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The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) is a pontifical council whose origins are associated with the Second Vatican Council which met intermittently from 1962 to 1965.
Pope John XXIII wanted the Catholic Church to engage in the contemporary ecumenical movement. He established a Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity on 5 June 1960 as one of the preparatory commissions for the council, and appointed Cardinal Augustin Bea as its first president. The secretariat invited other churches and world communions to send observers to the council.
The Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity prepared and presented a number of documents to the council:
Following the Second Vatican Council, in 1966 Pope Paul VI confirmed the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity as a permanent dicastery of the Holy See.
In the apostolic constitution Pastor bonus (28 June 1988), Pope John Paul II renamed the secretariat the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
The PCPCU has two sections dealing with:
The council has a twofold role:
Since its creation, it has also established a cordial cooperation with the World Council of Churches (WCC). Twelve Catholic theologians have been members of the WCC's Faith and Order Commission since 1968.
The PCPCU is responsible for naming Catholic observers at various ecumenical gatherings and in its turn invites observers or "fraternal delegates" of other churches or ecclesial communities to major events of the Catholic Church.
At present, the PCPCU is engaged in an international theological dialogue with each of the following churches and world communions:
Directed by a Cardinal President, assisted by a Secretary, a Joint Secretary, and an Under-Secretary.
The council is responsible for working with other churches on ecumenical translations of scripture, and promoted the establishment of the Catholic Biblical Federation.
The Commission of the Holy See for Religious Relations with the Jews is the responsibility of the PCPCU, while the Commission of the Holy See for Religious Relations with Muslims comes under the direction of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. This is because when the council was being created the Commission of the Holy See for Religious Relations with the Jews was consulted as to whether it wished to come under the Inter-Religious Dialogue Council, it declined and thus remains part of the Promoting Christian Unity Council.
Unitatis redintegratio is the Second Vatican Council's decree on ecumenism. It was passed by a vote of 2,137 to 11 of the bishops assembled at the Council, and was promulgated by Pope Paul VI on 21 November 1964.
The World Council of Churches (WCC) is a worldwide Christian inter-church organization founded in 1948 to work for the cause of ecumenism. Its full members today include the Assyrian Church of the East, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, most jurisdictions of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Old Catholic Church, the Lutheran Churches, the Anglican Communion, the Mennonite Churches, the Methodist Churches, the Moravian Church and the Reformed Churches, as well as the Baptist Churches and Pentecostal Churches. Notably, the Catholic Church is not a full member, although it sends delegates to meetings who have observer status. The WCC arose out of the ecumenical movement and has as its basis the following statement:
The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Savior according to the scriptures, and therefore seek to fulfill together their common calling to the glory of the one God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
It is a community of churches on the way to visible unity in one faith and one eucharistic fellowship, expressed in worship and in common life in Christ. It seeks to advance towards this unity, as Jesus prayed for his followers, "so that the world may believe".
Full communion is a communion or relationship of full understanding among different Christian denominations that share certain essential principles of Christian theology. Views vary among denominations on exactly what constitutes full communion, but typically when two or more denominations are in full communion it enables services and celebrations, such as the Eucharist, to be shared among congregants or clergy of any of them with the full approval of each.
Ecumenism, also spelled as oecumenism or œcumenism, is the concept and principle in which Christians belonging to different Christian denominations work together to develop closer relationships among their churches and promote Christian unity. The adjective ecumenical is thus applied to any interdenominational initiative that encourages greater cooperation between Christians and their churches.
Johannes Gerardus Maria Willebrands was a Dutch Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity from 1969 to 1989, and Archbishop of Utrecht from 1975 to 1983. Elevated to the cardinalate in 1969, Willebrands was central to the increased ecumenism of the Church in the second half of the 20th century, and was considered papabile at the two conclaves held in 1978.
Walter Kasper is a German Roman Catholic Cardinal and theologian. He is President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, having served as its president from 2001 to 2010.
