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Bishop Vincent McCauley, CSC: Ecumenical Pioneer

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Vincent McCauley, bishop and missionary, was a great champion of the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965). As Bishop of Fort Portal, Uganda, a new diocese in the Western portion of the country (1961–1971), McCauley was instrumental in the full implementation of the 16 documents of Vatican II, but his principal legacy will be his work in the area of ecumenism. Overcoming significant and long standing hostility between Roman Catholics and Anglicans, McCauley was able to forge ecumenical dialogue and programs on various levels. Beginning simply through prayer services and a vernacular translation of the New Testament, he graduated to be a founder and initial chairman of the Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC), an organization which made great strides in removing government opposition to religion and forging dialogue between Christians in areas of sacraments and social justice. Both simultaneously and after his tenure in Fort Portal, McCauley served as chairman and secretary general of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa (AMECEA). These positions allowed him to continue his ecumenical work on a broader scope.

He was instrumental in setting up numerous conferences to foster ecumenical dialogue, various pastoral programs and certain educational initiatives, including the Interdisciplinary Urban Seminar, for which McCauley served as a member of the Academic Board. He was also integrally involved as a member of the advisory board of the Christian Organization Research and Advisory Trust (CORAT), an organization that sought to train church members in organization and management.

Vincent McCauley stands as a significant example of one who implemented the ecumenical teachings of Vatican II on local and regional levels. His contribution continues to serve the church in Eastern Africa today.

Affiliations: 1: Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Stonehill College, North Easton, MA, USA


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