From the Worldwide Faith News archives

WCC NEWS: Interview: Vatican observer John Radano

From "WCC Media" <>
Date Wed, 06 Sep 2006 16:38:21 +0200

World Council of Churches - News Release

Contact: +41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507 6363 For immediate release - 06/09/2006 03:54:23 PM


As an official observer from the Roman Catholic Church, Monsignor John Radano is a well-known presence at meetings of the World Council of Churches (WCC) central committee. Head of the Western Section of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and the principal liaison person between the Vatican and the WCC's Faith and Order Commission, Radano comments in this interview on the first meeting of the new WCC central committee.

- What is your assessment of this first meeting of the new WCC central committee?

It has been a good meeting, with a very positive spirit. Delegates came to know each other for the first time, and as one of them said, they realized that they are part of a larger family.

One of the main areas of work has been the reshaping of the WCC programmatic work. And I believe that all the historical areas of concern of the Council are there: mission, justice and social issues, Faith and Order. This meeting has done a great deal of work in terms of shaping the programmes, and now the WCC will put its efforts into working to better promote those concerns.

Now we have to wait and see how the new structure and working style functions. For sure there will be some adjustments to do and improvements will be made along the way. In relation to Faith and Order, this new style might mean that different units have input to offer, and they will certainly learn from each other, but that's not completely new.

- At the last central committee meeting, you said that the consensus methodology allowed a move "from confrontation to dialogue". Do you still think so?

Yes, I maintain my optimism. Consensus is a contribution of the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation that has been implemented here for the first time after the 9th Assembly and, as such, it is a good starting point. Perhaps more work needs to be done in terms of how to put it into practice, balancing the available time and the need for lengthy discussions that could take place within the committees. Also in terms of guidance and training of those involved, including those who have the responsibility to moderate.

Now, one of the main challenges of this central committee will be to implement the rest of the Special Commission contributions, like addressing ecclesiological challenges, and the whole area of common prayer. By the way, the Special Commission has been one of the most significant achievements of the Council recently.

- You have mentioned Faith and Order. What is your assessment of its position in the new structure?

Faith and Order is well on track after its Standing Commission meeting, held last June, where the agenda for its work in the coming years was set. At this meeting, that programme was affirmed. For us Catholics, Faith and Order is a very fundamental part of the work done by the WCC. And because it has such a singular importance, since it deals with the basics of our understanding of the faith, we see it as a priority.

- Some may see a confrontation or at least a competition between multilateral ecumenism and bilateral ecumenism. What do you think of that?

Both the multilateral and the bilateral approach are valuable. The Catholic Church is very committed to Faith and Order, as I said. That is a multilateral approach, and within it, we discuss issues like baptism and ecclesiology. But bilateral approaches like the Joint Declaration on Justification, signed by the Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation, allow for addressing specific issues of concern to two parties.

I see these two approaches as complementary, as long as we are aware that there is one ecumenical movement, which encompasses many voices.

[610 words]

(*) Juan Michel, WCC media relations officer, is a member of the Evangelical Church of the River Plate in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

More information on the WCC Central Committee meeting is available at:

Additional information: Juan Michel, +41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507 6363

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The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 348 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, from the Methodist Church in Kenya. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.

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