Peru: Ecumenical Impulse to Dialogue in a Fragmented Society

Reformation Day in Peru: 15th JDDJ anniversary and dialogue on “From Conflict to Communion.” Photo: ILEP
Reformation Day in Peru: 15th JDDJ anniversary and dialogue on “From Conflict to Communion.” Photo: ILEP

From Conflict to Communion Can Assist Healing Process

(LWI) – Peruvian Lutheran church leaders say reflecting together on the joint Catholic-Lutheran publication From Conflict to Communion as a basis for joint commemorations of the 500th Reformation anniversary in 2017 could help heal the social divide in Peru.

Representatives of the Peruvian Lutheran Evangelical Church (ILEP) made these observations on 31 October during a Reformation Day ecumenical dialogue on the theme “From Conflict to Communion,” organized by the ILEP Pastoral Conference in the Peruvian capital. ILEP pastors Rev. Adita Torres and Rev. Pedro Bullon said the 2013 publication by the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity could help bridge their nation’s social divide.

“It can serve as an element for joint witness of our faith in order to strengthen democratic dialogue in the face of a social situation that is very fragmented,” the ILEP representatives noted. “The document can help to continue building the social web that was devastated by the effects of the political violence that took place between 1980 and 2000 whose wounds are very difficult to heal.”

The 2014 Lutheran – Catholic dialogue in Peru coincided with the 15th anniversary of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ), signed by The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Roman Catholic Church in 1999, and the first-time reception of the publication From Conflict to Communion, which the LWF endorsed by in 2013.

“This opportunity helps both bodies to engage in difficult ecclesial topics and mutually examine the historical reality of the Reformation, its outcomes, as well as questions and answers so that we could discover together ways of working together for a future of hope,” the Pastoral Conference noted.

The Peruvian church, which has 1,300 members and has been part of the LWF since 2005, is looking forward to the 2017 commemoration of the beginning of the Reformation, because it offers opportunities to deepen dialogue with Catholics, the Lutheran church leaders noted.

Sister Elena Salas, a Roman Catholic nun who helped plan the ILEP event and participated in it, said she hopes that more Catholics in Peru will come to study From Conflict to Communion. “The majority of Catholics do not know it, they do not know of this long effort and great outcome.”

In his message to the meeting, LWF General Secretary Rev. Martin Junge emphasized the Lutheran communion’s approach to the 2017 Reformation anniversary with a sense of ecumenical responsibility.

“We want to be intentional in bringing the fruits of ecumenical dialogue to the table … looking together at the advances, at what still remain as differences on which we keep talking, but more importantly how we keep moving from a conflict to a situation of being in communion,” he added.