Catholic and Lutheran Joint declaration

Catholic and Lutheran Joint Declaration

October 30, 2015

WASHINGTON—Drawing on 50 years of national and international dialogue, Lutherans and Catholics together have issued the “Declaration on the Way: Church, Ministry and Eucharist,” a unique ecumenical document that marks a pathway toward greater visible unity between Catholics and Lutherans. The October 30 release of the document comes on the eve of the anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting the 95 Theses, which sparked the Protestant Reformation.

“Pope Francis in his recent visit to the United States emphasized again and again the need for and importance of dialogue. This Declaration on the Way represents in concrete form an opportunity for Lutherans and Catholics to join together now in a unifying manner on a way finally to full communion,” said Bishop Denis J. Madden, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Catholic co-chair of the task force creating the declaration.

Catholic(!?) Bishop Denis Madden and Lutheran Bishop(!?) Elizabeth Eaton

“Five hundred years ago wars were fought over the very issues about which Lutherans and Roman Catholics have now achieved consensus,” said ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton. “Church, ministry and Eucharist have been areas of disagreement and even separation between our two churches, and we still have work to do both theologically and pastorally as we examine the questions. The declaration is so exciting because it shows us 32 important points where already we can say there are not church-dividing issues between us, and it gives us both hope and direction for the future,” she said.

At the heart of the document are 32 “Statements of Agreement” where Lutherans and Catholics already have points of convergence on topics about church, ministry and Eucharist. These agreements signal that Catholics and Lutherans are indeed ‘on the way’ to full, visible unity. As 2017 approaces, the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, this witness to growing unity gives a powerful message to a world where conflict and division often seem to drown out more positive messages of hope and reconciliation The document also indicates differences still remaining between Lutherans and Catholics and indicates possible ways forward.

In October both the ELCA Conference of Bishops—an advisory body of the church—and the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) received and unanimously affirmed the 32 Agreements. ELCA bishops requested that the ELCA Church Council accept them and forward the entire document to the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, the denomination’s highest legislative body.

The document seeks reception of the Statement of Agreements from The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU). The LWF is a global communion of 145 churches in 98 countries worldwide. The ELCA is the communion’s only member church from the United States.

The conclusion invites the PCPCU and the LWF to create a process and timetable for addressing the remaining issues. It also suggests that the expansion of opportunities for Lutherans and Catholics to receive Holy Communion together would be a sign of the agreements already reached. The Declaration also seeks a commitment to deeper connection at the local level for Catholics and Lutherans.

In December 2011, Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the PCPCU, proposed a declaration to seal in agreements in the areas of the church, ministry and the Eucharist. The ELCA and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops responded to the Cardinal’s proposal by identifying Catholic and Lutheran scholars and leaders to produce the declaration, drawing principally on the statements of international dialogue commissions sponsored by the LWF and the PCPCU and a range of regional dialogues, including those in the United States.

A significant outcome of the Lutheran-Catholic dialogue in the United States and internationally is the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ), signed in 1999 in Augsburg, Germany. With the JDDJ, the LWF and the Catholic Church agreed to a common understanding of the doctrine of justification and declared that certain 16th century condemnations of each other no longer apply.

The text of the Declaration on the Way and more information are available online:

Keywords: Catholic, Lutheran, dialogue, communion, unity, ecumenism, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, ELCA, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue, Declaration on the Way: Church, Ministry and Eucharist, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Lutheran World Federation


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9 comments on “Catholic and Lutheran Joint declaration

  1. null
    Catholic(!?) Bishop Denis Madden and Lutheran Bishop(!?) Elizabeth Eaton

    “……………………,” said ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton.

    That’s enough for me.

    When the one who sums it up on the Lutheran side is one of the womyn priestesses, then I need read no more. By her very presence on the panel the Lutheran Church is showing contempt for Catholic doctrine on the ordained Ministry.

    The whole thing is a farce.

    • “The document also indicates differences still remaining between Lutherans and Catholics and indicates possible ways forward.”

      There’s only one REAL way forward, and that’s for the “Lutherans” and other protestant heretics to renounce their heresies and convert to the traditional teachings of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church!

      Many of the people on the “Catholic” side are a farce too. Because, IMO, they have more in common with the ideology of the Lutheran “church” then they do with the Catholic Church.

      Starting with the person currently occupying the Chair of Peter and his lieutenants like Walter Kasper. Among others.

    • The following quotation from the Joint Declaration (Were the Catholic members under the influence from smoking too many joints at the meetings drafting the declaration?) “adds injury to [the] insult” of a female bishopess heading the Lutheran delegation as well as “lets the cat out of the bag” concerning Catholics and Lutherans receiving (and celebrating?) Holy Communion together:

      [T]he expansion of opportunities for Lutherans and Catholics to receive Holy Communion together would be a sign of the agreements already reached.

