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Athens, New Stage in Ecumenical Journey
ATHENS, Greece, MAY 15, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The 13th Conference on World Mission and Evangelism included for the first time a more numerous delegation of Vatican representatives, marking a new stage in the ecumenical journey.

The conference organized by the World Council of Churches, took place in Athens, Greece, from May 9-16, and included participants from virtually all Christian traditions.

Bishop Brian Farrell, the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, led the 26-member delegation. In this interview he comments on the progress made and the challenges that remain in the process of uniting Christians.

Q: The Catholic Church is not a member of the World Council of Churches. Why has it sent an official delegation?

Bishop Farrell: It's true, the Catholic Church is not part of the council, but since the time of the Second Vatican Council, it has had stable relations with this organization.

First, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity has its own representatives in Geneva, and in the Department for Mission and Evangelization of the World Council of Churches, which has organized this conference.

Also, there are 12 Catholic theologians, named by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, on the Commission of Faith and Order.

Finally, there is a mixed working group between the World Council of Churches and the Catholic Church, which gives continuity to the relationship.