary on the unity and mission of the Church focusing on the developing partnership of the Catholic Church with the WCC member churches, as illustrated in the recent achievements of the Joint Working Group, Faith and Order Commission and Commission on World Mission and Evangelism.

The members of the DPCU delegation together with other Catholic participants met on 7 September to assess their participation and evaluate results.

The Assembly concluded on 8 September 2022 with a closing plenary and prayer. The next Assembly will take place in 2030.


Photos: Albin Hillert/WCC