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Sun Aug 14, 2016, 08:22 PM


U.S. Lutherans Ratify Catholic Interfaith Document

Michael O'Loughlin | Aug 11 2016 - 5:07pm

An interfaith statement claiming that Catholics and Lutherans are no longer divided on many key issues related to church, ministry and the Eucharist took another step forward on Aug. 10, when members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (E.L.C.A) voted overwhelmingly to ratify the 120-page document. The vote to ratify “Declaration on the Way” comes just weeks before the Christian denomination begins a year-long commemoration of the 500th anniversary of its church’s founding by Martin Luther in 1517.

“Dear sisters and brothers, let us pause to honor this historic moment,” Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton, who heads the E.L.C.A.’s body of bishops, said following the vote. “Though we have not yet arrived, we have claimed that we are, in fact, on the way to unity.”

Bishop Denis J. Madden, an auxiliary bishop for the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore, who co-chaired the task force that drafted the statement, was present in New Orleans for the vote. He was presented with a chalice as a gift from the E.L.C.A.

Bishop Madden told America that he encountered Lutherans expressing “a real longing for unity, for coming together” during the meeting and that, while hurdles remain, ratifying the document “is an indication of how much we are all longing for the day when we can receive the Eucharist together.”


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