Donate Faites un don
The Margaret O'Gara Ecumenical Dialogue Collection
La collection de dialogues œcuméniques Margaret O'Gara
Online resource centre for Canadian bilateral ecumenical dialogues
Centre de ressources pour les dialogues œcuméniques bilatéraux canadiens
Show menu

Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue in Canada

Dialogue: Roman Catholic-Evangelical Lutheran
Date published: June 1992
Persistent linkLien persistant :
This permanent link may be used for this document.

Ce lien permanent peut être utilisé pour ce document.

Document versions:

Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue in Canada


The present report contains the results of six years of theological conversations between representatives of the Lutheran and Roman Catholic traditions in Canada. It is offered to interested clergy and laity as a means of sharing the progress made and in the hope that it may encourage further dialogue at the local level.

I. An Overview

Stimulated by the Second Vatican Council, Lutheran-Catholic dialogue began in the United States in July 1965. The international dialogue was officially initiated in November 1967. National bilateral dialogues have also been held in Norway, Sweden and Germany. In Canada, the first steps towards dialogue took place in regional groups which began to meet in Montreal, Saskatoon and Toronto in February 1968. In January 1969, a national consultation gathered the results of the regional meetings and made a number of recommendations about ways of improving relations between Lutherans and Catholics in Canada. For the next few years, regional groups were most active in Toronto and Calgary. In November 1973, the possibility of establishing a national dialogue was discussed but considered untimely because of the merger process in which the Lutherans were engaged.

Dialogue between the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) was initiated in December 1986. From the beginning, one of the goals of this national dialogue has been to support regional, ecumenical formation. This goal is reflected in the appointment of dialogue partners from each of the areas in which the Lutheran synods are located. This arrangement has enabled participants to work together in planning local events as well as to share ideas in a dialogue setting. The dialogue group includes seven participants from each church and an Anglican observer. Over the past five years, the group has met seven times: December 3-4, 1986; April 20-22, 1987; April 25-27, 1988; April 23-26, 1989; December 7-9, 1989; April 5-7, 1990; April 18-20, 1991.

At their first meeting, participants had an opportunity to review their ecumenical experience and to express their hopes for the dialogue. In general, the group agreed on the importance of: I) building on what has been done and making use of common material; 2) establishing a process for reception of documents at national, regional and parish levels; 3) finding specific issues and practices in order to make a distinctive Canadian contribution to the dialogue. Group discussion was facilitated by a resource person. Dr. Harry McSorley, who gave presentations on the United States and International Lutheran-Catholic Dialogues and on the principles of dialogue.

The second meeting allowed for a sharing of information about the organizational structures of the two churches. Much of this meeting focused on reception of the Common Statement on Justification by Faith published in 1985 by the U.S. Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue. While suggesting some minor clarifications of language, the group agreed to accept the Common Statement as published and to take steps to convey this consensus to parishes through a series of gatherings of clergy and laity. While it was acknowledged that each church may use slightly different words to speak of the same reality, there was no hesitancy in the words which say, “Our entire hope of justification and salvation rests on Christ Jesus and on the gospel; we do not place our ultimate trust on anything other than Gods promise and saving work in Christ”.

A third meeting reviewed the contents of the first three U.S. Lutheran-Catholic Dialogues: the Nicene Creed, baptism for the remission of sins, eucharist as sacrifice. Dr. William Rusch attended this meeting as a resource person and offered further updating on U.S., German and International Lutheran-Catholic Dialogues. Points of agreement were noted and a number of questions were raised. At a subsequent meeting, the group agreed to a statement on the appropriate use and treatment of consecrated elements.

