Lutherans, Roman Catholics start report on dialogue

Participants in the U.S. Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue started work on the writing process for a report on their latest round of discussions when they met Oct. 10-14 at St. Paul’s College, Washington, D.C.

Dr. Samuel H. Nafzger, executive director of the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations, and Dr. Dean O. Wenthe, president of Concordia TheologicaNafzger, Saml Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., are the Synod’s representatives to Round XI of the dialogue, which also involves theologians from the Roman Catholic Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

This was the fifth meeting in Round XI, which is addressing the topic of “The Hope of Eternal Life.”  Selected in 2004, that topic has to do with issues such as purgatory, indulgences, and masses and prayers for the dead.

During this meeting, participants presented and then discussed seven reports and papers.

With the goal of preparing an initial draft of a report on Round XI, participants were assigned specific sections.  At their next meeting — set for April 3-6 in Chicago — they plan to discuss and refine that initial draft, said Nafzger, who also indicated that it could be another two years before the round’s participants issue their final report and recommendations.

Round XI participants also took special note of the unexpected Aug. 13 death of Rev. George Tavard, a Roman Catholic theologian who participated in each round of the dialogue since Round I in the mid-1960s, and was to have presented a paper at the latest meeting.

The LCMS was a full participant in the first nine rounds of the dialogue, but was not invited to participate in Round X — a situation over which the late President A.L. Barry expressed concern and regret.  Dr. Charles Arand of the Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, faculty was the Synod’s observer for that round.

After the LCMS was invited to participate once again, Synod President Gerald B. Kieschnick appointed Nafzger and Wenthe to represent the Synod in Round XI of the dialogue.

Posted Dec. 5, 2007

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