On 18 October 2019, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) presented the official Catholic Response to The Church: Towards a Common Vision (TCTCV), Faith and Order Paper No.214, published in 2013. Passing through many intermediate stages, the TCTCV is the result of two decades of intense theological work prepared by Orthodox, Anglican, Protestant, Evangelical, Pentecostal and Roman Catholic theologians. It aims to be a ‘convergence text’ and explores what can be said together on the Church at the present stage of the ecumenical discussion on ecclesiology.
Since the publication of TCTCV, the PCPCU has been working towards providing an official Catholic response to The Church: Towards a Common Vision, as requested by the Faith and Order Commission. This process has involved consultations with episcopal conferences around the world, as well as consideration of responses prepared by individual theologians, including both lay and ordained, academic study groups, and ecclesial movements. An international drafting team, composed of women and men, was subsequently established under the auspices of PCPCU. After due study of these contributions by the members of the drafting team, several working sessions were organized in Rome and a draft of the response was prepared. After further improvements by experts and editors the text was approved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Response shows that TCTCV synthesizes well the growing consensus in the field of ecclesiology in the current ecumenical dialogue. At the same time it points out various aspects which need further reflection on the nature and the mission of the church, as well as on the vision of its unity. While expressing gratitude to all those who contributed to the preparation of the Response, the PCPCU encourages its study and hopes that it will assist the Catholic Church at all levels to engage with other Christians in the search of more genuine church fellowship and cooperation on the way to full visible unity.