Catholic World News

Finnish Lutheran delegation meets with Pontiff

January 22, 2015

Welcoming a delegation of Finnish Lutherans to the Vatican on January 22, Pope Francis remarked: “A shared Christian witness is very much needed in the face of the mistrust, insecurity, persecution, pain and suffering experienced so widely in today’s world.”

The Pontiff voiced his support for ecumenical dialogue between Catholics and Lutherans, pointing to the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, which was signed by the Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation fifteen years ago. He noted that in Finland and Sweden, joint ecumenical talks are now exploring the implications of that document.

Nevertheless, the Pope said, the most important aspect of ecumenical work is union in prayer. He repeated the words used by St. John Paul II to welcome another Lutheran delegation from Finland:

The fact that you come here together is itself a witness to the importance of efforts for unity. The fact that you pray together is a witness to our belief that only through the grace of God can that unity be achieved. The fact that you recite the Creed together is a witness to the one common faith of the whole of Christianity.

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  • Posted by: wsw33410 - Jan. 22, 2015 2:39 PM ET USA

    Unfortunately, today's Finnish Lutheran Church is dramatically different than the one fifteen years ago, after fully supporting the same-sex unions and abortion laws recently approved in Finland. Wonder what specific "shared Christian witness" the Pope sees in that Church? What common values and justification could be used as the basis for any dialog?