Good morning, recently I read that a local Catholic priest signed a “covenant” with a Lutheran ecclesial community. In part, the “covenant” states that the Catholics of his church and the Lutherans of this church-like community will have Bible Study together and hold “prayer services” together. The article mentioned that a prior bishop of our diocese had signed a “covenant” with a Lutheran organization at a diocesan level some years ago, however I am unable to find further details of that “covenant.” In these contexts, could you clarify what is meant by a “covenant”, i.e. what is the spiritual authority of these “covenants” and how binding are they upon the Catholics under the authority of the priest or bishop? Thank you!
In these kinds of cases “covenant” is just a fancy word for “agreement.” It sounds like they are just agreeing to do certain things together that they hold in common. They are publicly committing themselves to working together on areas of interfaith worship and community that are mutually agreeable. These agreements have no real authority other than encouragement.