Skip to content

Statement of Joint Working Group Between the Roman Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches

VATICAN CITY, MAY 19, 2003 ( Here is the final statement of the Joint Working Group between the Roman Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches. The Vatican Press Office issued the final statement of the JWG's plenary meeting held near Bari, Italy, from May 5-11, 2003.


The Joint Working Group (JWG) between the Roman Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches (WCC) held a plenary meeting near Bari, Italy, from May 5-11, 2003. This was the fourth plenary meeting since the 1998 General Assembly of the World Council of Churches which sent out the present mandate of the JWG, under the leadership of the two co-moderators, Archbishop Mario Conti (Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow, Scotland) and Bishop Jonas Jonson (Lutheran Bishop of Strängnäs, Sweden).

The meeting was held at Oasi Santa Maria, a center for spirituality, under the direction of Monsignor Colucci of the archdiocese of Bari-Bitonto, located just outside the town of Cassano delle Murge. Archbishop Francesco Cacucci and the whole local church welcomed the JWG in the traditional spirit of the Bari region, renowned for its history of contacts between Christians of various Churches, drawn to the Basilica of Bari which houses the tomb of St Nicholas.

Each day morning and evening prayer were celebrated according to the varied traditions of the churches and Ecclesial Community represented in the working group.

Two new members were introduced to the group: the Most Revd Brian Farrell LC, the new Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who replaces the Most Revd Marc Ouellett who has become the Archbishop of Quebec; and Monsignor Felix Machado who replaces the Most Revd Michael Fitzgerald who has become the President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

The representatives of the WCC and the Catholic Church met separately for a brief time for some specific orientation, then moved into full plenary to share some significant developments in the lives of the WCC and the Catholic Church since the last meeting. The WCC representatives reported on the results of the Special Commission on the Relations with the Orthodox Churches, and the celebration of the 75th anniversary of Faith and Order held in Lausanne in 2002 and shared the plans thus far for future world events such as the Faith and Order Plenary (2004), the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism (2005) and the next Assembly of the WCC itself (2006). The representatives from the Catholic Church reported on the wide scope of bilateral relations and dialogues between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Reformed, Mennonite, Pentecostal and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as well as consultations with the Seventh Day Adventists and Evangelicals.

Much of the time of the meeting was given over to the discussion and detailed examination of draft texts related to three major areas under study by the JWG: The Ecclesiological Implications of Baptism; the Nature and Purpose of Ecumenical Dialogue; and Roman Catholic Participation in National and Regional Councils of Churches. Gratitude is due to the sub-groups who had prepared these texts for discussion. Much progress has been made in these studies and mature texts are anticipated for refinement at the next plenary, to be included in the report that JWG will make to the next Assembly of the WCC, and to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

A progress report was heard on the ways that the Churches and Ecclesial Community are engaging and collaborating on the Decade to Overcome Violence, and the JWG reaffirmed its commitment to supporting this important ecumenical initiative. The plenary also received updates on the matter of interchurch marriages and took note of the upcoming meeting of the International Association of Interchurch Families which will be held outside Rome in August.

The Rev. Dorino Angelillo from Caritas Puglia visited the Working Group to give a comprehensive presentation on the situation related to refugees and immigrants in Italy in general and the region of Puglia in particular, highlighting the challenges that are before governments and churches as individuals and populations, of different cultures and religions, settle in the country.

This was followed by a reflection given by Professor Franco Vaccari, the President of Rondine-Cittadella della Pace, who spoke of the development of peace initiatives, particularly involving young people from areas of conflict in the world.

The rich ecumenical environment of Bari was experienced on several occasions. An opening ecumenical prayer service was held in the parish church of Santa Maria Assunta in Cassano delle Murge, at which Archbishop Cacucci presided, with testimonies presented by local Orthodox, Waldensian, Baptist and Seventh Day Adventist participants. The whole event was organized by the Ecumenical Group of Bari under the leadership of Fr Angelo Romita. Afterwards the Mayor of Cassano delle Murge, Giuseppe Gentile, addressed the JWG and spoke of the unity of Christians as a necessary sign and encouragement to civil society in its search for greater harmony and service to the common good.

A visit was made to the Dominican Patristic Institute of Bari which is a center for ecumenical dialogue, research and learning, bringing together Christians principally from Catholic and Orthodox backgrounds. A visit to the museum of the diocese of Bari-Bitonto helped to illustrate the important crossroads that Bari has been for Christians from Byzantine, Slav, Latin and Armenian traditions for over 1000 years.

The members participated in the celebration of the translation of the relics of St Nicholas at the waterfront in Bari, presided over by Archbishop Cacucci, which highlighted the strength of popular devotion to St Nicholas, who is venerated by the Christian East and West. The evening events concluded with a festive dinner to honor the JWG, given by the Mayor and municipal authorities, in the presence of the Archbishop. On Sunday, the members of the JWG prayed at the tomb of St Nicholas and visited the Archbishop at his residence.

The co-moderators expressed to the sisters and staff of the Oasi Santa Maria the gratitude of the members of the JWG for their warm hospitality and support which contributed to the success of the plenary.

The next plenary session of the JWG is planned for 6-13 May 2004.


[Translation of Italian original issued by the Vatican Press Office]


Catholic Online CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000



Vatican, Church, Work

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.