Lutheran-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity, Würzburg, Germany, 2002
Contacts established between the LWF and Roman Catholic Church during the Second Vatican Council led to the formation of a Lutheran-Roman Catholic Working Group which met in 1965 and 1966. It was officially authorized by both parties to discuss possible contacts, conversations, and forms of cooperation. The Working Group agreed that it was important to enter into comprehensive dialogue about the basic issues that separate and unite the two churches.
Lutheran - Roman Catholic Commission on Unity, Opole, Poland, 1998
Following the official endorsement of the Working Group's recommendation by the LWF and Roman Catholic Church, the Joint Lutheran-Roman Catholic Study Commission met for the first time in 1967. After five sessions it submitted a report titled "The Gospel and the Church" in 1972. This report, known as the Malta Report, remains a significant ecumenical attempt to consider various aspects of the church in a broad theological perspective.
Subsequent Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue has gone deeper into specific areas only partially addressed in the Malta Report. The following reports of the international Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue have been published:
- The Eucharist (1978)
- Ways to Community (1980)
- The Ministry in the Church (1981)
- Facing Unity (1984)
- Church and Justification (1994)
The present Lutheran-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity is studying "The Apostolicity of the Church." A report on its outcome is expected in 2004.
The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification
Global Lutheran-Roman Catholic relations have been positively affected by the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ) and its celebration in Augsburg, Germany on 31 October 1999. Please click Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification for more information on this important ecumenical development.
The JDDJ is the result of various dialogue phases between Lutherans and Roman Catholics, both regionally and internationally. A comprehensive study program to follow-up the JDDJ is now being implemented. Please click for more information on the Follow-up of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification.
Significant regional relations between Lutherans and Roman Catholics exist in different parts of the world.
In Germany, dialogue between the Protestant Church in Germany (EKD) and the German Bishops' Conference of the Roman Catholic Church has focused on a number of central theological themes. A major study was undertaken on the doctrinal condemnations of the Reformation era regarding justification, ministry and the sacraments, and whether they still apply.
In the USA, Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue has also focused on theological areas central to the common faith - justification by faith, for example - as well as traditionally controversial issues such as the status of Mary, the saints, and the Petrine ministry. Both of these regional dialogues have contributed substantially to the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification.