A nine-year long process by a Lutheran-Roman Catholic Study Commission on Unity has closed its work with a meeting in Klingenthal, France from 18-24 July, with the intention of producing a study report.
The meeting was conducted under the auspices of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU). The group focused on baptism, eucharist and ministry.
The commission built on earlier ecumenical dialogues on baptism, justification, eucharist, ministry and apostolicity of the church. The dialogue has focused on the question of what kind of ecclesial communion arises from shared understanding of Catholics and Lutherans on baptism.
Rev. Dr Kaisamari Hintikka, assistant general secretary for ecumenical relations and director of the Department for Theology and Public Witness of the LWF, said finding an answer to this question was important in view of the commitments Lutherans and Catholics had expressed together, such as in the Joint Statement signed by Pope Francis and LWF President Munib Younan during the Joint Ecumenical Commemoration in Lund on 31 October 2016.
Commission members concluded their work on the study report, which will be finalized and published early next year and presented to the LWF council at its next meeting.
The meeting was hosted by the PCPCU, at the invitation of the Johann-Wolfgang-von Goethe Foundation, in collaboration with the Institute for Ecumenical Research.
The first phase of the commission began in 1967. In 1999, it published the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification which was passed in 1997 and signed by the representatives of LWF and PCPCU in 1999. In 2013, it published “From Conflict to Communion: Lutheran-Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation.”