The final four meetings focused on questions of ministry and ordination. At the fourth meeting, the resource person was Rev. Jean-Marie Tillard, O.P. After his presentation on ordained ministry in the church, the group divided into denominational caucuses to raise specific questions which could be asked of each other. Time was spent in developing and presenting responses. These were discussed and synthesized and topics requiring further study were identified. During the fifth meeting of the dialogue, these topics for further study were given careful consideration. Related topics were grouped so that dialogue partners could prepare brief papers exploring underlying issues for each set of topics. For the sixth meeting, the grouped topics had been further refined in the form of a specific question or concern: 1) ordained ministry/priesthood of all believers; 2) appropriate use and treatment of consecrated elements; 3) validity of orders; 4) reordination; 5) permanence of episcopacy. Papers, presentation and discussion of these topics allowed for a clearer identification of convergences, divergences and ongoing questions to be included in a report submitted to the two sponsoring churches. At the seventh meeting, time was given to hearing from groups and individuals who had been asked to review the draft report. In light of these comments and the reflections of the dialogue group, the report was revised. Further revisions were completed by mail and the report was finalized for distribution in December 1991.

A distinctive feature of this dialogue group has been commitment to supporting ecumenical activity at the local level. With this in mind, two of the dialogue meetings have included public lectures: on April 21, 1987, Professor Egil Grislis spoke at St. Paul’s College, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, on “Authority and Lutheran Identity”; on April 26, 1988, Dr. William Rusch spoke at the University of Calgary on “Reception”. Three of the meetings have been followed by informative press releases. One very effective form of support for local ecumenical activity was initiated after the second dialogue meeting when participants agreed to sponsor gatherings of clergy and laity for discussions on Justification by Faith and the Eucharist. Over 600 clergy and laity from the Anglican, Lutheran, and Roman Catholic Churches have participated in these discussions in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. It is hoped that the publication of this dialogue report will offer another opportunity for regional study and dialogue.

While engaged in a bilateral dialogue, participants remain aware of the wider ecumenical community. In particular, the presence of Anglican clergy at regional study days has raised questions about the possibility of developing a national trilateral dialogue. At the fourth meeting, two sessions were held in conjunction with the Canadian Lutheran-Anglican Dialogue and an Anglican observer has been in attendance since the third meeting. Although circumstances do not seem to warrant the establishment of a three part dialogue at this time, it was agreed that the dialogue group should be kept informed of other Canadian bilateral dialogues and that it would be appropriate for the Faith and Witness Commission of the Canadian Council of Churches to receive reports of bilateral dialogues.

II. Dialogue On Ministry

As a way of making a distinctive Canadian contribution to Lutheran-Catholic dialogue, the group focused on questions of ministry and ordination. Making use of previous dialogues and studies, the process led to the identification of convergences, divergences, and ongoing questions. The group’s findings are summarized in four areas of general agreement, four areas of continuing dialogue and two areas of current disagreement.


1. The Priesthood of the Baptized and the Ministry of the Ordained

In his Body the Church, Christ through the Spirit continually provides for a wonderful diversity of ministries and gifts through which, by his power, we serve each other unto salvation. In spite of their diversity, all such gifts are “the work of the one and the same Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:11), and there is a true equality in dignity and a common activity of all in the building up of the Body of Christ.

Jesus Christ is our great High Priest. offering Himself as the atonement for the sins of the world and the agent of humanity’s reconciliation to God (Heb. 9:11-14, 23-28; Mk. 10:45; 2 Cor. 5:17-21; Rom. 3:23-25; Eph. 2:13-16; Col. 1:15-22). “Through baptism all Christians participate in Christ’s priesthood” (CRE, p. 148) and become a priestly people, sharing both in His suffering for the world and in His work of reconciling creation to its God (Mt. 10:24-25, 16:24; in. 12:23-26; Rom. 8:17; 1 Pet. 2:19-21; 2 Cor. 5:18-20; Rom. 12:1-2).

Jesus Christ is also the Good Shepherd and Guardian of His People (Jn. 10:11-18: 1 Pet. 2:25). In service to His priestly people – the flock which He has obtained with His own blood (Acts 20:28) – He calls and sends forth pastoral ministers who do not act in their own name but represent the person of Christ according to the promise: “Whoever hears you, hears me” (Lk. 10:16). Through these pastoral ministers God feeds and tends His people in a ministry of Word and Sacraments that continually renews them in His love and truth and equips them for their priestly work in the world (Acts 20:28; I Pet. 5:1-4; Eph. 4:11-16).

