Den tyske lutherske biskop Knuth forklarer Felleserklæringens betydning


BERLIN, NOV 2 (ZENIT).- "It has been an historic step, without which, further steps could not be taken in the future. We have found common formulations precisely on a point that caused the schism five centuries ago: this is great news," Bishop Hans Christian Knuth, 59, said. Knuth is leader of the German Evangelical-Lutheran Church, the principal representation of the Reformation in Germany.

Bishop Knuth, who is also the highest representative of the General Synod of the Lutheran Episcopal Conference, and of the German section of the World Lutheran League, is responsible for relations with Catholics and, therefore, knows from within the long negotiations with the Holy See to arrive at this step of mutual agreement.

"Of course a process of this nature, cannot take place without frictions, without problems. It is somewhat similar to politics: when the matter is serious, everyone gets nervous. And, undoubtedly, following the Vatican note of June 25, 1998, we thought the whole process was in difficulty. Later, however, and all of a sudden, the substantial change came. I believe, that in the midst of human give and take, and of the nebulousness of diplomacy, the Holy Spirit wanted to give a signal," Knuth told the Italian newspaper "Avvenire."

According to the Lutheran leader, the decisive step was also taken for a very simple reason: in this long process, the two churches have come to know one another better. Old stereotypes have fallen away. "Undoubtedly, it is clear that a better perception of the other -- both in the personal as well as the theological aspects -- has been of great help. Moreover, ... it is an important fact that we faced a common front: the pressure of secularization, on one hand, and the new religions, on the other. This has led us to concentrate on what unites us, and not on what separates us."

There are those who believe that these agreements between experts in theology and those responsible in the churches leaves the normal faithful indifferent. Knuth disagrees. "No. On the contrary, I would rather say that everyone now ask us what the consequences of this Declaration will be."

And what are the Lutheran expectations? "We would like an end to the scandal that Christians must separate precisely at the moment when they approach the Table of the Lord. From our side, we have already sent out an invitation. What's more, we say we are not issuing the invitation, but the resurrected Christ is. We would like the Catholic Church to do the same."

The Lutheran Bishop feels that "precisely because it is clear that it is a long road, the theological commissions have developed the necessary preparatory work for the next steps. The Declaration on Justification is the balance of a long process that was later officially confirmed by the respective hierarchies; at present, the same should be done with the other aspects, that is, to go over all that has been elaborated by the commissions to see if a consensus can be reached. I repeat, the work is already done."

Regarding the wounds of the past, Bishop Knuth said "the Declaration states clearly that our Synods are recognized as organs of ecclesial guidance. For us, however, a further step cannot be ignored: it must be stated clearly that it is about the Church, not simply about religious communities." ZE99110205


av Webmaster publisert 03.11.1999, sist endret 03.11.1999 - 10:53