Lutheran–Roman Catholic dialogue

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Lutheran–Roman Catholic Dialogue began in July, 1964 as an outgrowth of the Second Vatican Council and the new openness of the Roman Catholic Church to dialogue with other Christian denominations and other religions. It was held under the auspices of the U.S. Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs and the USA National Committee of the Lutheran World Federation.

Between July 1964 and 2010 over 50 sessions have been held taking up eleven rounds of topics as of 2015:

  • I. The Status of the Nicene Creed as Dogma of the Church (1965)
  • II. One Baptism for the Remission of Sins (1966)
  • III. The Eucharist as Sacrifice (1968)
  • IV. Eucharist and Ministry (1970)
  • V. Papal Primacy and the Universal Church (1973)
  • VI. Teaching Authority & Infallibility in the Church (1978)
  • VII. Justification by Faith (1983)
  • VIII. The One Mediator, the Saints, and Mary (1990)
  • IX. Scripture and Tradition (1995)
  • X. The Church as Koinonia of Salvation: Its Structures and Ministries (2004)
  • XI. The Hope for Eternal Life (2010)

Two groundbreaking events of this dialogue was a joint statement on the doctrine of Justification by Faith in 1983 and the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ) on October 31, 1999.

In the wake of the JDDJ of 1999, round XI, "The Hope for Eternal Life" is seen as a precursor leading up to a shared Lutheran/Roman Catholic commemoration of the October 31, 2017, 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's posting of his 95 Theses.[1] While some have hoped for an agreement on interim Eucharistic sharing by the anniversary in 2017, the very fact that a "shared commemoration" is possible would have been virtually unthinkable 50 years ago.

The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) has also participated in the first 9 discussions with the Roman Catholic Church and will also participate in the upcoming 11th round. Unlike the ELCA, however, the LCMS has not come to an agreement with the Roman Catholic Church due to what the LCMS considers to be crucial differences in the understanding of faith, grace, sin, etc. It was not invited to the 10th round of talks by the Roman Catholic Church.


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