Archbishop to mark agreement with Catholic and Lutheran Churches on 500th Anniversary of the Reformation


24 October 2017

The Archbishop of Canterbury is to mark an act of reconciliation
between the Catholic and Protestant churches on the
500thanniversary of the Reformation. 

During a service at Westminster Abbey on 31 October, the
Archbishop will present copies of a text supporting an agreement
resolving the theological dispute behind the Reformation to the
Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran World
Federation  

The text is a formal resolution approved by representatives from
the Anglican Communion, who have welcomed the substance of the
Joint Declaration of the Doctrine of Justification, signed by the
Roman Catholic Church, Lutheran World Federation, World Methodist
Council and World Communion of Reformed Churches. 

The profound difference in opinion on the understanding of
justification – how humankind can be reconciled to God in Jesus
Christ – was the fundamental issue which divided the Church in the
West during the Reformation.

The Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Dr Christopher Cocksworth,
said: “The Joint Declaration was a historic breakthrough in
overcoming the divisions that emerged from the Reformation through
a fresh statement of its key concern, how sinners can be put right
with God and empowered to live in a new way. The good news of
forgiveness and freedom through Jesus Christ is what unites us as
Christians. It’s the word of grace and hope that – together – we
want to share with all the world.”

The Revd Canon Dr John Gibaut, Director of Unity, Faith and
Order for the Anglican Communion, said: “In our separate bilateral
dialogues with both the Catholic Church and the communion of
churches in the Lutheran World Federation, Anglicans have explored
the questions of justification, and are agreed on the essential
aspects of our salvation in Christ.  During the historic 2017
anniversary, Anglicans rejoice in the extraordinary achievement
that the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification
represents as a sign of healing after 500 years of division.”

The resolution passed by the Anglican Consultative Council in
2016 ‘welcomes and affirms the substance of the Joint
Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification.’ The resolution was
noted in a motion approved by the General Synod of the Church of
England earlier this year on the Reformation Anniversary, as it
welcomed ‘signs of convergence between the churches on the doctrine
of salvation’.

The service at Westminster Abbey marks the
500th anniversary of the beginning of the
Reformation in Europe, dated from Martin Luther publishing 95
theses protesting against the practice of indulgences, on 31
October 1517 in Wittenberg. Held in partnership with the Council of Lutheran
Churches
, it will be led by the Dean of Westminster, The Very
Reverend Dr John Hall, with the address given by the Archbishop of
Canterbury.

ENDS

Notes to editors 

For further information on the service at Westminster Abbey,
see 
http://westminster-abbey.org/worship/special-services/upcoming-special-services/2017/october/a-service-to-mark-the-500th-anniversary-of-the-95-theses-and-the-start-of-the-protestant-reformation

For the full text of the ACC resolution, see: 
http://www.anglicancommunion.org/structures/instruments-of-communion/acc/acc-16/resolutions.aspx#s17

For the full text of the JDDD, see: 
https://www.lutheranworld.org/sites/default/files/Joint%20Declaration%20on%20the%20Doctrine%20of%20Justification.pdf