50th International Ecumenical Seminar 2016

50 Years of International Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue: Assessment and Outlook

Strasbourg, July 4-11, 2016


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50 years ago, in the summer of 1966, the Lutheran World Federation and the Pontifical Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity decided to begin an official theological dialogue. Shortly before the end of the Second Vatican council, a bilateral working group had been established, which after two meetings at the newly founded Strasbourg Institute for Ecumenical Research (April 1966)  recommended such dialogue at the world level. As a result, the first international bilateral dialogue group was summoned and began its work as of 1967.

Much has been achieved by this dialogue. The first round clarified already a far-reaching consensus on the understanding of gospel (1972). Thereafter the topics of the Lord’s Supper (1978) and the ministry of the church (1981) were taken up. This first dialogue phase led to a common vision, which appeared in 1986 under the title “Facing Unity.” The work was always being accompanied by national dialogues, in particular those of Germany and the USA. Now the time was ripe for concrete steps and decisions by the church. After a new dialogue round on the understanding of the church (1993), the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification was reached, which in 1999 was officially signed by both the Vatican and the LWF. This differentiating consensus on the understanding of salvation is a milestone that put an end to 500 years of conflict, but which also shed light on the remaining tasks. The open question is still now as it was then the understanding of the church. Therefore, the next theme to be taken up was the apostolicity of the church, which concluded in 2006. After this, in view of the Reformation jubilee in 2017, decisive progress was made in clarifying the way forward with “From Conflict to Communion” (2013).

These 50 years of dialogue are the theme of the 2016 Summer Seminar, which the Institute in Strasbourg is organizing in cooperation with the Johann-Adam-Möhler Institute for Ecumenism (Paderborn, Germany). Theologians who have taken part in various rounds of Lutheran-Catholic dialogue have already committed to presenting at the Seminar. The lectures will first of all present and analyze the important stages of this dialogue and especially its theological findings. Then the various national dialogues, and the reception of the dialogues in the churches, will come into focus. In addition, the methodology of the dialogues that has developed over the years will be more precisely reflected upon. What has been accomplished so far? What has not yet been accomplished? Where do the obstacles lie? Finally, new paths and possibilities for future dialogue for these two Christian world communions will be explored.

Münster Strasbourg

This will be the 50th Summer Seminar to take place at the Institute in Strasbourg.  The lectures will be subsequently published as a special contribution to the observance of 2017.

The Seminar is not restricted to theological debates, though. Just as important is the personal conversation among participants, their sharing of ecumenical and confessional experiences, their questions and attention. Precisely because the participants come from many different churches and nations is this exchange so especially exciting and illuminating. Therefore, plenty of time is offered in the plenary and working groups for such discussion. Not planned in advance but for this reason all the more important are the many conversations that take place over superb French food in the dining hall or over a glass of wine in one of the restaurants of the old medieval city of Strasbourg.

Meeting of the bilateral working group at the Institute, 1966

Languages
English and German are the main languages of the Seminar. Lectures and discussions will be simultaneously translated into and out of these languages. Participants may also express themselves in French in the plenary discussions.

Costs
The charge for the seminar, including full pension (i.e., room and meals) in a seminary dormitory (single rooms) is € 700. Financial support is often provided by churches or other institutions, so participants are encouraged to apply to their appropriate church offices.
As last year, a smaller part of this amount will be used to assist some participants from Eastern Europe, the South and from Latin America, persons who likely would not be able to participate without our help.

Dates
From July 4 (arrival during the afternoon; evening reception) to July 11 (departure after breakfasts), 2016, in Strasbourg, France.

Information
Inquiries by email should be directed either to Elke Leypold: StrasEcumATecumenical-institute.org

Download flyer: Flyer-Seminar-e-2016

Download schedula: seminar schedule 2016