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A Moribund WCC

Atila S. Guimarães  -   September 26, 2002

Everyone had heard about the World Council of Churches. I am guessing, however, that not all readers would be able to make a concise necrology of this institution should it pass away. Let me help by providing some information on the entity, before describing its probable imminent death.

Founding the WCC was the first act of the Amsterdam Conference (1948), which brought together representatives of around 150 Protestant sects and a few Schismatic ones. Its objective was to create a forum for discussion among the religions with the aim of moving toward some kind of unity. This unity was never achieved. In fact, the WCC was never allowed to speak on behalf of its members. From time to time it holds a general meeting called the Ecumenical World Assembly of Churches, as well as meetings of its Central Committee. As the number of its members increased (today it includes 330 sects), its position became more liberal. In the last 10 years the WCC entered into a crisis. The so-called Orthodox participants accused it of being too liberal and losing sight of its first goals. Unless it would change, they threatened, they would leave. Now the threat is very close to becoming a reality that could quite possibly result in the demise of the organism.

On this topic, the latest news comes from Paris, the Actualité des Religions magazine (September 2002, p. 39). A decisive phase of the “Orthodox”- Protestant relations will take place in an upcoming meeting of the WCC’s Central Committee. Five years ago, a commission was formed to study the role of the “Orthodox” in the WCC and make suggestions regarding the future of the organization. Now this commission is ready with its conclusions, which will be reported officially at the next meeting, even though the press has already received copies. The major point of contention, according to the report, is the common prayer said at the ecumenical meetings. The “Orthodox” consider this prayer an artificial performance lacking any theological base. Therefore, they oppose it. The Protestants, on the contrary, think that one must “pray together” in order to “live together,” which they consider a goal of the organization.

According to the opinion of German Lutheran bishop Rolf Koppe, president of the mentioned commission, the impossibility of praying together constitutes an “opened wound in the body of Christ.” He no longer has hope for the organization, as indicated in one of his suggestions: “Would it not be more honest to recognize the impossibility of resolving central points of theology, and to separate amiably after fifty years of common course?”

To this suggestion, the French magazine makes its commentary in the form of a question: “Would this, then, be the death of the WCC?” I don’t know if it will die or not. What I know is that the present day situation reveals yet another spectacular failure of ecumenism. If the WCC does expire, I would guess that the Vatican heads who direct the Conciliar Revolution will probably have to change their plans. Qui vivra, verra [Let’s wait and see].


anti Pope schismatics


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