Lutherans and Catholics in NZ reach landmark baptism agreement

Baptism Statement web

Catholic and Lutheran churches in Aotearoa New Zealand have approved a statement recognising the unity of each other’s baptisms.

The statement – Baptised Together in Christ – will be particularly helpful for families wanting to baptise their child where one parent is Lutheran and the other Catholic.

The baptism agreement is the first major work of the Roman Catholic-Lutheran Dialogue Commission. The commission has held regular meetings since being created by Lutheran Bishop Mark Whitfield and Catholic Cardinal John Dew in 2017, as part of New Zealand services marking the Reformation of European Christianity that began in 1517, when Martin Luther published his Ninety-five Theses in Wittenberg, Germany.

Bishop Whitfield says: “Catholic and Lutheran baptismal rites have much in common, and this work is a welcome opportunity to learn from each other’s practices.”

Cardinal Dew says: “This statement honours our commitment to seek the unity that draws us together, to be transformed by our encounter with one another, and to promote further expressions of our unity across our churches.”

The statement says: “The Catholic and Lutheran churches can learn from one another and speak with a common voice on issues of concern in modern society, with the conviction that they share one baptism and one faith.”

Acknowledging there are differences in understanding and emphasis between the two churches, it adds: “Catholics and Lutherans both assert that through baptism a person becomes a member of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.”

“A parent couple that includes both a Catholic and a Lutheran partner are encouraged to bring their child for baptism in the church of their choice. They may seek to have both of their pastors/priests participate in the baptismal service.”

It also says: “Christians are encouraged to speak of being baptised into the Christian church, into the Christian faith, or into Christ. They may say that they were baptised in the Catholic or Lutheran church but are discouraged from saying that they have been baptised Catholic or baptised Lutheran.”

Members of the dialogue commission are: Pastor Jim Pietsch, Assistant Bishop LCNZ (chair); Fr Tom Rouse, St Columbans Mission Society (secretary); Fr James Lyons, Parish Priest Emeritus; Sr Kathleen Rushton, Sisters of Mercy; and Dr Petrus Simons, lay member LCNZ.

Paper copies of the statement will be distributed to parishes as Covid-19 restrictions permit. A Lutheran-Catholic ecumenical service to celebrate the statement is being planned for Wellington late in November, but will also be dependent on Covid-19 restrictions.

The statement can be found at www.catholic.org.nz/assets/Uploads/1-Final-Baptised-in-Christ-web.pdf

 

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Michael Otto

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  1. Hamish says

    On an Italian footpath in the town
    of Lanciano is a Council sign:
    “Miracolo Eucaristico” or in English
    means “Miracle of the Eucharist”, and around
    the corner in the church of Saint Longinus
    (the Roman soldier whose lance pierced the
    side of Jesus), is a glass tabernacle with a
    glass chalice where pilgrims have seen
    globules of dried blood, which was wine
    before consecration, and a round piece of
    yellowed cardiac muscle in a monstrance
    which was a wafer of bread before consecration.
    The miracle of Lanciano of the Eucharist is one
    of over a hundred which can be found on the
    internet if anyone was interested to go looking.
    The miracle of the Eucharist of Santarem is also
    worth searching for..
    It makes a monumental difference to a child’s
    faith when they are ex;posed the Mercy of God
    in miracles such as these.
    Lutherans could also be invited to examine the story
    behind the miracle of the Eucharist of Lanciano.

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