2. The Divine Institution of Ordained Ministry

Jesus Christ instituted the office of ordained ministry by calling and training the twelve disciples and commissioning them to serve together as His apostles, witnesses to His life, death and resurrection for the sake of the world (Mk. 3:13-19; in. 6:70; 13:12-17; 20:19-23; Acts 1:8, 21-26). He to whom all authority in heaven and on earth was given, personally sent them forth to make disciples of all nations through baptizing on behalf of the Triune God and teaching the truth revealed in Him (Mt. 28:16-20). The risen Christ also committed to Peter and the apostles the ministry of feeding and tending His flock (In. 21:15-17). And, Peter in turn commended to his “fellow-elders” of the next generation that same ministry of shepherding God’s people on Christ’s behalf (I Pet. 5:1-4).

In the Eucharist also, where our Lord’s priestly work on the cross and in His resurrection is made present and effective among His people, the role of the ordained is pastoral in nature. Jesus charges the Twelve to do this, to re-present Him (“for the remembrance — anamnesis — of Me” 1 Cor. 11:24-25), and prefigures their role as feeders of His flock by entrusting to them the distribution of the blessed meal among “the five thousand” and “the four thousand” (Mk. 6:41: 8:6; and parallels).

Thus, although the ordained ministry exists to strengthen and equip the whole people of God for their life in the Spirit and their priestly work on God’s behalf (2 Cor. 5:5), it exists not at the discretion or by the authority of the congregation, but by the will and command of Christ. By virtue of their baptism the ordained exercise the priesthood common to all the baptized and function within the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). But by virtue of their ordination they are called to exercise a pastoral ministry on Christ’s behalf, a ministry of Word. Sacrament and servant leadership for the sake of the Church and its mission in the world (Acts 20:17-35).

3. The Sacramental Dimension of Ordination

Lutherans and Catholics agree that ordination occurs through the laying on of hands and prayer whereby, in the name of Jesus Christ, the gift of the Spirit is offered and conveyed for the exercise of ministry (Acts 6:1-6; 1 Tim 4:14).

The rite of ordination enables a person to exercise the ministry of pastor in communion with other ministers through the proclamation of the Word, the celebration of the sacraments and the fostering of order and
harmony in the Christian community.

Both Churches agree that the ordained ministry is rooted in Jesus Christ and in the teaching of the New Testament. It is a gift of God which is received at ordination. This affirms the sacramental dimension of the ordained ministry.

In the Catholic Church, ordination is a sacrament. The Lutheran Church does not call it a sacrament. According to the Lutheran tradition, sacraments must be explicitly instituted by Christ in the New Testament. In the Catholic tradition, implicit institution by Christ through the Church has been regarded as sufficient. This accounts for the difference in terminology.

Only bishops ordain in the Catholic Church. In the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada bishops ordain, although any ordained minister may ordain another under authorization of the bishop.

4. The Permanence of Ordination

Both Churches distinguish between the permanent spiritual gift of ordained ministry and the time conditioned exercise of that ministry which can be terminated by resignation, retirement or an act of discipline. Both also agree that where the Church has recognized a valid ordination, it cannot be repeated.

The character received at ordination refers to the nature of the ordained persons’ service to the Church and not to their state of holiness. The sacramental character affirms that the gift of the Spirit received at ordination is a permanent gift which enables the minister to exercise that ministry Thr the sake of the people of God even though the minister may be in an unworthy state.

The Catholic Church has often expressed its understanding of the spiritual gift received at ordination in terms of a permanent mark or change in the personhood of the ordained. But this gift can also be understood in terms of “the promise and mission which permanently mark the ordained and claim them for the service of Christ.” (Ministry, par. 37) This understanding is more akin to the Lutheran understanding of ordained ministry as a service on behalf of Christ to the Church. It affirms the permanent character of ordination and it safeguards the priority of the divine initiative in the call and the ministry of the ordained. In the words of the Malta Report: “Lutherans in practice have the equivalent of the Catholic doctrine of the ‘priestly character (par. 60).


