"I'm filled with euphoria because we have witnessed the Spirit's power to bring us together in our joint declaration on justification," Seattle Archbishop Alexander Brunett told the assembly.
Brunett chairs the Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Brunett's comments followed a thanksgiving liturgy for the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, which Lutheran and Catholic representatives will sign in Augsburg, Germany, Oct. 31. The declaration affirms a common understanding of the central doctrine that has separated the two churches since the 16th century.
Differences in church teachings and traditions can now be regarded as "mutually correcting" and "mutually enriching," Brunett said, "no longer as the source of estrangement between us."
The joint declaration of the centrality of grace comes as a "common task and challenge ... in a culture dominated by competition, by status, by merit and self-reliance," he said.
Brunett said many aspects of the church's ministry now will be reshaped, especially the mission of evangelization, adding, "Our common understanding of the grace of Christ as central in our lives ... is not a treasure only to be cherished, but a treasure to be shared."
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers