Inscrit le: 30 Juin 2004
Localisation: Patriarcat Virtuel
|L'apostasie de l'Eglise Suédoise est bien malheureuse
Nous avons, pour nous consoler, ces quelques fidèles ministres et leur mission
Comme l'a dit Thomas sur un autre fil: soutenons les par la prière!
Chantez à l'Eternel, vous qui l'aimez,
Célébrez par vos louanges Sa Sainteté!
Car sa colère dure un instant,
mais sa grâce toute la vie;
le soir arrivent les pleurs,
et le matin l'allégresse.
|Concerned about Unity
Skrivet av Missionsprovinsen
The Most Rev. KG Hammar, Archbishop of Uppsala
The Rt. Rev. Mark S. Hanson, LWF President
Dr. Ishmael Noko, LWF General Secretary
It is the deep appreciation of the valuable and historical relationships between the Church of Sweden and the Baltic churches as well as our serious attitude towards the participation in the Lutheran World Federation – Communion Of Churches that urges us to write this letter. For many years Church of Sweden has been for us a valued and significant partner, and one of the closest neighbours. We are tied by a long, mutually enriching history and by the precious sign of the apostolic succession. It is hard to overestimate the contribution of the Church of Sweden to the origins and development of the ecumenical movement. Together we have been involved in the process that led the LWF from an association of separate church bodies toward a communion of churches.
Therefore, it is with great sorrow and sadness that we received the news that the General Synod of Church of Sweden on the 27th October, 2005 has accepted a resolution to bless “Registered Partnerships” of legally defined relationship between people of the same sex. While strongly condemning expressions of hatred toward homosexuals, we are convinced that the duty and pastoral responsibility of the Church is to bring to them all of God's Word - the law and the gospel, repentance and forgiveness of sins for Christ's sake within the body that He has redeemed with His blood. Our Churches believe that homosexual activity is not consistent with Christian discipleship, but about such are applicable our Lord’s words: “Repent of your sins and believe the gospel.” (Mk.1:15) This, we believe is clearly supported by Holy Scripture, as it has tradidionally been read and interpreted in the apostolic church. Therefore we cannot consider blessing same sex partnerships simply as pastoral care. Such decision marks a huge change in a church’s approach to the task of teaching and shepherding.
While acknowledging and respecting the rights of every church body to take it’s own decisions, we nevertheless regret the unilateral way how it was done. The controversy that was evident at the LWF Assembly in Winnipeg in response to the resolution project regarding homosexuality submitted by the Swedish delegation was a prognostic indicator of the inevitable harm that acceptance of this position would cause to the LWF community. The LWF Council tried to avert such injury and created the Task Force On Family, Marriage and Human Sexuality to study the issue and to create a basis for a debate. Preempting the completion of the studies, the Church of Sweden General Synod has relegated the Task Force’s work to a formal exercise. We also deeply regret the damage that this decision has done to ecumenical efforts, making the possibility of achieving a visible unity of the Church even more remote, and in our opinion lowering the trust level of the entire Lutheran Church in the eyes of other church bodies. It is difficult for us to understand why the homosexual question is given such a high priority, that for this the church's ecumenical responsibilities are sacrificed and the LWF communion is weakened. Reportedly the decision to bless same sex unions was supported by the bishops of the church. If so, it leaves unclear, in what way the episcopal ministry is realised as a service for church’s unity and what is the content of the sign of the apostolic succession in the Church of Sweden today.
The unilateral decision to bless same sex relationships by one of the LWF member churches has created facts that affect our relationships with the Church of Sweden and in the LWF communion. Blessing of same sex unions is incompatible with the faith, creed and doctrine of our churches. The constitutions and regulations in effect respectively within our churches do not permit us to accept services from or to remain in fellowship with our own clergy who would practice or support blessing of same sex couples. Consequently, the same applies to clergy of other churches. We find ourselves in a situation where we are no longer able to participate in fellowship with every minister in the Church of Sweden. It consequently also means that it will not be possible any longer to fully implement the unconditional fellowship and recognition of ministries that is presumed between all member churches of the LWF.
Whereas the unity of the body of Christ, His church is a primary concern for us, we sincerely wish to preserve our relationships with the Church of Sweden and fellowship within the LWF as much as these new circumstances will permit. The effects of the above decision and the extent of changes needs yet to be evaluated while searching for possible solutions. We invite all LWF member churches to give serious attention to the Church's of Sweden decision because it concerns all of us. We also invite the general secretary on the LWF, Dr. I. Noko to find a way how to discuss the present situation in our Communion of Churches. We should prayerfully and with much intercession, consider possible models for continuing relationships in a way, which would allow retaining everyone’s consistence and integrity.
Archbishop of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church
Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Lithuania
Archbishop of Riga, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia
Pärnu, 6th March, 2006
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