Encounters to deepen dialogue towards church unity

Chile’s Lutheran Bishops Izani Bruch (left) and Siegfried Sander, in Paramaribo, Suriname, during the LWF Pre-Assemblies for Latin America and the Caribbean, and North America, where the Reformation anniversary was one of the main topics. Photo: LWF/Hubert Hermelijn

Catholics in Chile endorse ‘From Conflict to Communion’ proposals for joint action with Lutherans

(LWI) – Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Chile have publicly expressed their commitment to the five ecumenical imperatives proposed in the Lutheran-Catholic publication, "From Conflict to Communion". The National Conference of Bishops also affirmed determination to support encounters that deepen dialogue towards church unity.

In a letter to Bishops Siegfried Sander (Lutheran Church in Chile) and Izani Bruch (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile), the conference expressed joy as it anticipates commemoration of the 500 years of the Reformation in 2017.

“This report encourages and pleases us, because it allows us to appreciate the road of convergence already covered, as well as those differences that still remain between our churches,” read the letter signed by Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, Archbishop of Santiago and Cristián Contreras Villarroel, Bishop of Melipilla, the conference President and Secretary General respectively.

Published in 2013, “From Conflict to Communion” is the first attempt by The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and Catholic Church to tell the history of the Reformation together and discuss its implications. Shared with the respective church bodies for study since and available in 11 languages, the report also highlights proposals for joint action in the context of the forthcoming Reformation anniversary.

The Chilean Catholic church leaders stated their “agreement to assume the five ecumenical imperatives that this report proposes in order to deepen what unites us and strengthen what we have in common.”

They affirmed their commitment “to transform ourselves through encounters and the mutual testimony of faith; to engage in the search for visible unity through concrete steps; helping each other to rediscover the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ for our time; and bear common witness together to the mercy of God in proclamation and service to the world.”

The Catholic church leaders emphasized all those who have been baptized in Jesus Christ share a common call, which is reiterated in commemorating the Reformation together. The commemoration “calls us to rejoice in recognizing that we share the same Word of God that illuminates our lives, showing us the reasons for recognizing our respective sins against unity among ourselves and regarding other Christian confessions,” they wrote to the Lutheran church bishops.

The 2017 commemoration coincides with LWF’s Twelfth Assembly and 50 years of the international dialogue between Lutherans and Catholics.

LWF’s two member churches in Chile bring together nearly 5,000 members. Roman Catholics constitute around 55 percent of the country’s population of 18 million people.

 

(Edited from a contribution by the Latin America and Caribbean communications network)

 

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