Bolen appointed to Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
By Kiply Lukan Yaworski
SASKATOON — Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Bishop
Donald Bolen of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon as a member of the Pontifical
Council for Promoting Christian Unity in Rome.
Serving on the council will mean a weeklong meeting at
the Vatican every two years, beginning this November, when it happens
to precede another meeting in Rome that Saskatoon’s bishop was
already scheduled to attend.
Before he was ordained bishop of Saskatoon in March 2010, Bolen served
as a staff member of the Pontifical Council in Rome from 2001 to 2008,
with a particular focus on theological dialogue with the Anglican Communion
and the World Methodist Council.
News of Bolen’s appointment as one of the bishops
who will serve on the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
came June 12, while he was attending the International Eucharistic Congress
Bolen noted that “it was a great privilege to work for many years
at the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, and I am delighted by
the invitation to continue to play a role in the church’s dialogue
with other Christian communities, and to give direction to its overall
One area that the Pontifical Council gave special attention
to near the end of Bolen’s tenure on staff was a harvesting of
the results of the many dialogues with which the Catholic Church has
been engaged since the Second Vatican Council.
“Soon we’ll be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Vatican
II’s Decree on Ecumenism. That will be a time to celebrate what
has been achieved in terms of doctrinal agreement and convergence, and
in terms of growing together in areas of common witness and mission,
and joint prayer. It will also be a time to chart where we go from here.”
Other bishops appointed to the Pontifical Council at this
time include Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv-Halyc, Ukraine; Archbishop
Zbignev Stankevics of Riga, Latvia; Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, S.D.B.,
of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples; and Bishop Gerhard
Ludwig Müller of Regensburg, Germany.
They will join approximately 25 other church leaders and consultors of
the Pontifical Council. Bolen is the only Canadian currently named to
This is the second international ecumenical appointment for Bolen this
year, as he was also recently named the Catholic co-chair of the International
Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM).
IARCCUM was established in 2001 as a commission of bishops
focusing on how Anglicans and Roman Catholics can translate their “manifest
agreement in faith” into joint witness and mission in the world.
“The challenge of IARCCUM is to allow our current degree of agreement
in faith to transform our churches,” said Bolen “Cardinal
Kasper used to tell us on a regular basis that ecumenical agreements
were not meant to collect dust in our libraries, but to give rise to
an ecumenism of life which strengthens our bonds and our Christian witness.”
Bolen is also a member of the international conversation between Catholics
and Evangelicals, which meets annually; and was recently named co-chair
of the Anglican-Roman Catholic theological dialogue in Canada.
“My hope is that serving on international and national
dialogue commissions also provides resources and experience which will
help strengthen local ecumenical relations.”
Saskatoon will be hosting the Canadian Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue this coming November, which will provide the community with an experience of a national dialogue first-hand.