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Vatican and WCC pursue common code on religious conversion

World News
The World Council of Churches (WCC) says it is launching with the Vatican a three-year joint study project aimed at developing a shared code of conduct on religious conversion where charges of proselytising can trigger tensions in some societies.

"The issue of religious conversion remains a controversial dimension in many interconfessional and interreligious relations", said the Rev. Hans Ucko, head of the WCC’s.interreligious relations office. "We hope that at the end of this study project, we will be able to propose a code of conduct that will affirm that commitment to our faith never translates into denigration of the other."

The study project, named "Interreligious reflection on conversion: from controversy to a shared code of conduct", is being launched with a 12-16 May meeting in Rome, the Geneva-based WCC, the world’s largest grouping of churches, said in a 10 May statement.

The WCC represents more than 560 million adherents from 348.churches from mainly Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican traditions, while the Catholic Church is Christendom’s largest denomination with some 1.2 million followers.

About 30 participants from different regions and religious traditions are expected to attend the meeting that will assess religious conversion from an interreligious point of view.

The project will first discuss religious conversion from a Christian perspective and later the establishment of a shared code of conduct which is expected to distinguish between witness and proselytism. It will aim to make respect for freedom of thought, conscience and the religion of others a primary concern in any encounter between people of different faiths.

The study will be jointly undertaken by the Pontifical Council or Interreligious Dialogue and the WCC’s Office on Interreligious Relations and Dialogue. Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Indigenous religious traditions are expected to participate, in addition to Christians.

(c) Ecumenical News International

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