The Church of Rome and the World Council of Churches now declare themselves to be 'trusted partners'.
Rome continues to refuse to join the WCC but sits on certain committees and constantly hangs around its fringe. A Joint Working Group of Rome and the WCC met at Bossey, Switzerland, 17-19 November. Their continued co-operation we are told "must be considered one of the significant achievements of the modern ecumenical movement".
They recommend firstly "a return to the spiritual roots of ecumenism". In orther words, the movement has become too bureaucratic.
The second recommendation emphasises the "importance of offering young people opportunities to be exposed to traditions other than their own". Ecumenism must start when they are young and impressionable. "Mission and service" are stressed as ways of (pretexts for) getting young people involved in ecumenical activities.
Thirdly they must tackle church-dividing issues (which are taking the place of theological divisions). They quote as example "bioethics, human civil and religious rights, peace issues, social justice, healing of memories, human sexuality".
Finally they quote new challenges such as inter-religious dialogue, pluralism, absence of God in cultural life, power of the media, injustice, terrorism.
The 9th Assembly of the WCC is scheduled for Porto Alegre in Brazil February 2006.