1. Apostolic Succession in Ordained Ministry

“We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.” This, in the words of the Nicene Creed, is our common confession of faith. The one, holy catholic Church is apostolic because it carries on the mission committed to the apostles (Mt. 28:16-20) to proclaim and live the faith entrusted to them (Eph. 2:19-22; him. 1:15-18; 2 Tim. 2:1-2; Acts 20:17 ff.).

Despite differences in practice and understanding, the Catholic Church and the Lutheran Churches have been shown in the dialogues of recent years to be committed to the historic succession of ordained ministers as an expression of the Church’s apostolicity.

For the Catholic Church, the historic succession is seen in the succession of bishops linked to the apostles over the years through their election and ordination to the episcopal office by other bishops. Bishops, in their turn, ordain all presbyters and deacons.

For the Lutheran Churches, the historic succession is seen in the practice of ordaining ministers by means of other ordained ministers acting under the proper authority of the Church. Practices vary; but in most Lutheran bodies, including the ELCIC, it is the bishops who ordain all or almost all candidates approved for ordination.

For both of our Churches, the historic succession of ordained ministers from the time of the apostles to the present time exists to serve the apostolic faith and mission of the Church. From the earliest days of the Church there has been a recognition that the ordained can betray the trust placed in them (Acts 20:30), that historic succession does not guarantee faithfulness and must be exercised in communion with the whole Church and must carry forward the apostles’ own pastoral ministry of Word, Sacrament, and servant leadership.

At the time of the Reformation, the bishops in many areas were not willing to ordain ministers who embraced the Lutheran movement. In this emergency the Lutheran reformers “took the step of allowing ordination through ordained pastors, appealing to the original unity of the office of pastor and bishop”, believing that “they were entitled to do this without surrendering the role of apostolic succession” (CRE, p. 155). As a dialogue group, we ask whether the time may not be ripe for the Catholic Church to consider recognizing the validity of this action in view of the circumstances surrounding it and the intention of those who took it. If so, could not the Catholic Church extend a recognition of the validity of ordination in the historic succession within the churches of the Lutheran movement similar to its recognition of the validity of ordination in the historic succession now extended to most of the churches within the Orthodox tradition?

We also ask whether Lutherans today might not consider affirming, along with the Lutheran Confessions, a willingness to accept the episcopal form of historic succession as a preferred sign of the apostolicity of the whole Church, provided there is no suggestion that without it their ordained ministers have not been serving with full apostolic authority.

2. Ordering of the Ministry

There is one fundamental apostolic office committed by Christ to the twelve apostles and subsequently to Paul (Mt. 28:16-20; Rom. 1:1-6; Gal. 1:1, 11-17). From it all subsequent forms of ordained ministry derive. “Lutherans and Catholics start from the common conviction that the trend toward the emergence of the special ministry which finds expression in the New Testament is of normative significance for the post-apostolic Church” (Ministry par. 17).

The Catholic Church recognizes three forms of ordained ministry deriving from the Early Church and having their roots in the New Testament period — deacon, presbyter and bishop. The office of deacon is understood to exercise a portion of the apostolic mandate, the office of bishop to exercise the full mandate, and the office of presbyter (priest) to exercise a similar mandate but with some restriction in subordination to the bishop. Entrance to each of these offices is through a specific ordination with its accompanying charism of the Spirit.

