COI Gazette – 3rd July 2015

Religious leaders meet European Commission

Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the EC in charge of Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations, the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, with religious leaders at the ‘high-level meeting’. Bishop Christopher Hill is pictured front row, first left. (Photo: EU/Shimera/ J. Jacquemart)

Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the EC in charge of Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations, the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, with religious leaders at the ‘high-level meeting’. Bishop Christopher Hill is pictured front row, first left. (Photo: EU/Shimera/ J. Jacquemart)

On 16th June, senior interfaith leaders gathered for the 11th annual ‘high- level meeting’ at the European Commission.

Held at the invitation of European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, the gathering focused on ‘Living together and disagreeing well’.

The Conference of European Churches, of which the Church of Ireland is a member- Church, was represented by CEC President, the Rt Revd Christopher Hill, and Pastor François Clavairoly, President of the Protestant Federation of France.

Other CEC representatives at the meeting included CEC Governing Board member, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, Romanian and Orthodox Metropolis of Western and Southern Europe. European Parliament Vice-President Antonio Tajani was also present.


 

Editorial

THE WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES AND THE VATICAN

Last week, 50 years of collaboration between the World Council of Churches and the Vatican was marked at a ceremony at the Centro Pro Unione in Rome. The WCC/Roman Catholic Church Joint Working Group was praised by both WCC General Secretary, the Revd Dr Olav Fyske Tveit, and Pope Francis.

Dr Tveit commented: “The World Council of Churches is grateful for new momentum in collective efforts to manifest our common faith in God the creator, and our commitment to common service. The unity agenda remains at the heart of all our efforts for common witness and contributions to ensure more justice and peace for people and creation. We are grateful and even proud of 50 years as a working group between these great major ecumenical instruments in the world, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the World Council of Churches.”

In a message, Pope Francis said that, reflecting on those past 50 years, both bodies “should be encouraged by the collaboration which the Joint Working Group had promoted, not only in ecumenical issues but also in the areas of interreligious dialogue, peace and social justice, and works of charity and humanitarian aid”.

The Pope encouraged the Joint Working Group to further its discussion on “crucial ecumenical issues and, at the same time, to promote ways for Christians to testify together to the real, though imperfect, communion shared by all the baptized”.

The Joint Working Group is co-moderated by Metropolitan and Archbishop Nifon of Targoviste
from the Romanian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr Diarmuid Martin.

The Roman Catholic Church not only co-operates with the WCC through the Joint Working Group but is also a full member of the WCC’s Faith and Order Commission. Also last week, the WCC announced that the newly reconstituted Commission had begun to define its working priorities from 2015 until the next WCC Assembly in 2020: examining theological foundations of the WCC programme ‘the pilgrimage of justice and peace’; continuing work on dialogue and the discovery of common ground among Churches regarding the Christian doctrine of the Church; and coordinating consultations and seminars on how Churches engage in processes of “moral discernment” when deciding policies leading to action on such topics as climate change, slavery, apartheid, human sexuality and matters of life and death.

The Joint Working Group and the Faith and Order Commission are vital bodies in furthering the ecumenical movement – and there has been ‘movement’ in terms of inter-Church relations, however slow it may have been at times and however incomplete the work still is. The Joint Working Group does more than simply keep lines of communication between Rome and Geneva open, but itself has given impetus to ecumenical action, and the Faith and Order Commission has set itself a challenging agenda. Both are clearly working well and are facing the real ecumenical issues of the day.


 

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News Extra

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