500th anniversary of the Reformation – Lutheran and Catholic leaders call for dialogue


On Sunday, Bishop Mark Whitfield of the Lutheran Church of New Zealand and Cardinal John Dew for the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference marked the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

On this date in 1517, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-five Theses, concerning failings he saw in the Church, on the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Electorate of Saxony in the Holy Roman Empire.

Bishop Whitfield and Cardinal Dew officially signed a documentDialogue for Unity As Reformation Remembered, based on a statement recently issued in Australia.

In Australia, a Roman Catholic-Lutheran Dialogue team has been discussing ongoing issues for the past 30 years.

The Lutheran Church of New Zealand, as a District of the Lutheran Church of Australia, has been a party to this discussion.

The Lutheran and Catholic representatives on the New Zealand Dialogue Commission are now committed to studying the documents of the Australian Dialogue and presenting both the pastoral and theological fruit of the discussion to the Catholic and Lutheran churches in New Zealand.

In the document signed on Sunday, the two leaders encouraged the members of their churches to work for unity.

“Unity is indeed the gift of God and the will of Christ in whom all things hold together (cf Colossians 1:17).

“We gratefully acknowledge the unity we already share. Together we confess one faith, one Lord, one baptism.

“We encourage all members of our two communities, Roman Catholic and Lutheran, to hear God’s call for continued transformation, meeting together whenever possible and witnessing the joy and power of the gospel in daily life.”

The signing was followed by a service at St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in Wellington to mark the reformation.

Earlier this year, the Cardinal and Bishop Mark led an ecumenical worship service at Sacred Heart Cathedral attended by Catholic, Lutheran and several other Christian denominations, formally opening the New Zealand dialogue between the Catholic and Lutheran Churches.

Read the Statement


Supplied New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ Conference
Image: lcasynod.au/resources.stuff.co.nz/supplied

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News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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