Thursday, August 26, 2004

Communion at the Table is Possible!

Three ecumenical institutes in Germany, the Centre d’Études Oecuméniques (Strasbourg, the Institut für Ökumenische Forschung (Tübingen), and the Konfessionskundliches Institut (Bensheim) have written a joint plea that Roman Catholics can offer a "eucharistischen Gastfruendschaft (literally: a guest-friendship in the eucharist)" to Lutherans. The current president of the Lutheran World Federation, Bishop Mark S. Hanson (also the ELCA's presiding bishop), not too long ago asked for the same from John Paul II. No reaction yet. These theses depart significantly from other statements asking for the same due to the statement's reliance on a "call to common conversion" which differs somewhat from the steady and true procedure of "reconciliation in diversity." A first read of the full book version of this plea struck me as bearing the marks of the Group des Dombes' approach to the reconcliation of the churches.

These institutes (the Strasbourg one is the Lutheran World Federation's official ecumenical research arm) have caused a stir before. In the 1970s they issued a plea that argued that nothing stood in the way of a swift mutual recognition of ministries between Lutheran and Roman Catholics. This caused great ruckus on both sides!

N.B. The published form of these theses contains much additional exposition and support. The link has only the basic text.

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