The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) is a dicastery of the Roman Curia, erected by Pope Paul VI on 19 May 1964 as the Secretariat for Non-Christians, and renamed by Pope John Paul II on 28 June 1988.
The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ) is a document created and agreed to by the Catholic Church's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) and the Lutheran World Federation in 1999 as a result of extensive ecumenical dialogue. It states that the churches now share "a common understanding of our justification by God's grace through faith in Christ." To the parties involved, this essentially resolves the 500-year-old conflict over the nature of justification which was at the root of the Protestant Reformation. The World Methodist Council adopted the Declaration on 18 July 2006. The World Communion of Reformed Churches, adopted the Declaration in 2017.
Ut unum sint is an encyclical by Pope John Paul II of 25 May 1995. It was one of 14 encyclicals issued by John Paul II. Cardinal Georges Cottier, Theologian emeritus of the Pontifical Household, was influential in drafting the encyclical.
The Catholic Church has engaged in the modern ecumenical movement especially since the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the issuing of the decree Unitatis redintegratio and the declaration Dignitatis humanae. It was at the Council that the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity was created. Before that time, those outside of the Catholic Church were categorised as heretics or schismatics.
Subsistit in is a Latin phrase which appears in Lumen gentium, the fundamental document on the church from the Second Vatican Council of the Catholic Church. Since the Council the reason for use of the term "subsists in" rather than simply “is” has been disputed. Generally, those who see little or no change in church teaching in Vatican II insist on the equivalence of subsistit in and “is”. Those who point to a new, ecumenical thrust in Vatican II insist that the term was introduced as a compromise after much discussion, and acknowledges new elements in the Council's teaching.
Edward Idris Cassidy AC is an Australian Roman Catholic cardinal priest. He is the President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. He headed the Commission of the Holy See for Religious Relations with the Jews. He was made a cardinal on 28 June 1991, and has spent most of his career in the diplomatic service of the Holy See.
Kurt Koch is a Swiss prelate of the Catholic Church. He has been a cardinal since November 2010 and President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity since 1 July 2010. He was the bishop of Basel from 1996 until 2010.
The Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church have been in a state of official schism from one another since the East–West Schism of 1054. This schism was caused by historical and language differences, and the ensuing theological differences between the Western and Eastern churches.
The Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church was established by the Holy See and 14 autocephalous Orthodox churches.
Anglican–Roman Catholic dialogue is the historical communication between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church, through their ecumenical relations. These were notably shaped subsequent to the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965).
The Joint Working Group between the Roman Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches (JWG) is an ecumenical organization working to improve ties between the Catholic Church and its separate brethren, mainly consisting of Eastern Orthodox and Protestant Christians.
An ecclesial community is, in the terminology used by the Catholic Church, a Christian religious group that does not meet the Catholic definition of a "Church." Although the word "ecclesial" itself means "church" or "gathering" in a political sense in Koine Greek, the Catholic Church applies the term "Church" in the proper sense only to Christian communities that, in the Catholic Church's view, "have true sacraments and above all – because of the apostolic succession – the priesthood and the Eucharist."
Donald Joseph Bolen, also known as Don Bolen, is a Canadian Roman Catholic prelate. He is the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina, since his appointment by Pope Francis on 11 July 2016; having previously served as Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon. Archbishop Bolen was born in Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan, in 1961, the son of Joseph and Rose. He was ordained a priest in 1991 for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina, and was consecrated as a bishop on 25 March 2010 for the Diocese of Saskatoon.
Catholic-Orthodox relations have warmed over the last century, as both churches embrace a dialogue of charity. The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) ushered in a new era of relations for the Catholic Church towards the Eastern Church, fondly describing the Orthodox as “separated brethren” with valid sacraments and an apostolic priesthood. The Orthodox Church, on the other hand, encouraged local churches to prepare for future dialogue in the Third Pan-Orthodox Conference in Rhodes (1964), and has since engaged in several ecumenical efforts with the Vatican. Significantly, in 1965 Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople mutually lifted their respective excommunications.