Germany: Catholics and Protestants to Mutually Recognize Baptisms

Source: FSSPX News


Baptism is a “fundamental bond of unity,” declared Wolfgang Huber from the Evangelical Church of Germany during the ceremony in which Cardinal Karl Lehmann, President of the German Bishops’ Conference, and officials of the other denominations took part.

Up to now, baptisms have not been mutually recognized, except by conventions established between dioceses and regional evangelical churches. This is the first national official agreement. The idea goes back to a suggestion made in May 2002 by Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity. The following year, Pastor Konrad Raiser, then Secretary General of the Ecumenical Council of Churches, declared that greater progress towards church unity could be made by focusing on baptism, rather than the Eucharist, about which there are still major differences between the various Christian denominations. “It would be ‘a Copernican revolution’ in ecumenical dialogue if churches were genuinely to recognize each other’s baptism,” he stated.

The common declaration of Magdeburg emphasizes that “the one baptism in Christ is ‘an appeal to the Churches to overcome their divisions and visibly manifest their communion’.” – Among the denominations which signed the agreement are: the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the Council of Anglican Episcopal Churches, the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church, the Evangelical Old-Reformed Church in Lower Saxony, the European Continental Province of the Moravian Church, the Evangelical Methodist Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the Independent Evangelical-Lutheran Church.