Church Working Toward Full Unity with Lutherans

Pope Receives Norwegian Lutheran Delegation

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 17, 2002.( The Catholic Church continues toward full unity with the Lutheran Church, John Paul II said Saturday upon receiving a delegation of the Norwegian Lutheran diocese of Nidaros.

The delegation arrived on the feast of St. Olaf, patron of Norway, the martyred king who brought Christianity to Norway in 1015, only to be overthrown and killed in 1028 by a pagan rival.

«We are committed to moving further ahead on the path to reconciliation,» the Holy Father explained. «The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification between the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church, signed in 1999, paves the way for more extensive common witness,» adding that it «brings us a step closer to the full visible unity which is the goal of our dialogue.»

The Declaration was signed at Augsburg, Germany on October 31, 1999 (See ZENIT, October 31, 1999:( ).

During the meeting, John Paul II recalled his apostolic visit «to Norway and the other Scandinavian countries in 1989, and the ecumenical service in the Cathedral of Nidaros in Trondheim with the Right Reverend Kristen Kyrre Bremer.»

«It was a sign of new and deeper ecumenical relations between us, improved relations which, in 1993, enabled the Lutheran Church to allow the Catholic community to celebrate in the old medieval Cathedral the 150th anniversary of the re-establishment of the Catholic Church in Norway,» the Holy Father said.

«May the Lord help us to treasure what has been achieved so far, and may he sustain us in our efforts to hasten its development into ever broader cooperation,» the Pope concluded.

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