From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
LWF: Ecumenical Consultation on Indulgences
15 Feb 2001 07:41:59
ROME, Italy/GENEVA, 15 February 2001 (LWI) - For the first time since the
Reformation, Catholics, Lutherans and Reformed held an ecumenical
theological consultation on the theme of indulgences.
The meeting involving the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
(PCPCU), the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the World Alliance of
Reformed Churches (WARC) took place in Rome, February 9 and 10 2001, upon
invitation by the PCPCU.
The purpose was to clarify historical, theological and pastoral issues
related to indulgences in order to come to a better understanding of each
other's traditions. It did not aim at an agreement on indulgences - an issue
on which there have been longstanding differences between the Roman Catholic
Church and the churches of the Reformation.
The consultation took place in a positive atmosphere, which lent itself to
honest and constructive discussion. There were common prayers at the
beginning of each day and at the end of the consultation. Two presentations
described the Roman Catholic understanding of indulgences. Prof. Gerhard L.
Mueller (Munich, Germany) addressed the "Historical Aspects of the
Indulgence". Prof. Jared Wicks, s.j, (Rome, Italy) gave a systematic
presentation entitled "Towards Understanding Indulgences: Vetera et Nova".
On the Lutheran and Reformed side the following responses were given: Prof.
Michael Root, Lutheran (Columbus, Ohio, USA), gave an analysis of "The
Jubilee Indulgence and the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of
Justification". Prof. Ellen Babinsky, Reformed (Austin, Texas, USA),
presented "A Reformed View of Indulgences". Prof. Theodor Dieter, Lutheran
(Strasbourg, France), gave a response to Prof. Mueller's paper. Prof. George
Sabra, Reformed (Beirut, Lebanon) responded to Prof. Wicks' paper.
Bishop Walter Kasper, Secretary of the PCPCU, Rev. Dr. Ishmael Noko, General
Secretary of the LWF, and Rev. Dr. Setri Nyomi, General Secretary of the
WARC, each took turns chairing the meeting. His Eminence Edward Idris
Cardinal Cassidy, President of the PCPCU, took part in several sessions of
Other participants included, on the Catholic side, Prof. Barbara
Hallensleben (Fribourg, Switzerland), Prof. John M. McDermott, s.j.
(Columbus, Ohio, USA), Msgr. John Radano and Rev. Matthias Tnrk (PCPCU
staff, Rome, Italy); on the Lutheran side Archbishop K.G. Hammar (Uppsala,
Sweden), Dr. Pirjo Tyśrinoja (Helsinki, Finland) and Rev. Sven Oppegaard
(LWF staff, Geneva, Switzerland); on the Reformed side Dr. Alan Falconer
(Geneva, Switzerland), Dr. Fulvio Ferrario (Milan, Italy) and Dr. Odair
Pedroso Mateus (WARC staff, Geneva, Switzerland).
It is intended that the papers from this consultation will be published as a
contribution to further discussion in the churches.
Rome, February 10, 2001
(The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the Lutheran
tradition. Founded in 1947 in Lund (Sweden), the LWF now has 131 member
churches in 72 countries representing over 60.2 million of the nearly 64
million Lutherans worldwide. The LWF acts on behalf of its member churches
in areas of common interest such as ecumenical relations, theology,
humanitarian assistance, human rights, communication, and the various
aspects of mission and development work. Its secretariat is located in
[Lutheran World Information (LWI) is the information service of the Lutheran
World Federation (LWF). Unless specifically noted, material presented does
not represent positions or opinions of the LWF or of its various units.
Where the dateline of an article contains the notation (LWI), the material
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