Ecumenical News International

Catholics and Lutherans present a joint liturgical guide

January 13, 2016

Geneva/Rome (epd). The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Catholic Church intend to extend their ecumenical cooperation in the lead-up to the anniversary of the Reformation. The LWF and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian unity (PCPCU)announced on 11 January in Geneva and Rome that services can now be held according to a common liturgy.

On Reformation Day this year an international Ecumenical Commemoration will be held in Lund, Sweden, initiated by the LWF and the PCPCU. It will be followed by a joint service and a symposium. Last year there was speculation that Pope Francis might go to Lund to attend the Lutheran-Catholic event.

On the way from "conflict to communion"

A joint letter from Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council and Martin Junge, LWF general secretary, "invites" Lutheran churches and Catholic bishops' conferences to use the guide in preparing for the 500th Reformation anniversary in 2017. "Common prayer marks a very special moment in our common journey from conflict to communion," Koch and Junge write.

The guide aims "to ask forgiveness" and overcome the wounds of church division. It is expressly meant to enable Lutheran-Catholic commemoration of the beginning the Reformation by Martin Luther in 1517. Besides common prayers, it contains liturgical and musical materials. It also includes practical advice to assist Catholics and Lutherans in singing and praying together.

The first common liturgical document

According to the joint statement, this is the first common liturgical document. It is based on the 2013 publication "From Conflict to Communion: Lutheran-Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017". The document brings out the positive aspects of the Reformation and also names the tragic consequences of church division. Furthermore, it stresses the commemoration of the Reformation as an important occasion for both Lutherans and Catholics to reflect anew on their faith.



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