The Joint Working Group between the World Council of Churches and the Roman Catholic Church declared that “The future of ecumenism demands a return to the spiritual roots of the movement,” during their meeting in the Orthodox Academy of Crete, Greece, May 6-13, 2004.
The meeting adopted three studies dealing with The Ecclesiological and Ecumenical Implications of a Common Baptism, The Nature and Purpose of Ecumenical Dialogue, and Roman Catholic Participation in National and Regional Councils of Churches. Additionally, the participants approved a report of the work of the JWG between 1999 and 2005 and the collaborative efforts between the WCC and the RCC in the same time frame.
The report and the study documents will be made public after presentation to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Assembly of the World Council of Churches next February.
The representatives of the two councils also shared “news of significant development in ecumenical relations.” Such dialogues will serve as preparations for the forthcoming meetings of the World Council’s Faith and Order Commission (2004), Conference on Mission and Evangelism (2005) and Ninth Assembly (2006) as well as bilateral relationships between the Roman Catholic Church and other churches, according to the JWG committee.
The JWG, formed in 1965 following the Second Vatican Council, was charged with initiating, evaluating and sustaining the “many forms of collaboration between the two parent bodies.” The WCC is the largest ecumenical group in the world, while the Roman Catholic Church is the largest Christian group in the world.
The conference marked the last plenary meeting between the two groups, prior to the 2006 WCC assembly in Porto Alegre, Brazil.