LWF President Younan leads LWF Delegation on visit with Pope Benedict XVI

GENEVA, 15 December 2010 (LWI) – Representatives of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) led by the president Bishop Dr Munib A. Younan will visit Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican on 16 December.

The seven-member delegation includes also the general secretary, Rev. Martin Junge and these regional vice presidents of the Lutheran communion elected at the July 2010 Eleventh Assembly in Stuttgart, Germany: from Africa, Presiding Bishop Alex G. Malasusa (Tanzania); from Central Eastern Europe, Bishop Tamás Fabiny (Hungary); and from the Nordic region, Presiding Bishop Helga Haugland Byfuglien (Norway). These LWF officers, together with the staff persons participating in the visit, represent all LWF regions.

The private audience with the pope will take place in the context of the regular annual Joint Staff Meeting between the LWF and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU), co-chaired for the first time by Junge in his capacity as LWF general secretary since November and by Kurt Cardinal Koch as recently appointed PCPCU president.

The joint meetings focus on the cooperative work of the two bodies in ecumenical relations.

In October 1999, representatives of the LWF and the Roman Catholic Church jointly signed the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ) in Augsburg, Germany. With the signing, the two partners affirmed that their mutual condemnations concerning the doctrine of justification, dating back to the 16th century, do not apply to their current teaching.

In 2006 the World Methodist Council formally affirmed the JDDJ, with a commitment by the three partners to strive together to deepen their common understanding of justification in theological study, teaching and practice.