WCC official credits Pope for leading the way in ecumenism

There is now much more space and willingness for meaningful cooperation beyond theological dialogues among churches, says Pastor Martin Robra.

Jun 08, 2018

ROME: There is now much more space and willingness for meaningful cooperation beyond theological dialogues among churches, says Pastor Martin Robra.

Antonio Spadaro SJ, editor-in-chief of La Civilta Cattolica, interviewed Pastor Martin Robra, co-secretary of the mixed working group between the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Catholic Church set up in 1965.

The interview comes before Pope Francis travels to the Swiss city of Geneva on June 21 to mark the WCC's 70th anniversary.

The papal trip will coincide with the final day of the weeklong, biennial meeting of the WCC's central committee.

"To me it looks as if we have reached a new spring with Pope Francis and his initiatives. I was so much encouraged by his participation in the prayer in Lund for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation," said Pastor Robra. "I was struck by how the speeches were focused on the current and future challenges, on the road ahead …"

Pastor Robra said Pope Francis is concentrating on the WCC during his visit to Geneva. This is very different from the two previous visits of Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II, he said.

"Pope Francis comes first of all as head of the Catholic Church.… We hope that together we can continue a pilgrimage of justice and peace to those at the margins of societies, those yearning for justice and peace in this violence-stricken world and its unjust political and economic relationships," he said.

The Catholic Church is not part of the WCC, but has participated as an observer and at various levels since 1965 — the year the Second Vatican Council concluded — in particular in the Faith and Order Commission and the Mission and Evangelism Commission.

The WCC was established in 1948, with its Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox and Old Catholic members spread across 348 churches in 110 countries. Its aim is to foster unity in fellowship, service and mission.--ucanews.com(used with permission)

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