Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology joined the Archdiocese of Newark Commission for Christian Unity in sponsoring a colloquium entitled “The Lutheran and Catholic Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification: What has it achieved? What are the next steps?” The program, which took place on November 13, 2009 at the Seminary's Chapel of the Good Shepherd, commemorated the 10th anniversary of an agreement accepted on the Doctrine of Justification. Other commemorations of this event have taken place this year in both Europe and the United States.
On October 31, 1999, in Augsburg, Germany, representatives of the Holy See and the Lutheran World Federation signed the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. One of the most important achievements of the modern ecumenical movement, the Joint Declaration was the result of decades of international and national theological dialogue between Lutherans and Catholics after Vatican II on the central theological issue in the conflict between Martin Luther and Church authorities in the 16th century. The Joint Declaration now indicates that “a consensus in basic truths of the doctrine of justification exists between Lutherans and Catholics” and that the doctrinal condemnations of the 16th century in regard to this doctrine do not apply to the teaching of the other, which is presented in this Declaration. In 2006, the World Methodist Council officially associated itself with the agreements found in this Joint Declaration.
The main speaker was Dr. William G. Rusch, former Executive Director, Office of Ecumenical Affairs, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and current adjunct professor of Lutheran Studies, Yale University School of Divinity. A response was given by Monsignor John A. Radano, former staff member and head of the western section of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Vatican City (1984-2008), who participated in the international Catholic-Lutheran Dialogue and currently is an adjunct professor at Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology. A lively discussion followed the presentations.
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