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The Apostolicity of the Church

Study Document of the
Lutheran-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity

The Lutheran World Federation -
The Pontifical Council for
Promoting Christian Unity

The world-level Lutheran-Catholic Commission on Unity offers here a study-document opening fresh perspectives in ecumenical ecclesiology. To indicate further steps toward the visible unity of the Lutheran and Catholic churches, the commission’s document treats (1) the church’s apostolic character in continuity with its original foundation, (2) the apostolicity of its ordained ministry, and (3) the means it has for maintaining faith and teaching in that truth which the apostles communicated once and for all to the churches.

On the church’s apostolicity, the dialogue works within the horizon of the Lutheran-Catholic consensus on justification by the grace of Christ and agreement in confessing the work of the Holy Spirit in gathering believers into the church. From this basis and notwithstanding remaining differences, Lutherans and Catholics agree at a basic level on what makes a church apostolic and they acknowledge, each with characteristic accents, the true apostolicity of each other’s churches.

Concerning the ordained ministry, the study-document sets forth the complexity of the biblical witness and then relates notable changes over the centuries in the institutional ordering and theology of ministerial office. Today Lutherans and Catholics agree on the priesthood of the whole believing people and on ministry as instituted by God to serve this people, a ministry differentiated for service on both congregational and regional levels. Where Vatican Council II spoke of ministries such as the Lutheran as defective, the dialogue proposes that other Vatican II statements, together with the consensus on justification, point toward a more positive Catholic recognition of Lutheran ministries.

On the means by which the churches remain in the truth of the apostolic gospel, the dialogue proposes a Lutheran-Catholic reconciled diversity on the biblical canon and on the relation of Scripture and tradition. While it goes on to acknowledge significant remaining differences over teaching ministries or the magisterium, the Commission shows that these differences co-exist with basic shared convictions on the necessity of teaching ministries amid multiple instances of witness to the apostolic Gospel and to its present-day implications for Christian faith, worship, and life.

By this study-document, the Commission points the way toward strengthening several elements of Lutheran and Catholic life in order to deepen the real but imperfect communion between the Catholic Church and the Lutheran churches of the world.

The Lutheran-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity 1995-2005

Roman Catholics
Bishop Dr Walter Kasper, Germany (co-chairperson 1995 – 2001)
Archbishop Dr Alfons Nossol, Poland (member from 1995, co-chairperson 2002-2005)
† Prof. Dr Robert Eno, USA (1995-1996)
Rev. Dr Polykarp Chuma Ibebuike, Nigeria
Prof. Dr Margaret O’Gara, Canada
Prof. Dr Eberhard Schockenhoff, Germany
Bishop Dr Gerhard Schwenzer, Norway
Prof. Dr Lothar Ullrich, Germany (1995-2003)
Prof. Dr Thomas Söding, Germany (2003-2005)

Prof. Dr Angelo Maffeis, Italy
Prof. Dr Jared Wicks, S.J., USA (1998-2005)

Staff (Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity)
† Msgr. Dr Heinz-Albert Raem (1995-1996)
Msgr. Dr John Radano (1995-1999)
Rev. Dr Matthias Türk (1999-2005)

The Rt. Rev. Dr Béla Harmati, Hungary (co-chairperson)
Prof. Dr Kristen Kvam, USA
The Rt. Rev. Dr Samson Mushemba, Tanzania
Rev. Prof. Dr Ricardo Pietrantonio, Argentina
Prof. Dr Turid Karlsen Seim, Norway
Prof. Dr Yoshikazu Tokuzen, Japan
Rev. Dr Pirjo Työrinoja, Finland
Prof. Dr Gunther Wenz, Germany

ConsultantsProf. Dr Theo Dieter, Institute for Ecumenical Research, Strasbourg
Prof. Dr David S. Yaego, U.S.A. (1997-2000)
Prof. Dr Michael Root, U.S.A. (2001-2002)

Staff (The Lutheran World Federation)
Rev. Dr Eugene Brand, (co-secretary 1995-1996)
Rev. Sven Oppegaard, (co-secretary 1997-2005)
Mrs. Antonia Bossart, (1995-1999)
Mrs. Sybille Graumann, (2000-2005)

Mrs. Donata Coleman, United Kingdom
Mrs. Ursula Gassmann, Germany

The Apostolicity of the ChurchThe Apostolicity of the Church

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ISBN: 1932688226
186 Pages
Size: 6 x 9
Binding: Perfectbound
Quantity in Basket: None

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