U.S. Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue Began Round Ten

9/16/1998 12:00:00 AM

     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) began the tenth round of the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue in the United States here Sept. 3-5.  The title of this round is "The Church as Koinonia of Salvation: Its Structures and Ministries."
     "Koinonia" is an anglicized Greek word that appears several times in the Christian Bible and is translated as "fellowship, a close mutual relationship; participation, sharing in; partnership; contribution, gift." The dialogue will take up issues of koinonia as they relate to "ordained ministry and structures of church unity," said a communique from the dialogue.
     The NCCB and the U.S.A. National Committee of the Lutheran World Federation initiated the first round of the "bilateral" that began in 1965. The dialogue has produced a number of common statements on such topics as Scriptures, saints and justification by faith.
     There was a five-year break between the ninth and tenth rounds while the churches studied a "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification," declaring that certain 16th century condemnations of each others teachings no longer apply.  The Lutheran World Federation and the Vatican approved the Joint Declaration in June, but there are currently no plans for a formal signing of the document.
     "There was an extended discussion of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification," said the dialogue's communique.  "The U.S. dialogue welcomed the degree of positive response from the churches thus far and showed a hope that everything possible will be done to move forward to an unreserved affirmation and signing of the Joint Declaration."
     A new booklet summarizing the results of the U.S. and international dialogues was unveiled at the meeting.  "The Lutheran-Catholic Quest for Visible Unity: Harvesting Thirty Years of Dialogue," an educational paper prepared by the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Coordinating Committee, was published by the ELCA and NCCB.
     The Lutheran co-chair of the dialogue is the Rev. Charles H. Maahs, bishop of the ELCA's Central States Synod.  The Roman Catholic co-chair is the Most Rev. Richard J. Sklba, auxiliary bishop of Milwaukee.
     The other Lutheran members of the dialogue are: the Rev. Lowell G. Almen, secretary of the ELCA, Chicago; the Rev. Sarah Henrich, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.; the Rev. Scott S. Ickert, Resurrection Lutheran Church, Arlington, Va.; the Rev. Winston D. Persaud, Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa; the Rev. John H.P. Reumann, Philadelphia; Dr. Michael Root, Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio.
     The other Roman Catholic members of the dialogue are: the Rev. Joseph A. Fitzmyer, SJ, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.; the Rev. Patrick Granfield, OSB, The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.; the Rev. Bertram F. Griffin, Mt. Angel Seminary, St. Benedict, Ore.; Dr. Margaret O'Gara, University of St. Michael's College, Toronto, Ontario; Prof. Michael Slusser, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh; the Rev. Georges Tavard, AA, Brighton, Mass.; and Dr. Susan K. Wood, SCL, St. John's University, Collegeville, Minn.
     The dialogue is staffed by Bro. Jeffrey Gros, FSC, and the Rev. John F. Hotchkin of the NCCB's Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs and by the Rev. Randall R. Lee and the Rev. Darlis J. Swan of the ELCA's Department for Ecumenical Affairs.  The Rev. Daniel F. Martensen, director of the ELCA Department for Ecumenical Affairs, serves as a consultant to the dialogue.

For information contact:
Frank Imhoff, Assoc. Director 1-773-380-2955 or NEWS@ELCA.ORG


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