The CEC, the Conference of European Churches, has many member churches, Orthodox and Protestant alike, however, the Catholic Church is not amongst them. As reported in an ENI article, the Patriarch of Constantinople thinks Catholics need to be involved; cooperation amongst the Christians of Europe is necessary to help present Christ in a “convincing and effective way.” Since Catholicism has provided the Christian heritage to all Western Europe, one might wonder, why Catholics are not a part of the CEC already? But then we must remember, as the CEC knows, that the Catholic Church, while promoting ecumenical dialogue, is cautious in its work with various “councils,” because there is fear that such a council could also look like a “church” and one which could then claim to be “more catholic than Catholicism.” It is for this reason the Catholic Church engages bi-lateral (and sometimes, tri-lateral) dialogues, though, to be sure, it has advisory position in other ecumenical affairs, such as in the WCC. The Orthodox also have had similar concerns, but they have also worked to combat such assumptions, which has made them sometimes an important counter-point to what happens in such meetings.
But now the Patriarch thinks Europe needs the cooperation of the churches: “The future of the new Europe that is under construction is sombre and, indeed, uncertain, being built as it is without Christian spiritual values which touch on everything concerning the support and protection of human beings and their dignity.” Thus, he has asked Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon to go to the Vatican to see what can be done — can the Catholic Church join in the CEC?
What do you think?