Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity


Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity origins are associated with the Second Vatican Council which met intermittently from 1962-1965.

Blessed 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 Augustin Cardinal Bea as its first president. The Secretariat invited other Churches and World Communions to send observers to the Council.

The Secretariat prepared and presented a number of documents to the Council:
*ecumenism (Unitatis Redintegratio)
*non-Christian religions (Nostra aetate)
*religious liberty (Dignitatis humanae)
*with the doctrinal commission, the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum).

The PCPCU has two sections dealing with :
*The Eastern Churches - Orthodox Churches and ancient Oriental Churches, and
*The Western Churches and Ecclesial Communities and for the World Council of Churches.

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.

Since 2001 Cardinal Walter Kasper has been the President while Bishop Brian Farrell has been its secretary since 2002.

In the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus (28 June 1988), Pope John Paul II changed the Secretariat into the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU).

Purpose

The Council has a twofold role:
*the promotion within the Catholic Church of an authentic ecumenical spirit according to the conciliar decree Unitatis Redintegratio
*to develop dialogue and collaboration with the other Churches and World Communions.

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 "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:
* The Eastern Orthodox Church
* The Coptic Orthodox Church
* The Malankara Orthodox Church
* The Anglican Communion
* The Lutheran World Federation
* The World Alliance of Reformed Churches
* The World Methodist Council
* The Baptist World Alliance
* The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
* Some Pentecostal groups.

The Council also seeks to promote meetings with Evangelicals.

tructure

Directed by a Cardinal President, assisted by a Secretary, a Joint Secretary and an Under-Secretary.

Relations with the Jews

Interestingly, whilst the Commission of the Holy See for Religious Relations with Muslims comes under the direction of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, the Commission of the Holy See for Religious Relations with the Jews is the responsibility of the PCPCU.

The Bible

The Council is responsible for working with other Churches on ecumenical translations of Sacred Scripture, and promoted the establishment of the Catholic Biblical Federation.

Orthodox Christianity

Through the Catholic Committee for Cultural Collaboration, the PCPCU promotes the exchange of Orthodox and Catholic theology students wishing to follow courses at one another's universities and seminaries.

External links

* [http://www.gcatholic.com/dioceses/romancuria/d16.htm Giga-Catholic Information]
* [http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/ The Pontifical Council's website]
* [http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/documents/rc_pc_chrstuni_pro_20051996_chrstuni_pro_en.html The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity]
* [http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/sub-index/index_relations-jews.htm Commission for Religious Relations with Jews]


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