The Lutheran Church has normally understood itself to practise a single ordination to the entire Ministry of Word and Sacrament. Stressing the essential unity of the apostolic office. Rites of installation to episcopal ministry or of setting apart to diaconal ministry, which other Christians would regard as ordinations, are usually regarded by Lutherans as, in the first case, a differentiation within the one apostolic office or as, in the second case, something other than a share in that office. Bishops are regarded as regional pastors, with special responsibilities that logically relate to that role, such as ordination; and the diaconate has been regarded by many Lutherans as a special form of lay ministry. Lutheran practices and perceptions vary, and there is a widespread willingness to re-examine them in the light of Scripture, Church tradition, and the ecumenical dialogues, as evidenced by the present study within the ELCIC and its decision in 1991 to have a threefold ordering of ministry (bishops, pastors and a diaconal ministry).

3. The Teaching Office of the Ordained Ministry

The Lutheran and Catholic Churches share several common points in relation to the teaching office. The Scriptures are the main source of teaching in both Churches. The creeds and the doctrines of the ancient councils are authentic expressions of the Gospel. Authoritative teaching is developed in the Confessions for the Lutheran Church and in the statements of ecumenical councils, the popes, and the bishops in the Catholic Church.

Lutherans and Catholics affirm that the Holy Spirit keeps the Church in the truth.

Through baptism, all Christians share in Christ’s prophetic office; they are called to exercise his teaching ministry. All believers hand on the faith by word and action. They are witnesses to the Gospel by living their call in the Church and in society. When authorized, lay people preach at worship services in both Churches. Theologians, both lay and ordained, contribute through their research and theological reflection on contemporary issues in the light of the Gospel.

In the Catholic tradition, the bishops are preachers and authentic teachers of the faith. They are under God’s Word, serving and listening to the Word: they proclaim the Word, encouraging good teaching, guarding against false teaching, and discerning the Word in current issues.

To serve the unity of the faith, the bishops in communion with the bishop of Rome and in universal agreement with each other, make binding doctrinal decisions for the whole Church. This is done ordinarily in ecumenical councils. In addition, the bishop of Rome as pope exercises his teaching office in relation to the universal church in communion with the other bishops.

Bishops teach in their dioceses in communion with other bishops especially in the same country or region. The teaching office of bishops is also exercised through episcopal conferences or through eastern church synods; this is an expression of episcopal collegiality. Presbyters (priests) and deacons cooperate in the preaching and teaching ministry of the bishop. Laity and ordained ministers work together with bishops in diocesan and national synods on pastoral and doctrinal matters, although bishops have the responsibility to make the final decision.

In the Lutheran Church, bishops are to assure that the “teaching of the Church is in harmony with the gospel as interpreted in the confessions of the Church and to warn against false teaching and help people in their struggle against it” (LEO, par. 17). The pastor is called to exercise the office of preaching and teaching in the local congregation.

Lutherans come to common decisions on pastoral and doctrinal matters through conventions where pastors, lay people, theologians, and bishops come together to pray, reflect, discuss, and vote. The national convention is the highest body of teaching authority.

Lutherans and Catholics have much in common in the teaching office of bishops. Yet, both in theory and in practice, Catholic bishops exercise a more extensive teaching role than their counterparts in the Lutheran Church where lay people and other clergy have a more central role in teaching.

In order to come to a deeper unity, Catholics are called to a more extensive exercise of collegiality in the whole Church and to a greater role of lay people in the ministry of teaching in the Church. In the Lutheran Church, bishops are called to have a more active role in the teaching office.

4. Divergent Practice of Celibate and Married Clergy

The New Testament affirms both married and celibate ordained ministers (1 Cor. 7:8, 29-35; 9:5; 1 Tim. 3:1-5, 12; Titus 1:6). There are both married and celibate ordained ministers in the Lutheran Church. These practices go back to the Reformation where Luther affirmed the sanctity of family and married life for the clergy.

In the Roman Catholic Church today the ordained ministry is restricted to those who are called to celibacy. Presbyters (priests) and deacons of the Eastern Catholic rites outside of North America have always had the freedom to marry before ordination. Bishops in the Eastern rites are always chosen from among the celibate clergy. Since Vatican II married men can be ordained to the diaconate in the Latin rite. In our times, some exceptions have been made regarding the ordination of married clergy from Anglican and Protestant Churches.

