The latest round of the Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue has come to a close as the members of the dialogue unanimously approved the final report, “The Hope of Eternal Life.”
It explores issues related to the Christian’s life beyond death, such as the communion of saints, resurrection of the dead and final judgment, as well as historically divisive issues such as purgatory, indulgences and prayers for the dead, according to a news release from the dialogue.
This is the 11th round of talks between US Lutherans and the Roman Catholic Church. Dialogues between Lutherans and the Roman Catholic Church have been conducted since 1965. The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod has participated in 10 of the 11 rounds, but have not come to agreement with the Catholic Church.
This most recent round of dialogue began in December 2005, but Roman Catholics and Lutherans have been in formal dialogue in the United States since 1965. The choice of the topic emerged from principles of life-after-death developed in the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, which the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church signed Oct. 31, 1999, in Augsburg, Germany.
Members of this round of talks include: Dr. Michael J. Root, professor of systematic theology, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Columbia, S.C.; the Rev. Marcus J. Miller, president, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary; and the Rev. Donald J. McCoid, ELCA executive for ecumenical and inter-religious relations. I was fortunate enough to study under both Dr. Root and President Miller during my time at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. Rev. McCoid was the Bishop of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod when I entered candidacy in that Synod.
I am looking forward to reading the final report.