An open question for Lutherans

What would it take for you to re-unite with the Catholic Church?

Would you need to see a move from Rome first?

What specific doctrines or dogmas do you see as impediments?

Are they the ‘big 3’? Of Marian doctrines, papal infallibility and Transubstantiation?

Are there others?

I am a amateur lay person who seeks unity among all Christians, and there is much unity among our faiths…and those in power have made attempts at reconciliation in the recent past, but fell short of making it happen…what would a lay Catholic and a lay Lutheran do to push towards greater unity?

The Church has, over the years, actually responded to and changed many of Luther’s 95. The Church ‘saw the Light’ so to speak (albeit too late to bring Luther back. They snubbed him pretty badly) and adopted many changes he was clamoring to see.

I am sincerely asking. What can a Catholic and a Luther do to bring our Churches together as one flock under one Shepherd?

I realize full well that neither of us want to ‘give up’ our faiths, so I know the answer isn’t a simple one, but I am compelled to seek ways to bring this about.

Peace in Christ

…awaiting answers from our Lutheran friends.
Mary.

There’s not a whole lot left dividing Lutherans from Catholics per Dialogue.

=Hawkiz;12259120]What would it take for you to re-unite with the Catholic Church?

Would you need to see a move from Rome first?

One or more of the following:

  1. Corporate reconciliation between our communions. That is the model promoted since Vat II by popes.
  2. An official acceptance of the Augsburg Confession by Rome as a truly Catholic confession of the faith.
  3. Reconciliation and full communion between the CC and Eastern Orthodoxy, simply because it would be an undeniable and irresistible movement of the Spirit within His Church,

What specific doctrines or dogmas do you see as impediments?

Are they the ‘big 3’? Of Marian doctrines, papal infallibility and Transubstantiation?

Are there others?

I would not consider mariology and Transubstantiation part of the big three.
For me, it is particularly universal ordinary and immediate jurisdiction of the pope. All other issues for me can be linked to this one. In short, my issue is more ecclesiology than it is, for example, soteriology.

I am a amateur lay person who seeks unity among all Christians, and there is much unity among our faiths…and those in power have made attempts at reconciliation in the recent past, but fell short of making it happen…what would a lay Catholic and a lay Lutheran do to push towards greater unity?

I don’t believe they’ve fallen short. That’s sort of “glass half empty”. I believe the last 50 years have seen remarkable progress.
That said, one of the things the laity can do is develop stronger more charitable ties. Work together on common causes, such as life issues, and the health care mandates that threaten our religious liberty.

The Church has, over the years, actually responded to and changed many of Luther’s 95. The Church ‘saw the Light’ so to speak (albeit too late to bring Luther back. They snubbed him pretty badly) and adopted many changes he was clamoring to see.

Some they did, but the 95 theses, in the long run, were not the towering issue of the Reformation, at least from our view. It was the doctrine of Justification.
As for being snubbed, they were certainly poor decisions, harsh words, and lousy behavior on both sides. Maybe the best answer about what laypeople can do is forgive each other for the sins of our ancestors.

I am sincerely asking. What can a Catholic and a Luther do to bring our Churches together as one flock under one Shepherd?

Just what you are doing.

I realize full well that neither of us want to ‘give up’ our faiths, so I know the answer isn’t a simple one, but I am compelled to seek ways to bring this about.

Instead of worrying about what we give up, maybe we all could focus on what we agree on (a lot), and pray for guidance on fixing what we don’t.

Peace in Christ

And also with you.

Jon

So if you say there’s not much left dividing both sides what is the hold up? The reason why I say that is b/c I have read here on CAF about talks between Lutheran and Orthodox Churches. I understand that maybe pride plays a role but, shouldn’t humility take front lead. The reason why I say that b/c as Christians we need to demonstrate the World, Atheists, Gnostics, and Muslims that we are 1.

I would hope to see a recognition by the Catholic Church that I am a faithful Christian where I am.

Would you need to see a move from Rome first?

See above. Also, I would like to see the Catholic Church recognize my ordination as a Lutheran pastor as valid. I have no doubt that it is, but it would be good to hear it from

What specific doctrines or dogmas do you see as impediments? Are they the ‘big 3’? Of Marian doctrines, papal infallibility and Transubstantiation?

The Marian doctrines don’t give me too much heartburn, although I would probably hold them as pious beliefs rather than fundamental doctrine.

My issue with transubstantiation is only that I feel it is a bit of a reach to declare that there is only one way to explain the real presence of our Lord in the Eucharist. It is a mystery that defies explanation as I see it.

I am a amateur lay person who seeks unity among all Christians, and there is much unity among our faiths…and those in power have made attempts at reconciliation in the recent past, but fell short of making it happen…what would a lay Catholic and a lay Lutheran do to push towards greater unity?

I think that lay involvement is crucial. While the ultimate decisions may be made by our church hierarchies, the commitment of the laity is absolutely necessary for any unity to occur.

I am sincerely asking. What can a Catholic and a Luther do to bring our Churches together as one flock under one Shepherd?

I realize full well that neither of us want to ‘give up’ our faiths, so I know the answer isn’t a simple one, but I am compelled to seek ways to bring this about.

In the end, we need to pray for unity – together as often as possible. And then, we must trust the power of the Holy Spirit to lead us to where we need to be.

What would it take for you to re-unite with the Catholic Church?

We are already united with the church catholic. If you mean the Roman Catholic Church, there are many things that need to happen.

Would you need to see a move from Rome first?

Yes. I would want to see Rome completely acknowledge that the Augsburg Confession is a legitimate confession of the Christian Church, fully equal, blessed and complete as any other confession or creed.

