A fortnightly report of developments in religion
The 100-member Central Committee of the World Council of Churches met at Cité Universitaire, Paris, August 7–17, under the chairmanship of Dr. Franklin Clark Fry, president of the Lutheran Church in America. Two Roman Catholic priests were on hand as observers. Two East German members of the committee were absent because their government would not grant travel permits. The committee was primarily concerned with implementing decisions of the New Delhi assembly. Their theme for the Paris meeting: “The Finality of Jesus Christ in an Age of Universal History.”
Referring to an invitation to send observers to the Second Vatican Council, Dr. Fry said: “This is the first time in history that observers from so many confessions are invited to follow the proceedings of a council of the Roman Catholic Church.”
Dr. A. A. Fulton of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland advised the committee that membership in the WCC has been vigorously attacked in some quarters of his church. “If the council decides to send observers to the Vatican Council,” he pointed out, “it might make the work of those of us who contend for membership harder.”
The committee accepted the Vatican invitation nevertheless and appointed Dr. Lukas Vischer, 35-vear-old member of the WCC Geneva staff as one of two observers. The other will be named later. The committee stressed that the observers will have no authority to speak officially on behalf of the WCC but allowed that they may give “informal explanations of the purposes and actions of the World Council.”
Another highlight of the committee meeting was the approval for WCC membership of seven more church groups—including five from the Soviet Union (see adjoining box).
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