On June 5, 2020, the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity celebrates the 60th anniversary of its foundation. On June 5, 1960, the day of Pentecost, the then Secretariat for the Promotion of Christian Unity was created by Saint John XXIII with the Motu proprio Superno dei Nutu. The establishment of the Secretariat marked the official first step of the Catholic Church in the ecumenical movement.
Cardinal Kurt Koch speaks about the challenges and progress made along the Church’s ecumenical journey, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of what is now the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
“Two events of great importance for the cause of Christian unity are currently being commemorated,” said the President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, Cardinal Kurt Koch.
He made the declaration on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of “Ut unum sint” and the 60th anniversary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
On 5 June 1960, Pope Saint John XXIII established the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, which later became the Pontifical Council in 1988.
On 25 May 1995, Pope Saint John Paul II issued “Ut unum sint”, his encyclical on ecumenical commitment, describing it as “the irreversible path” of the Catholic Church.
In an interview with Vatican News’s Massimiliano Menichetti, Cardinal Koch shared his reflections on the Church’s journey along the path of ecumenism.
Cardinal Koch said that, since 1960, the Church has been able to produce much fruit from the many dialogues and meetings organized as part of the ecumenical movement. However, he noted, the ultimate objective of unity has not yet been achieved because “there is agreement on the need for unity but not on what form it should take.”
Nevertheless, “unity and multiplicity are not opposed even in ecumenism”, as each church can make its specific contribution to the restoration of unity. The ecumenical process is an “exchange of gifts.”
For example, we can learn about the centrality of the Word of God in the life of the Church from ecclesial communities born out of the Reformation. The Orthodox Church, he said, can teach us about synodality and the collegiality of Bishops, while the Catholic Church can offer its emphasis on the universality of the Church to the ecumenical movement.
Steps towards ecumenism
Cardinal Koch highlighted three important points in the journey towards ecumenism.
The first, he said, is the dialogue of charity, which consists in maintaining friendly relations between the different churches, and which is helpful in overcoming prejudices of the past.
The second – the dialogue of truth – is the “theological analysis of controversial questions” that have led to division throughout history.
The third – spiritual ecumenism – is the “profound and concordant adherence to the priestly prayer of Jesus that ‘all may be one.’” (...)
Source: Vatican News
Message of the General Secretary of the Catholic Biblical Federation
His Eminence Cardinal Kurt Koch
Monsignor Juan Usma
The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
In the name of the President of the Catholic Biblical Federation, his Eminence Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, of the Executive Committee and the Administrative Board and of all member institutions of the Federation, I have the honor of presenting our very best wishes on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. We feel very much part of your council, since the Catholic Biblical Federation has its origins within the then Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity and has fostered and maintained this bond which was established more than 50 years ago with gratitude and conviction and with mutual benefit.
We sincerely hope that our common journey and above all your generous and committed service in promoting the unity of the disciples of the Christ shall produce rich fruit, among others the centrality of the Word of God in the life of the Church, as your Eminence mentioned in your festive message, for our Catholic Church and for all Christian Churches.
Kindly accept our heartfelt congratulations and best wishes! May the Lord bless you and accompany you in your highly important service to the Church!
Father Jan J. Stefanów SVD
General Secretary of the Catholic Biblical Federation