From Conflict to Communion – To What Extent Is Common Celebration of the Church Possible?

Dace Balode

In anticipation of the anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation in 2017, the Lutheran and Catholic theologians have developed a joint document „From Conflict to Communion”. It should be acknowledged that this document marks a step forward in the ecumenical dialogue, by taking into account their common ecumenical perspective on the history of reformation. It also illustrates the desire of both churches to clarify the differences that have arisen as a result of different use of various concepts. Turning to the four major themes of Martin Luther’s Theology (Justification, Eucharist, Ministry and Scripture and Tradition), the document reveals how far advanced the ecumenical dialogue on these issues is at present. However, the document leaves out a number of very important topics, such as a definition of church and the issue of mutual recognition, which must remain the task for continuing a genuine dialogue in the future, so that, by recognizing the remaining and maybe even new differences, churches can also recognize each other as complete churches. In Latvia, ecumenical dialogue should be based on academic theology, in order to strengthen the confessional identity, and to form a base on which to build respectful and equal relations with representatives of other traditions.