A new joint document for the anniversary of Luther’s Reform

Source: FSSPX News

On December 16, 2010, while receiving a delegation from the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), Benedict XVI announced that in observance of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation (1517), the International Lutheran-Catholic Commission on Unity was preparing “a joint text that will document what Lutherans and Catholics are able to say together… after almost five centuries of separation.”  This text is supposed to be ready for the next meeting, scheduled for the summer of 2011 in Tokyo, Vatican Radio noted.

 Speaking to the LWF delegation headed by its president Munib Younan, Lutheran “bishop” of Jerusalem, Benedict XVI said that he expected that “the close contacts and intensive dialogue which have characterized ecumenical relations between Catholics and Lutherans will continue to bear rich fruit.”  He also emphasized that “with God’s help, it has been possible slowly and patiently to remove barriers and to foster visible bonds of unity by means of theological dialogue and practical co-operation, especially at the level of local communities.”  The pontiff hoped that “these ecumenical activities will provide fresh opportunities for Catholics and Lutherans to grow closer.”

Benedict XVI then mentioned the tenth anniversary of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, explaining that it was “a significant step along the difficult path towards re-establishing full unity among Christians and a stimulus to further ecumenical discussion.”

As early as 2005 Benedict XVI had expressed the hope that Catholics and Lutherans might intensify their efforts “to understand in greater depth what they have in common and what divides them”.  On March 14, 2010, the pope had visited the Evangelical Lutheran parish in Rome, 27 years after the visit by John Paul II (see DICI no. 212).

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