THE LUTHERAN CATHOLIC PILGRIMAGE TOWARD VISIBLE UNITY Jeffrey Gros The October 31, 1999 signing of the Joint Declaration on Justification by Faith between the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation, represents the culmination of over thirty years of dialogue, a historic stage in the reception of the modem ecumenical movement, and the beginning of ecclesial changes oriented toward full communion.' It affirms together this element of the apostolic faith once considered church dividing. This formal action by the churches enables the reconsideration of some of the condemnations of the sixteenth century as not applicable to one another. For this reason it has implications for all of the churches of the West, and for the hermeneutics of our historic affirmations in this new ecumenical context.' The overview in this essay will review the dialogues that stand behind the Declaration, and the hopes beyond this step. The churches of the Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church have been in dialogue and relationships in a variety of contexts since the Second Vatican Council, in 1965. Through the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) Commission
Exchange – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2000
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