On the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation it is encouraging to see the joint statement below being issued by both the Lutheran and the Roman Catholic Churches.

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Pontifical (Vatican) Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) have issued a joint statement to mark the 500th anniversary this week of the beginning of the Reformation, affirming that the goal of renewed theological dialogue is to fulfill the yearning of many Lutherans and Catholics “to receive the Eucharist at one table as the concrete expression of full unity.”

Acknowledging “the pain of those who share their whole lives, but cannot share God’s redeeming presence at the Eucharistic table”, the joint statement describes the ecumenical perspective of the 500th anniversary as a catalyst for greater unity between Catholics and Lutherans.

“We recognize that while the past cannot be changed, its influence upon us today can be transformed to become a stimulus for growing communion, and a sign of hope for the world to overcome division and fragmentation.”

This year also marks 50 years of continued international dialogue between Lutherans and Catholics. The Lutheran World Federation and Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity express gratitude for the “pilgrimage that has been sustained by our common prayer, worship and ecumenical dialogue,” and resulted “in the removal of prejudices, the increase of mutual understanding and the identification of decisive theological agreements.”