Monday, June 22, 2009

Lutheran and Catholic Reconciliation on Justification

Over the weekend I received the new Wm. B. Eerdmans academic books catalog in the mail and was pleased to come across its announcement of the July 2009 publication of Lutheran and Catholic Reconciliation on Justification: A Chronology of the Holy See's Contributions, 1961-1999, to a New Relationship between Lutherans and Catholics and to Steps Leading to the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification by John A. Radano. I'm looking forward to reading this book not only because of my interest in the JDDJ; Monsignor Radano was the head of the Western Section of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity until his retirement from that position in 2008, and in that capacity he was actively involved in the bilateral dialogues between the Baptist World Alliance and the Roman Catholic Church, both the first series of conversations in 1984-88 and the first two years of the current series (2006-10) in which I'm participating.

Here's the book description from Eerdmans:

"After centuries of estrangement between Lutherans and Catholics, new relationships began at Vatican II and continued to develop during the following decades. In this broader context, Lutheran and Catholic Reconciliation on Justification illuminates the evolution of the 1999 Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. While describing the steps leading to the Declaration as mutually understood by both partners and showing the important Lutheran initiatives indispensable for those steps, John Radano pays particular attention to the Holy See's contributions.

Part I illustrates initial contacts beginning with Lutheran observers at Vatican II. Before the Council's conclusion in 1965, a Lutheran- Catholic 'Joint Working Group' was formed and dialogue was engaged. In Part II Radano describes how mutual understanding and respect developed in the immediate postconciliar period. By 1972, Lutheran-Catholic dialogue reported a 'far-reaching consensus' on justification. Part III, corresponding to the first decade of John Paul II's pontificate, indicates that continuing dialogues gradually deepened and confirmed the justification consensus. Indeed, John Paul's own broad contacts with the Lutheran world helped build bonds of friendship and reconciliation. Part IV traces the steps taken by both sides in 1988–1999 to draft and officially sign the Declaration, and it describes the three-day celebration in Augsburg surrounding the signing ceremony.

An afterword tracks the reception of the Declaration since the 1999 signing, including support by Benedict XVI. Most especially, Radano details the World Methodist Council's official affirmation of the Declaration in 2006, highlighting the document's truly ecumenical nature."

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