Signing of Joint Declaration on Justification

VATICAN CITY, OCT 29, 1999 (VIS) - Today, in Augsburg, Germany, starts a three day gathering of Catholics and Lutherans, which will culminate Sunday, October 31, in the signing by both parties of the Joint Declaration of the Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation on the Doctrine of Justification.

The three-day meeting, announced last June 11, includes press conferences, ecumenical services and liturgies as well as musical programs. Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, is representing the Catholic Church and will sign the declaration.

A key sentence in the document, which summarizes the common understanding of justification by Catholics and Lutherans, can be found in paragraph 15: "Together we confess: By grace alone, in faith in Christ's saving work, and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God, and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works."

"This is indeed an historic day for the modern Ecumenical Movement," reads a comment by Cardinal Cassidy, which was published this afternoon. "The consensus reached with the Lutheran World Federation on basic truths of the doctrine of justification is of great significance, not only for the two parties directly involved, but also for the whole ecumenical movement, since the doctrine of justification is at the very heart of the Christian faith. It was the different understanding of this fundamental Christian teaching, particularly, that resulted in the disputes that led to the Reformation."

"This is not, of course," he added, "the end of the road with regard to our dialogue on this question and its consequences. As the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification itself points out, much work still has to be done. But this was a necessary step that had to be taken before further progress could be made."


VIS - Vatican Information Service

av Webmaster publisert 29.10.1999, sist endret 29.10.1999 - 15:49