Key ecumenical & interfaith organizations
- Canadian Centre for Ecumenism
The CCE was established in Montreal by Fr. Irenee Beaubien, SJ. The Centre focuses on both ecumenical and interfaith relations in Quebec and serving the francophone ecumenical community.
- Canadian Council of Churches
The CCC was established in 1944 and is one of the most comprehensive national councils of churches anywhere. Its 35 churches include Catholic, mainline Protestant, Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Orthodox churches. Working through its Commissions on "Faith and Witness" and "Justice and Peace", the CCC also has reference groups such as the Forum on Intercultural Leadership and Learning and Project Ploughshares, the interchurch peace coalition. Catholic membership in the CCC consists of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
- Interchurch Families International Network
Interchurch families are those couples belonging to two different Christian churches, bound together in the two sacraments of baptism and marriage. The IFIN provides resources to help these families to live in their "ecumenical laboratory" (Pope John Paul II) as well as to be catalysts for local ecumenical action.
- Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU)
The origin of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity is closely linked with the Second Vatican Council. It was Pope John XXIII’s desire that the Catholic Church’s involvement in the ecumenical movement be one of the Council’s chief concerns. The PCPCU is the Vatican office responsible for ecumenical relations.
- Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue
The PCID is the Vatican's office for relations with non-Christian religions. The foundational document for the PCID is Nostra Aetate. Other key documents can be found here.
- Prairie Centre for Ecumenism
The PCE was established in Saskatoon in 1984. One of only two ecumenical centres in Canada, it has been a catalyst for ecumenical projects across the Prairies. It is sponsored by seven denominations in Saskatoon and across Saskatchewan.
- World Council of Churches
The WCC is the principal instrument of the ecumenical movement. It was established in 1948 by the coming together of the different streams of the modern ecumenical movement. The Catholic Church is not a member church but has a close connection to the WCC and its programs. The PCPCU appoints full members to the Faith and Order Commission as well as placing staff members in the Commission for World Mission and Evangelism.
- Vatican II, Nostra Aetate (Declaration on the Church's Relationship to Non-Christians, 1965)
1. In our time, when day by day mankind is being drawn closer together, and the ties between different peoples are becoming stronger, the Church examines more closely her relationship to non-Christian religions. In her task of promoting unity and love among men, indeed among nations, she considers above all in this declaration what men have in common and what draws them to fellowship.
- Vatican II, Unitatis Redintegratio (Decree on Ecumenism, November 21, 1964)
"1. The restoration of unity among all Christians is one of the principal concerns of the Second Vatican Council. Christ the Lord founded one Church and one Church only. However, many Christian communions present themselves to men as the true inheritors of Jesus Christ; all indeed profess to be followers of the Lord but differ in mind and go their different ways, as if Christ Himself were divided. Such division openly contradicts the will of Christ, scandalizes the world, and damages the holy cause of preaching the Gospel to every creature."
- PCPCU, Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism (1993)
6. The new edition of the Directory is meant to be an instrument at the service of the whole Church and especially of those who are directly engaged in ecumenical activity in the Catholic Church. The Directory intends to motivate, enlighten and guide this activity, and in some particular cases also to give binding directives in accordance with the proper competence of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. In the light of the experience of the Church in the years since the Council and taking account of the present ecumenical situation, the Directory brings together all the norms already established for implementing and developing the decisions of the Council given up to the present and brings them up to date when necessary. It strengthens the structures that have been developed for the support and guidance of ecumenical activity at every level of the Church. While fully respecting the competence of authorities at different levels, the Directory gives orientations and norms of universal application to guide Catholic participation in ecumenical activity. Their application will provide consistency and coordination to the various practices of ecumenism by which particular Churches and groups of particular Churches respond to their different local situations. It will guarantee that ecumenical activity throughout the Catholic Church is in accordance with the unity of faith and with the discipline that binds Catholics together.
- Pope John Paul II, Ut Unum Sint (encyclical on Catholic commitment to Ecumenism, 1995)
3. At the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church committed herself irrevocably to following the path of the ecumenical venture, thus heeding the Spirit of the Lord, who teaches people to interpret carefully the "signs of the times" . The experiences of these years have made the Church even more profoundly aware of her identity and her mission in history. The Catholic Church acknowledges and confesses the weaknesses of her members, conscious that their sins are so many betrayals of and obstacles to the accomplishment of the Saviour's plan. Because she feels herself constantly called to be renewed in the spirit of the Gospel, she does not cease to do penance. At the same time, she acknowledges and exalts still more the power of the Lord, who fills her with the gift of holiness, leads her forward, and conforms her to his Passion and Resurrection.
Taught by the events of her history, the Church is committed to freeing herself from every purely human support, in order to live in depth the Gospel law of the Beatitudes. Conscious that the truth does not impose itself except "by virtue of its own truth, as it makes its entrance into the mind at once quietly and with power", she seeks nothing for herself but the freedom to proclaim the Gospel. Indeed, her authority is exercised in the service of truth and charity.
I myself intend to promote every suitable initiative aimed at making the witness of the entire Catholic community understood in its full purity and consistency, especially considering the engagement which awaits the Church at the threshold of the new Millennium. That will be an exceptional occasion, in view of which she asks the Lord to increase the unity of all Christians until they reach full communion. The present Encyclical Letter is meant as a contribution to this most noble goal. Essentially pastoral in character, it seeks to encourage the efforts of all who work for the cause of unity.
PCPCU, The Ecumenical Dimension in the Formation of those Engaged in Pastoral Work (1997)
One of the Directory's main concerns is ecumenical formation in seminaries and theological faculties. So it was decided that the 1995 Plenary Meeting of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity should study and make more explicit the principles and recommendations laid down in the Directory. To prepare for the Plenary's discussion a consultation of specialists who teach various disciplines in seminaries and theological faculties led to the drafting of two documents: one concerned with providing an ecumenical dimension to the formation of those engaged in pastoral work, the other outlining the contents of a specialised course in ecumenism.
The 1995 Plenary Meeting was largely devoted to discussion of these proposals and suggestions for their amendment. The bishops particularly recommended that a single text should be produced integrating the contents of the two draft texts. This reworking was carried out during the Plenary Meeting and at its conclusion the substance of the present text was examined and approved. It was left to the Pontifical Council staff to carry out the remaining work of making it ready for publication. The Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith and Catholic Education have been involved in the preparation of this document.
The following text is therefore a Study Document which gathers together what is in the Ecumenical Directory and makes it more explicit. It is addressed to all who have responsibility for theological and pastoral formation to help them ensure that those who in the future will be engaged in pastoral work, and also those who will be theology professors, receive adequate ecumenical formation. In this way they will better be able to respond to what is required by the life of the Church in our day.
PCPCU, The Bishop and Christian Unity: An Ecumenical Vademecum (2020)
Vademecum is a Latin word for a handbook or guidebook, in this case it is intended as an aid to bishops to help them better understand and fulfil their ecumenical responsibility.
A Church in Dialogue series
The Canadian bishops have issued the following texts as part of the 50th anniversary of Vatican II. The texts introduce the key principles and concerns of Vatican II and the papal teachings on ecumenism and interreligious relations. These texts are intended to be used in parishes as part of basic education programs, catechesis, and RCIA. They are also used by ecumenical committees, in dialogue with neighbouring churches and faith communities, and in schools. These are all PDF files that can be downloaded and distributed freely.