Joint Catholic/Lutheran statement on Marriage under discussion

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands at their Annual General Meeting in Madang have prepared a draft Statement on  Marriage.

If it is also accepted by the Lutheran bishops at their meeting in Lae on 10-14 June 2013, plans may be made to formally launch it in March 2014.

Bishop Bill Fey,  the Deputy Bishop for Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands says The Catholic Ecumenical and Interreligious Commission has been in existence for many years.  There has been ongoing dialogue with the Anglican Church in PNG.

Since 2000 there has also been dialogue with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in PNG.  This led to the signing of an agreement on baptism in 2003 between the Catholic Church, the Anglican Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in PNG.

Further dialogue meetings with the Anglicans led to an agreed statement on marriage that was signed by bishops of the two Churches. Further meetings with the Lutherans led us to also talk about marriage.

The draft Statement on marriage covers the theology of human sexuality and marriage.

It confirms the traditional Christian stance that:

  • The couple must have achieved a mutual consent to live as husband and wife until the death of one or the other.
  • Unless there is a special exemption, both Churches require of their members that this act of accepting each other be witnessed by an official minister of the respective Church.
  •  Married love is only possible between one man and one woman.
  •  Marriage commitment points to the love of Christ who bound himself in an irrevocable covenant to his Church and that therefore it is meant to be permanent and faithful.

The statement acknowledges that further discussion is required regarding  “our understanding of marriage as a divinely instituted means of grace, the morality of contraception, appropriate ways to respond to the HIV-AIDS pandemic, divorce, annulment and remarriage, factors such as consanguinity of a certain degree that invalidate a marriage, required permissions to have a Lutheran/Catholic mixed marriage, as well as the baptism of children of polygamous or broken marriages or of couples living together without marriage.”





Additional reading

News category: Asia Pacific.

Tags: , , , , ,