In the Latin rite the requirement of celibacy for ordination is a matter of church discipline which could change. Today, due to severe shortages of presbyters (priests), especially in some regions of the church, many people are calling for the possibility of a married clergy to maintain the centrality of the eucharist in the building of the Christian community.


1. Women in Ordained Ministry

All Christian Churches affirm women and men as children of God and joint heirs of salvation. Likewise, all affirm that man and woman are created equal and together constitute the image of God in its human expression (Gen. 1:27).

Within its contemporary contexts for ministry and witness in the name of Christ, the ELCIC has understood Scripture to compel it to remove all obstacles to the ordination of women. It understands this as a necessary result of faithfulness to the Gospel and obedience to the achievements of Christ’s death and resurrection.

The Catholic Church has in like manner expanded the role of women in the leadership of worship and in the pastoral care of the faithful, but has not felt authorized to call them to ordained ministry. The option of ordaining women is currently understood as inadmissible, although it is not a matter of defined doctrine. There is, however, historical precedent for calling women to the ministry of deacons.

At the moment, the presence of women in ordained Lutheran ministry and their absence from the ordained ministry of the Catholic Church pose a serious obstacle to full communion between these Churches.

2. The Role of the Papal Office

The papal office forms part of the dialogue on ordained ministry in that it is an episcopal ministry. The pope is first the bishop of Rome who also exercises episcopal jurisdiction in the Catholic Church in his teaching and pastoral functions. At the same time, bishops are pastors of dioceses in their own right who have received their office from Jesus Christ; they are in communion with the pope but they are not his delegates. The papal office is also significant in this dialogue in that the recognition of Lutheran ministry by the Catholic Church will involve the assent of the pope.

In the Catholic Church, the papal office is a ministry and visible sign of unity in succession to the ministry of Peter (Jn. 21;17-19; Mt. 16:16-18).

Lutherans have acknowledged that there may be a place for a ministry and visible sign of unity in the Church “insofar as (this office) is subordinated to the primacy of the gospel by theological reinterpretation and practical restructuring” (CRE, p. 159). If this were to occur, both Churches would be called to major changes in theology and in practice.


At this stage of our dialogue, we have specific recommendations and suggestions to make on various topics considered by the dialogue.


On the Eucharist we appreciate the work already accomplished by other dialogues between Lutherans and Catholics. We found significant areas of agreement on the appropriate use and treatment of consecrated elements which we would like to propose for formal consideration by the CCCB and the ELCIC.

1. We agree that the Eucharist is richly filled with grace and meaning and hence is not readily exhausted by a narrow definition. Nevertheless, the primary thrust of the Eucharistic celebration is to embrace the threefold reality of memorial, presence and sacrifice’ which is accomplished most directly by faithful partaking, after valid consecration has taken place.

2. We also agree that while the Eucharist is a congregational event, it is also intended for members of the body of Christ who are absent. This intent can be concretized by reserving the consecrated elements for later use with those who are absent, especially the sick.

3. Finally, we agree that the handling of the remaining Eucharistic elements is a matter of respectful and intelligent disposition according to the tradition of one’s own Church and with respectful awareness of divergent patterns in other Churches.


On Ministry, we found some areas of agreement and also some points of disagreement. However, even in the areas of disagreement, we are able to make some recommendations which may facilitate a greater convergence in understanding and practice. These recommendations ought to be viewed as pairs which challenge each party to the dialogue.

1. On the matter of mutual recognition of validity of the ministry of the ordained in each Church we recommend: a) that Catholics acknowledge their appreciation for the pastoral and prophetic value of Lutheran ordained ministry and b) in view of Lutheran acceptance of the validity of Catholic orders, that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada reconsider their practice of “reordaining” Catholic priests who join the Lutheran Church.

2. This dialogue looked at two specific areas of divergence in ministry and we discovered elements for possible further development. Therefore we recommend: a) that Catholics continue to study the role of women in (ordained) ministry and b) that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada reflect on the pastoral and evangelical office of the Papacy today.


