Thursday, July 10, 2014

via "frkim" <> Jul 08 10:28PM -0400

ECUMENICAL DIFFICULTIESby Mathew Block7 . 8 . 14

The outcome of the dialogue in Tallinn was sobering, as it is difficult to
come closer on substantive issues. The question of women's ordination is
regarded as church-dividing, at least from the Orthodox angle . . .
Consequently I think we on the Lutheran side have to think about whether
progress in dialogue is to be expected at all."

These sobering reflections come from Rev. Dr. Jennifer Wasmuth, a
participant in the Joint Commission for theological dialogue between the
Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Orthodox Church, following recent
discussions in Estonia. The meeting, which took place May 8-13, focused on
the question of women's ordination. If Wasmuth's words above are anything to
go by, it doesn't sound like it was the most fruitful of discussions.

As Wasmuth explains, "The simple and crucial difference is that ordaining
women is not recognized in Orthodox churches, while in most Lutheran
churches it is not only recognized but already practiced."

This is not exactly news-female ordination among churches of the Lutheran
World Federation has been a perennial strain on ecumenical relations with
the Orthodox (and Roman Catholics for that matter) for some time. The
election of female bishops by some Lutherans has only exacerbated tensions.
In 2010, for example, the election of a female bishop in the Evangelical
Lutheran Church of Finland prompted statements of concern from the nation's
Catholic and Orthodox leaders. "As a theological decision, it is a step away
from efforts toward unity," Archbishop Leo of the Finnish Orthodox Church

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