      A Lutheran teaching is that in the absence of a priest or priestess (or rather, pastor or pastorette), a layman or laywoman can confect the Eucharist (with the Lutheran consubstantial presence – an action which the Catholic Church regards as the dissimulation of a Sacrament – a serious matter punishable by ex-communication.

    • Amen, fidei. We’ll soon need an even stronger term than “apostasy” to define this insanity.

  2. Joint Communion with Lutherans? Oh my!

    Bishops Committee Recommends Opportunities for Shared Communion with Lutherans

    Posted by Mary Ann Kreitzer


    According to the bishops’ press release reporting on their dialogue with the Lutheran Church, Declaration on the Way:

    The document…also suggests that the expansion of opportunities for Lutherans and Catholics to receive Holy Communion together would be a sign of the agreements already reached. The Declaration also seeks a commitment to deeper connection at the local level for Catholics and Lutherans.

    Honestly, I would like to see the “reunion of all Christians” as much as anyone. I pray for it every day when I make the morning offering. I have family members in other faiths with whom I would love to be in complete union.

    But if a religious group has “32 points of agreement” with Catholics, but doesn’t accept the authority of “Peter” are they really “in communion” with us? And what about their acceptance of intrinsic moral issues? If they say they agree with us that Jesus is really present in the Eucharist, but champion intrinsic moral evils…what then?

    The Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA) in America accepts abortion as a “last resort” and opposes laws forbidding it as well as laws against contraception. Their Pension Board enthusiastically supported expanding birth control coverage back in 1998. Their Journal of Lutheran Ethics tries to justify these intrinsic moral evils. Here’s a paragraph from one article reviewing a work that claims contraception accords with the natural law:

    Contraception does not, however, violate love. And as Oehschlaeger rightly points out, contraception allows for many parents the ability for more full child- rearing. This view of sexuality as union between partners, symbolic of the greater unity that holds individuals in real community, is not opposed to the view that sexuality is linked to procreation. Rather it forms the necessary understanding of the self as relational that makes other parts of the discussion about procreative ethics sensible.

    The first sentence of this paragraph is absolutely false and completely violates Catholic sexual ethics. (Read Casti Connubii, Humanae Vitae, Familiaris Consortio, etc.) The marital act is both love-giving and life-giving. To deliberately attack one of those goods is to “violate love.” When a couple makes themselves temporarily or permanently sterile, they become pleasure objects for each other closing off God from their union. They basically tell God, “I don’t want your creative gift this time. We’ll tell you when we want your involvement!” It is nothing like the practice of Natural Family Planning which, for serious reasons, chooses sexual “silence” during the fertile time.

    And where do they stand on same-sex marriage? Here’s what ELCA president bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton wrote after the Supreme Cuort decision:

    The ELCA social statement “Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust” (2009) neither endorses nor forbids same-gender marriages and recognizes that we have differing understandings and convictions on this matter. In its decision, the court stated that “the First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths.”

    According to this church’s social statement on human sexuality, all decisions about recognizing, supporting and holding publicly accountable same-gender relationships are entrusted to congregations. Recognizing that the church is not of one mind on this subject, our 2009 actions provide that congregations and clergy should discern together whether to recognize such relationships and to what degree.

    And if we enter into “communion” with a church that is essentially in material heresy and operates according to a vote of its congregations how does that affect the doctrine of the Church? Can Jesus’ commands be amended by popular vote of a congregation? Is that how we determine doctrine? How can we be in communion with a church that isn’t even in communion with itself?

    Marriage and the Eucharist are already under attack following the Synod on the Family. This report and its recommendations seems to me to be one more front in the battle.

    And one last thing. How many points of agreement do we have with the SSPX? And yet they are regularly vilified and accused of not standing with Peter and being in schism. So…the bishops are moving toward inter-communion with Lutherans who deny the authority of the pope and support a number of intrinsic moral evils, but treat traditionalists with disdain.

    No wonder Catholics are so confused!

    Somebody please pinch me. Maybe I’m asleep and having a nightmare.

  3. It constitutes an open and incontrovertible admission of schism, heresy and grave sacrilege.

  4. Judases.

    Decades ago, notorious faggot Rembert Weakland, archbishop of Milwaukee, visited my father’s ELCA hell hole and told everyone that Catholics could receive communion there. That helped confirm my dad in his resolve to spend eternity with his beloved Luther. Weakland, and every one of the bishops who approve of this “joint declaration,” will also get to spend eternity with Luther, but in a state much worse than my father’s.

    Sweet Mother of God, have pity on these souls who are racing headlong into eternal torment.

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