In view of our common pastoral experience with marriages between Lutherans and Catholics we make the following recommendations:

1. Both Churches ought to explore common approaches to preparation and to provision of support for families in interchurch marriages. This would include consideration of admitting spouses and children to communion in both Churches. Responsibility for attendance at Sunday worship in interchurch marriages is a source of tension which should be resolved.

2. Moreover, we need a common approach to baptism in interchurch marriages. This would also encourage the preparation of catechetical materials to be used in common.

3. The Pastoral Guidelines for Interchurch Marriages Between Anglicans and Roman Catholics in Canada could be a helpful resource in this area.


We ask that future dialogues explore the following initiatives which would increase our experience of the Christian faith together:

1. Common orders of service for baptism, marriage, anointing of the sick and funerals (within interchurch marriages);

2. Consideration of: a) shared pulpits for special occasions; b) guidelines for prayers, invocations and blessings for special occasions in our society; c) common approach to interfaith services; d) common hymnody and orders of prayer services; e) joint service for Good Friday; f) cycle of prayers (of the faithful) for each other’s services;

3. Sharing of personnel in canonically and constitutionally acceptable ways for Mission territories, for chaplaincies in health care, correctional and educational institutions;

4. Encouragement of regional initiatives: a) units on Reformation issues and current convergences on historically divisive matters; b) cooperative approaches to continuing adult education; e) retreats and parish missions in common; d) use of common pastoral statements on current social issues (e.g. native concerns, immigration, medical ethics. etc.); e) jointly sponsored social projects with particular provision for youth involvement; f) common Bible study by members of Lutheran and Catholic parishes and congregations;

5. Formal reflection on: a) theological understanding of Christian marriage; b) relation of confirmation to baptism.


At the conclusion of this round of the dialogue, we make the following recommendations regarding reception:

1. We request that the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada formally receive this report.

2. To facilitate the reception of this report within both Churches, we request that both bodies make this report public.

3. We also recommend that the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada constitute a second round of the dialogue. Furthermore we ask that each Church body inform the dialogue regarding their responses to these recommendations and suggestions. In their commission to the second round they should specify that the new round of the dialogue begin with matters which arose from the first round.

The members of the dialogue are grateful to their respective Church authorities for this opportunity to serve the Christian Church in such a significant fashion. May our communities grow in faithful understanding and appreciation of our baptism into, and ministry with, Jesus Christ.

June, 1992


1. International Lutheran Catholic Dialogue, The Ministry in the Church, 1982, (Ministry); Lutheran World Federation, Lutheran Understanding of the Episcopal Office, 1983 (LEO); Karl Lehmann and Wolfhart Pannenberg (eds), The Condemnations of the Reformation Era. Do they Still Divide?, 1990 (RE); Joint Lutheran-Roman Catholic Study Commission, The Malta Report, 1972

2. For evidence of the continuing tradition of the Church see: Irenaeus of Lyons, Adversus Haereses III. 3. 1-2; VI. 33. 8.

3. See the consensus on the meaning of the terms “memorial, presence and sacrifice” achieved by the U.S. Dialogue in its third round: The Eucharist as Sacrifice.



Rev. Robert J.H. Binhammer
Ms. Carol J. Boden
Professor Egil Grislis
Most Rev. Bob Jacobson, Co-Chair, 1986-1991
Rev. Karen Johnson-Lefsrud
Most Rev. Donald W. Sjoberg
Rev. Thomas Zumbrock

Roman Catholics

Rev. Paul C. Burns, CSB
Most Rev. Adam Exner, OMI, Co-Chair, 1986-1988
Sister Donna Geemaert, SC
Most Rev. Antoine Hacault, Co-Chair. 1989-1991
Rev. Martin Moser, OMI
Mrs. Winifred O’Rourke
Pere Alexandre Tache, OMI

Anglican Observer

Rev. Allen R. Simms,