Across Pacific & Asia
Catholics and Lutherans
...... Take One Big Step
Joint Declaration on Doctrine of Justification to Be Signed in Augsburg
Geneva (idea) - After 450 years of separation, Catholics and Lutherans are
taking a big step towards each other. The Lutheran World Federation (LWF)
and the Vatican have reached a basic agreement on one central issue that has
divided them since the Reformation: How is a sinner justified by God - by
faith in Christ alone or also by good deeds?
On Reformation Day (October 31) - 482 years after Martin Luther nailed his
95 theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg - Lutheran and
Catholic leaders will sign the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of
Justification at the historical site of Augsburg. It was here that the
fundamental Lutheran creed, the "Confessio Augustana" was published in 1530.
Different views on the doctrine of justification had triggered the
Reformation. Luther (1483-1546) fought the practice of selling indulgences,
after he had come to the conclusion that a sinner is justified before God by
faith in Christ alone. Later, the Roman Catholic Church banned him as a
In the Joint Declaration, the mutual doctrinal condemnations of Lutherans
and Catholics no longer apply to the newly formulated views on the doctrine
A year ago, the Vatican’s concerns regarding the document, which had already
been accepted by the leaders of the LWF, had caused some irritations.
However, additional statements in an appendix finally made the document
ready for signing.
The Roman Catholic Church has one billion members worldwide; of the 60
million Lutherans, 57 million belong to the 128 LWF member churches.
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