Pastoral responsibility toward sharing of the Eucharist

Participants prepare for the 31 October 2016 prayer service in Lund Cathedral, Sweden. The Salvadoran cross used for the event depicts the Triune God’s creative, reconciling and sanctifying work. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert
Participants prepare for the 31 October 2016 prayer service in Lund Cathedral, Sweden. The Salvadoran cross used for the event depicts the Triune God’s creative, reconciling and sanctifying work. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

Joint LWF - PCPCU statement on Reformation Day 2017

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) have issued a joint statement on Reformation Day 2017, affirming the goal of renewed theological dialogue is to fulfill the yearning of many Lutherans and Catholics “to receive the Eucharist at one table as the concrete expression of full unity.”

We experience the pain of those who share their whole lives, but cannot share God’s redeeming presence at the Eucharistic table.
LWF and PCPCU

Referring to the October 2016 joint commemoration in Lund, Sweden, the LWF and PCPCU recall the joint pastoral responsibility expressed by Lutheran and Catholic church leaders for “‘the pain of those who share their whole lives, but cannot share God’s redeeming presence at the Eucharistic table.’”

The joint statement describes the ecumenical perspective of the 500th anniversary as “among the blessings of this year of commemoration,” and a catalyst for greater unity between Catholics and Lutherans.

“This has allowed new insight into the events of the sixteenth century which led to our separation. We recognize that while the past cannot be changed, its influence upon us today can be transformed to become a stimulus for growing communion, and a sign of hope for the world to overcome division and fragmentation. Again, it has become clear that what we have in common is far more than that which still divides us.”

As churches around the world remember in different ways Martin Luther’s public call for reforms in the church on 31 October 1517, the LWF and PCPCU pledge to continue to “discern in a prayerful manner our understanding on Church, Eucharist and Ministry, seeking a substantial consensus so as to overcome remaining church-dividing differences between us.”

This year also marks 50 years of the continued international dialogue between Lutherans and Catholics, with milestone documents such as the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification and From Conflict to Communion. In the statement, the LWF and PCPCU express gratitude for the “pilgrimage that has been sustained by our common prayer, worship and ecumenical dialogue,” and resulted “in the removal of prejudices, the increase of mutual understanding and the identification of decisive theological agreements.”

Read the full statement