Lutherans and the Catholic Church

I will want to take a closer look at this later on, but in the meantime, I will post a link to a story about American Lutherans recognizing agreement with the Catholic Church.  

An excerpt, with my emphases:

(RNS) Nearly 500 years after Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Castle Church door, the largest Lutheran denomination in the U.S. has approved a declaration recognizing “there are no longer church-dividing issues” on many points with the Roman Catholic Church.

The “Declaration on the Way” was approved 931-9 by the 2016 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Churchwide Assembly held last week at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.

ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton called the declaration “historic” in a statement released by the denomination following the Wednesday (Aug. 10) vote.

“Though we have not yet arrived, we have claimed that we are, in fact, on the way to unity. … This ‘Declaration on the Way’ helps us to realize more fully our unity in Christ with our Catholic partners, but it also serves to embolden our commitment to unity with all Christians,” Eaton said.

Women in the priesthood and in the episcopacy is a church-dividing issue, no?

I am scratching my head.

What kind of unity might that be?


You can read the document here.

When you read the document, the language is beautiful, lofty even, and one might be lulled into thinking, wow, so much agreement!





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4 Responses to Lutherans and the Catholic Church

  1. William Tighe says:

    “Women in the priesthood and in the episcopacy is a church-dividing issue, no?”

    And not only that – the EL”C”A has fully accepted, and not practices, the “blessing” of homosexual pseudogamy (i.e., professing and accepting the liceity, and even “goodness” of homosexual “sex”) as well as ordaining men and women involved in such pseudogamous relationships. Do they take Catholics for fools, or are they, to use one of my grandfather’s favorite phrases, “talking through their hats?”

  2. Rev22:17 says:


    This document is a very interesting find, and well worth a full and careful read, as it provides a good snapshot of the progress of Catholic-Lutheran dialog. The progress toward convergence over the past five decades is truly impressive, and the optimistic tone is very encouraging! It is very evident that the Catholic Church and the member bodies of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) are committed to moving forward to the ultimate goal of full communion on multiple levels. We all need to pray for this work to continue!

    The report contains some very good suggestions, particularly with regard to the possibility of Catholic and Lutheran parishes holding joint worship services and joining together in smaller groups to study scripture and to pray. The hour appropriate to the time of day from the Liturgy of the Hours — especially morning prayer (“lauds”) and evening prayer (“vespers”) — works very well in an ecumenical situation. There are also plenty of opportunities to work together in Christian outreach.

    The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) undoubtedly is already going over this document, and the respective citations, very thoroughly. It is likely that the CDF will identify several areas in which the wording is too ambiguous to be sure that it reflects the Catholic doctrinal position correctly, as happened with the first report of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC). Such areas obviously will require further dialog and refinement.

    That said, there is no doubt that the issues that continue to divide the Catholic Church and the member bodies of the WLF are very real, and that it will require a substantial amount of prayerful dialog to resolve them — and issues that the document identifies as “not church-dividing” to Lutherans are nevertheless issues that the CDF will see as essential to full ecclesial unity. Here, the issue of apostolic succession, and consequent validity of all sacraments except baptism and marriage, stands out.

    “Like the ski resort full of girls hunting for husbands and husbands hunting for girls, the situation is not as symmetrical as it might seem.” — Alan Mackay

    The bottom line here is that, as necessary conditions for reconciliation, the magisterium of the Catholic Church will insist on (1) full doctrinal unity and (2) absolute, rather than conditional, ordination of each Lutheran minister who will exercise sacramental orders in a united body. These elements are not, and will not be, open to negotiation.

    Finally, I should point out that the Vatican views the present ordinariates as prototypes for ecclesial structures for reconciled Protestant bodies as well. When a significant body of Lutherans comes into the full communion of the Catholic Church, the Vatican will establish ordinariates, and perhaps even a higher structure, for them and will prepare and approve liturgical books that retain distinctive elements of the Lutheran liturgy for their use. The desire of many Lutherans to preserve distinctive elements of their patrimony, including their liturgical tradition, within the Catholic Church is not, and never will be, an obstacle to reconciliation.


  3. The statement you cited was: “there are no longer church-dividing issues” on many points with the Roman Catholic Church. Emphasis on the “many”?

    I take it they see female ordination as a matter of discipline, rather than doctrine/dogma; does the Roman Rite agree with this understanding of how the matter is categorized? –or does it have an answer to this beyond claims about its own lack of authority to alter practice based on divinely-given precedent, and similar claims about discipline?

  4. William Tighe says:

    On a lighter note:

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