Should Lutherans and Catholics "Engage Together in Catechesis?

“The Church as Koinonia of Salvation: Its Structures and Ministries” [2004] recommends that Lutheran and Catholic:

bishops have retreats together, priests and pastors have mutual sermon preparation study as well as lay catechesis, evangelization, peace and justice ventures, social ministry, and attendance at each other’s diocesan and synodical assemblies"

Doesn’t that suggest significant unity between Lutherans and Catholics?

The Church as Koinonia of Salvation: Its Structures and Ministries

  1. We recommend that our churches recognize the real but imperfect communion among our ministers and encourage appropriate forms of pastoral collaboration between our ministries. Specifically, we propose:

that common activities among Lutheran and Roman Catholic bishops be promoted in order to signify the level of communion that exists between them, such as regular joint retreats, co-authored pastoral letters on topics of mutual concern, and joint efforts on matters of public good;

that mutual activities be intensified among ordained ministers, such as regular retreats, homily or sermon preparation study, participation in non-eucharistic prayer services and weddings, and common sponsorship of events or services in the life of the church, including as appropriate other leadership ministries;

that the faithful, in light of their common baptism into the people of God, engage together in catechesis, evangelization, peace and justice ventures, social ministry, and attendance at each other’s diocesan and synodical assemblies; and

that social ministry organizations, educational institutions, chaplaincies, and other church agencies engage together in activities that further the gospel and the common good.

Yes absolutely, we can help with those hymns as well.

Anything would be an improvement over Marty Haugen and Haas “hymns” in the missals.

I was LC-MS for 9 years on my way home to the Church. There I discovered liturgical worship and what became my own journey home.

What I find rather remarkable is the statement on “catechesis” and mutual “homily/ sermon preparation”. Does that imply that Lutherans and Catholic believe the same on doctrine?

Certainly not; Lutheran and Roman differences clearly remain church-dividing. But learning what the ‘other side’ believes from those very believers, rather than from 500-year-old polemics, seems obviously preferential. I think that’s the message here. We can come together where we can. For example, Roman Catholics can teach Lutherans a little bit about appreciating the saints who have gone before us, and we Lutherans can teach them a thing or thirty about how to sing. :smiley:

But that is not what the Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue is suggesting in the recommendation of joint catechism and homily preparation; what is taught and preached about the Faith on Sunday morning.

I can’t imagine the Roman Catholic Magistrium would be particularly pleased knowing that their catechumens were being taught by a “Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Scripture Alone” Lutheran pastor. Nor would Lutheran pastors agree to allow a Roman Catholic priest to teach their catechumens about the ‘benefits’ of indulgences.

I’d take another read. These sorts of things are always written with the underlying idea that two sides come together where they can, and go their separate ways where they cannot. Given the paragraph’s context, it seems the focus is more on cooperating in our worldly care for our fellow man than on agreement on doctrine. These things we can essentially agree need to take place: “evangelization, peace and justice ventures, social ministry” Of course we should care for the poor in wealth and spirit together. :shrug:

In answer to the question of the thread title: Yes, but only if the catechesis was that of the Catholic Church, with a view to bringing our Lutheran brothers and sisters back into the fold of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. :slight_smile:

Once back we could work together on expunging the Marty Haugens, et. al. from the hymnals. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

It appears to be a declaration of trust in each other that the Gospel will be proclaimed and the holy Sacraments administered, If priests are urged to prepare sermons with Lutherans; that means the most tangible essence of the Church is to share the Good News of Christ.

My parish still uses Gelineau which I never tire of.

Anyone remember the Gelineau Psalms?

If I were to receive Holy Communion from a Lutheran pastor (is that even possible??), would I not be automatically excommunicating myself from the Catholic Church? Why would I want to do that??

Sure, a Lutheran can proclaim the Gospel. So can an unaffiliated agnostic, or even, I’d imagine, a Buddhist. Administer the Holy Sacraments, though…hmmm…I don’t think so.

I’m sure a Lutheran pastor can prepare and deliver a mighty sermon. Kudos to him if that be the case. But, in the Catholic Church, the focus is, or should be if it isn’t, on the Eucharist—not on the sermon.

If I may weigh in on this, I do not believe it is a good idea for Catholics and Lutherans to engage in Catechesis. In truth, I already have enough problems with Catholics that don’t understand what the church teaches without them getting a mixed message. Conversely, I’d have to believe the same would be true for Lutherans. It can also lead to indifferentism (Lutherens and Catholics are so close, what difference does it make which one I am?). The fact is, people died and the church was fractured due to that difference.

With all of that being said, I have no problems at all with sharing music, community projects, and other good Christian activities with our separated brothers and sisters :thumbsup:


Well said! :thumbsup:

I think the the Lutherans and Anglicans should work on preparing their lessons together (there are already intercommunion agreements between many jurisdictions), whereas the various Catholic churches (Roman, Byzantine, Maronite, etc.) should work more together.

If the Catholics should catechize jointly with any non-Catholic group, it should be the Orthodox, though I doubt they would be interested in joint work with us, nor am I actually in favor of such a proposal.

There is still too much differences between confessions for there to be joint catechesis.

What we can do, however, is stand up for the rights of the unborn, the elderly, and the critically infirm together, as well as the dignity of true marriage and also pray for peace in the world, especially the Middle East and the Ukraine and Russia, and by this I mean pray that Russia doesn’t annex the whole region.

Appreciate your concerns; my father was a catechetical instructor who was often surprised :wink:

The recommendation that bishops and priests go on retreats together is a much more intimate way for Lutherans and Catholics to worship and share.

More likely than if you were Baptist :smiley:

Sure, a Lutheran can proclaim the Gospel. So can an unaffiliated agnostic, or even, I’d imagine, a Buddhist.

Really? “I don’t know if there is a God, but IF, and I’m saying IF there is…then he died for your sins and rose for your justification.”

I’m sure a Lutheran pastor can prepare and deliver a mighty sermon. Kudos to him if that be the case. But, in the Catholic Church, the focus is, or should be if it isn’t, on the Eucharist—not on the sermon.

Incidentally, we view the sermon as simple preparation for the Eucharist. The Eucharist is always the central act of worship.

Of course, I understand what you’re saying Michael. Frankly, if a Catholic were to present himself for communion in our church, we’d probably just tell them that they need better catechesis in their own faith and send them on their way. We don’t want non-Lutherans receiving communion in our churches if its against their own. It’s a complete betrayal of one of the main points of the Sacrament, which is unity in faith.


Your last paragraph is spot on. That being the case, why on earth would a Catholic bishop or priest “worship” with a Lutheran pastor or bishop except, perhaps, in a non-Eucharistic “prayer service” or some such equally benign and bland occurrence??

Keep in mind that the Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue has already accepted the notion that Lutherans could receive holy Communion in Catholic churches in the same way that Orthodox can. Catholics were not encouraged to commune in Lutheran churches, however.

Well… I should say in defense of those favoring closer ecumenical relations that Pope Benedict XVI was present many years ago at Vespers prayed together by clergy of multiple confessions…and no, Vespers is not some “bland prayer service”, but an integral part of the Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours). But I am in full agreement that Catholics should not ordinarily be present at non-Catholic Eucharistic services.

Catholics cannot ever receive Holy Communion in a Lutheran church, since from our point of view, Lutherans have not retained a valid priesthood and episcopate (unless a Lutheran bishop or priest was ordained at the hands of an Old Catholic bishop or some other bishop in churches recognized by the Catholic Church as having valid orders).

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