Pope hails ecumenical steps with Lutherans, seeks further progress
December 16, 2010
Pope Benedict XVI paid homage to the “many significant fruits” of Catholic-Lutheran dialogue, during a December 16 meeting with the new leaders of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).
"With God's help it has been possible slowly and patiently to remove barriers and to foster visible bonds of unity,” the Holy Father said to Bishop Munib Younan and Rev. Martin Junge, who were recently elected as president and secretary-general, recently, of the LWF. He paid particular attention to the “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification,” signed 11 years ago, clarifying one of the critical issues of theological discord between Catholic and Lutherans.
As the world nears the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s break with the Catholic Church, the Pope said (referring to the event delicately as “the events of 1517”), “Catholics and Lutherans are called to reflect anew on where our journey toward unity has led us and to implore the Lord’s guidance and help for the future.”