Are they the ‘big 3’? Of Marian doctrines, papal infallibility and Transubstantiation?

I am fine with relegating the Mary dogmas and Transubstantiation to pious opinions. I am not going to believe in them, but I don’t mind if others do. As do papal universal jurisdiction and infallibility, there would need to be a complete repudiation on Rome’s part of these doctrines, and a return to the proper place of the Pope in the church.

Are there others?

Rome would need to acknowledge that one is justified by grace alone through faith alone. Or at least acknowledge that this is a legitimate position to take as a Christian. Express more liberality on issues such as remarriage, and birth control or at least take each case as a case by case basis. Remove the Mass and Holy days of obligation obligations, allow general group confessions instead of requiring individual auricular confession.

I am a amateur lay person who seeks unity among all Christians, and there is much unity among our faiths…and those in power have made attempts at reconciliation in the recent past, but fell short of making it happen…what would a lay Catholic and a lay Lutheran do to push towards greater unity?

We could start by praying for unity.

Lutherans accepting the Pope as Pastor of the Church is essentially agreed on. That is a significant development historically and could be seen as non prideful.

So basically, The R catholic church would have to do all the walking to close the gap. As I see it, some points (bolded) might be out of the question for catholics. Maybe think of smaller steps, from both sides.

Yes. I can tell you that my tiny Lutheran denomination is not willing to budge an inch. The synod prides itself in its unflagging nature, this is for better or worse. As for the “brass” they are working towards unity with our nearest relative the LCMS. But the general feeling in the pews of the average joe WELSy is lukewarm towards unity with even them, and we share the same doctrine, like completely the same. I doubt my synod even has talks with the RC.

As for me, it’s not like concessions, why should any of us concede any doctrine we hold so dear? That wouldn’t be fair to either of us. Perhaps its better for our tables to remain separate for now, even possibly to the end of the age, rather than compromise our dearly held doctrines, that many on both sides shed blood to uphold.

As for me personally I am more than willing to concede that most RC doctrine is legitimate, and not wrong per se. They are legitimate pious opinions to hold to, such as the Mary dogmas and Transubstantiation, even the canon of scripture, episcopal polity, even auricular confession etc.

Of course, I understand your point of view even though I might not share all of it, and feel such posture sounds a bit prideful (I know it´s not what you meant, probably just passion in disguise). What I unsuccesfully attempted to do was propose to discuss what issues could be settled, rather than focus on those which seem unsolvable at the moment.
Needless to say, I´m no theologian myself, but everytime I read about lutheranism (generally speaking here), we seem to be so close, that I can´t help to feel unity among us might be the cornerstone of a unified Christianity in the future.
Wishful thinking, not scholar analysis :o

You are preaching to the choir :smiley:

Ecumenical work between Lutheran and Catholic is considered momentous

O God, you have taken to yourself the blessed Virgin Mary, mother of your incarnate Son: Grant that we, who have been redeemed by his blood, may share with her the glory of your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.74
ncccusa.org/faithandorder/faithandorder/journals/newhorizons/010103.html

Good to know :rotfl:

You bring up one of the most important issues. Not to in any way discount the importance of the question of correct doctrine, but at the same time there’s always the danger of forgetting the importance of humility.

On second thought, I guess “forgetting” is a bit of an oversimplification, but you all get the idea. :cool:

I know that our respective authorities are working towards this, and I am grateful. I appreciate your willingness to discuss this openly, with humility, charity and love! I further appreciate your prayers.

Peace in Christ

Jon, thank you for your willingness to discuss this openly. I haven’t told you this before, but you specifically are one of the primary reasons that this Roman Catholic even started considering unity among our faiths! You have been inspirational in your many posts here and you have opened my eyes to how just how close we really are. Your discernment of the Scriptures, and your use of kind, calm, charitable language has turned off any ire that I may have once held towards all Lutherans. You are a beacon of Light, and I want to thank you for that.

I welcome your encouragement and prayers that we may seek unity from both sides.

I will agree with many others that have posted here that it is in humility that we will open the doors to unity.

Peace in Christ

Pastor, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kind response. I pray daily that The Roman Catholic Church will specifically acknowledge and validate your first two concerns. In many ways they have, but I realize perhaps not fully or in the way that either of us would like to see…yet. :slight_smile:

I fully appreciate and am trying to better understand your concerns over Mary and Transubstantiation. I thank you for being able to be open about what your exact concerns are: it is only through honest discussion that we can ever hope to reconcile fully.

I have taken some steps as a lay person to promote unity on a local level, and they have been well received, with some of the same concerns mentioned here in this forum being brought up. As a leader of the flock, could you please offer some specifics that you would like to see? More joint services? More public prayer? Do you have an issue (thinking of something along the lines of abortion) where you could see our faiths doing a better job of unifying? Any advice you can offer to an amateur like me would be most welcome.

Thank you for your encouragement and prayers. May we all seek to unite around HIM!

Peace in Christ

Thank you for your honest answers. I realize that there are still things that divide us, and really do welcome and appreciate you telling me the truth. It is only through open and honest dialogue that we can even dream of being united as one.

Do you know that the Catholic Church already testifies to us being saved by Grace alone? (The faith alone part, no, at least not in the way I presume that you believe it). But we don’t need to squabble over that here.

I really appreciate you mentioning some things (Holy Days of Obligation, etc.) that I did not bring up. Can you provide me with some better insight as to why these particular things are a hindrance for you and others? It would help me to continue our conversation if I had a better feel for the ‘why?’ from your perspective. Please and Thank you.

I will pray that both of our faiths will seek the other out and communicate in an effort to unite around our Savior!

Peace in Christ

See forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=902281

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