"Honest and open" discussion on social and ethical issues at WCC

Described as "a promising way forward within an area of ecumenical life that is often difficult and controversial", an 8-12 October 2003 World Council of Churches (WCC) seminar on "Methodologies in approaching social and ethical issues" covered social and political ethics; bioethics and ecology; personal and public morality; international relations and globalization.

The final communiqué from the meeting noted that the discussions "served to deepen mutual understanding among participants of the particular configurations of Scripture, Tradition, experience and reason that are used within different ecclesial traditions". In addition, the participants - from Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, Protestant and free churches, as well as representatives of ecumenical organizations - discovered how different regional and

sociopolitical contexts affect theological understandings and approaches to moral and ethical issues.

The communiqué notes that the discussions were "honest about convergences and mutual resonances, as well as about divergences and tensions - some of which remain serious and divisive".

The seminar reaffirmed the WCC's role in providing "a 'space' for such common reflection, where open and honest discussion can take place without pressure, and where any decisions are taken by consensus."

The full text of the communiqué, and the list of participants are available on our website at:http://www.wcc-coe.org/wcc/who/morges03.html