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The 'Job Description' of a Catholic Diocesan Ecumenical Officer

(Based on The Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Rome. 1993)

The Diocesan Ecumenical Officer

In the dioceses, the Bishop should appoint a competent person as diocesan officer for ecumenical questions. S/he will serve as the animator of the diocesan ecumenical Commission, and co-ordinate the Commission's activities as indicated below, or carry them out if such a Commission does not exist. As a close collaborator with the Bishop and with suitable assistance, s/he will encourage various initiatives in the diocese for prayer for Christian unity, will work to see that ecumenical attitudes influence the activities of the diocese, identify special needs and keep the diocese informed about these.
This officer is also responsible for representing the Catholic community in its relations with other Churches and ecclesial Communities and their leaders, and will facilitate contact between the latter and the local Bishop, clergy and laity on various levels. S/he will serve as counsellor on ecumenical issues for the Bishop and other offices of the diocese, and will facilitate the sharing of ecumenical experiences and initiatives with pastors and diocesan organisations. This officer will see to the maintenance of contacts with officers or commissions of other dioceses. Even in areas where Catholics are in the majority , or in those dioceses with limited personnel or resources, it is recommended that such a diocesan officer be appointed to carry out the activities mentioned above, in so far as these are possible or appropriate. 

Tasks of the Diocesan Ecumenical Commission

(Or the Ecumenical Officer alone)

  • Contacts with parishes & parish organisations;

  • Contacts with religious orders and lay organisations;

  • Implementing the Bishop's decisions on ecumenism in the light of Vatican 2; Implementing corresponding decisions of the Holy See;

  • Relating to the national Commission for Christian Unity;

  • Fostering spiritual ecumenism;

  • Offering help by such means as workshops and seminars for the ecumenical formation of both clergy and laity , for the realisation of an ecumenical dimension to all aspects of life; Promoting friendliness and charity between Catholics and other Christians;

  • Initiating conversations and consultations with other Christians :

  • Promoting, in collaboration with other diocesan bodies and with other Christians, joint witness to Christian faith. to the extent that this is possible;

  • Co-operating with other Christians in such areas as education. public and private morality, social justice, matters connected with. culture, learning and the arts . . . .

[See Ecumenical Directory, paras 41, 43, 44.]
Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales

Also see The Search for Christian Unity, a popular version of the Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism

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