The Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue has been in ongoing discussions for over 30 years. Each set of discussions, or "round," covers a specific topic important for the life and vitality of both communions. For instance, the tenth round of discussions focused on the Church as Koinonia of Salvation, and concluded in the spring of 2004. Round eleven (XI) of the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue began on December 1, 2005, with a meeting in Chicago, Illinois.
The topic for round XI is The Hope for Eternal Life. Discussions addressed will be classical differences over issues relating to the Christian's life beyond death, including the common affirmation of justification with respect to the life and glory of the Trinity. An understanding of the Christian hope for salvation is being discussed at the outset both as a statement of common faith and as a context for the more detailed discussions of specific topics further in the round.
October 2009 marked the tenth anniversary of the signing of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. Read an ELCA News release
, see photos
from the Oct.1, 2009, event. In addition, worship resources
and ideas for local celebrations
from the fifth anniversary (in 2004) are still available.
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Most Reverend Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York
News Resources and Articles
Edited by Lowell G. Almen and Richard J. Sklba
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The Hope of Eternal Life - Common Statement of the Eleventh Round of the U.S. Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue
Our churches affirm that death cannot destroy the communion with God of those redeemed and justified. The nature of the life that the justified departed share with God cannot be described in great detail and, in this life, it remains a great mystery. Nevertheless, Catholics and Lutherans share the sure and certain hope that the justified departed are “in Christ” and enjoy the rest that belongs to those who have run the race.
The agreements emerging in Round XI of the U.S. Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue contribute to the ongoing ecumenical journey. The foundation for the discussions and findings of Round XI was established by the “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification.” That declaration was received officially by the Catholic Church and member churches of the Lutheran World Federation on October 31, 1999. Further, the statement of Round XI builds on the findings of the previous ten rounds of the U.S. Lutheran–Catholic Dialogue.
This common statement of Round XI offers fresh insights into some issues that proved contentious in the debates of the sixteenth century. Among the issues explored in this dialogue were continuity in the communion of saints, prayers for or about the dead, the meaning of death, purgation, an interim state between death and the final general judgment, and the promise of resurrection. Agreements are affirmed on the basis of new insights, as readers will discover in this statement of Round XI.
The Hope of Eternal Life was developed as a resource by:
the Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations section of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
It was reviewed by:
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, chair of the USCCB Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, and Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson of the ELCA.
It has been authorized for publication by:
Msgr. David Malloy, general secretary of the USCCB, and the Rev. Donald J. McCoid, ecumenical executive, ELCA.