The World Council of Churches has sent a warm message to the general assembly of bishops of the Catholic Church on the anniversary of the Second Vatican Council.
“We have come a long way in these fifty years,” observed WCC General Secretary, the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, in a letter to mark the opening of Vatican II by Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962.
The greetings from Dr Tveit were delivered in Rome by Archbishop and Metropolitan Dr Nifon of Targoviste, an Orthodox member of the WCC Central Committee and co-moderator of the Joint Working Group of the Roman Catholic Church and the WCC.
“We remember the Second Vatican Council as an extraordinary moment of evangelical renewal,” wrote Dr Tveit.
He described the unprecedented welcome at Vatican II of observers from diverse doctrinal confessions as “a remarkable sign of openness to Christians of other traditions” and an affirmation that “unity is a gift of life, given in the body of Christ where we all need one another.”
He continued, “To work for the unity of the church is to work for the unity of all life, and to acknowledge and celebrate the diversity of life given by God, in the many cultures, contexts and languages. As the body of Christ, the church is in solidarity with all humankind and all creation, praying to be led by God to justice and peace.”