To commemorate the Reformation’s 500th anniversary, the LCA and Australia’s Catholic Church will sign a joint statement as a commitment to working together for God’s gift of unity.
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On 31 October, LCA Bishop John Henderson and Archbishop Christopher Prowse of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference will sign a joint statement issued to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
The statement says that while much has changed in the world – and the church – since the time of Martin Luther, ‘the effects of the Reformation endure’.
It says there are three elements to the commemoration of the anniversary: ‘We are deeply aware of the past and of the damage that was a consequence of conflict and division; we thank God for the healing of the relationship between Catholics and Lutherans that has taken place in recent decades and for the impetus for unity that we share; and we look forward to walking a common path in the future, witnessing together to the mercy of God in proclamation and service to the world.’
The statement will be signed by Bishop Henderson and Archbishop Prowse during a day of events under the theme ‘Together in Hope’, to be held in Adelaide. Bishop Henderson said the joint statement was an important commitment between the Catholic and Lutheran churches in Australia to continue to work positively together for the sake of the gospel.
‘It’s important for all Christians in the modern world to find their common voice and their common witness to the gospel’, he said. ‘I think that’s nothing less than Jesus would expect of us. This statement is built on 40 years of solid dialogue, challenging dialogue, between the LCA and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. So If we can’t say something positive after 40 years, why would we be having the relationship?
‘And I think it’s important to realise that the Catholic Church is graciously acknowledging the importance of the Reformation and that the Christianity that we hold, we hold in common.
‘While we continue to have differences, things that will separate us, we believe in the same Saviour and we’re all justified by faith and that’s Lutheran and Catholics alike.’
The ‘Together in Hope’ program will also include a morning prayer service at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Reformation history presentations, an ecumenical lunch, a commemorative tree planting, a Luther movie screening, a concert, an evening prayer service at St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral, a Lutheran–Roman Catholic Dialogue presentation and a reception and dinner. See http://50500.lca.org.au for more details and a link to the joint statement.
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