From a Special Correspondent
REPRESENTATIVES of 52 million Lutherans all over the -Le' world who are attending the fourth assembly of the Lutheran World Federation here were urged last week to intensify current Lutheran contacts with Catholic theology.
This recommendation was contained in a special report prepared by a five-man commission on inter-denominational research. it was read at the fleeting by the Lutheran Bishop of Munich, Dr. Hermann Dietzfelbinger.
" We do not want to talk prematurely," the report stated, "or jump to conclusions about a reunion of Christendom, But the mere fact of the new dialogue with Rome — which reached a pitch of special intensity at the time of the Vatican Council, is in itself important enough."
The commission, in effect. recommended the continuation and intensification of the research inaugurated after the last meeting of the federation in August 1957. After this meeting. Kristen E. Skydsgaard, a Lutheran professor of theology at the University of Copenhagen, was given leave of absence to set up a special institute for the study of Catholic
theology. He later became one of the World Federation's two observers at the first session of the Vatican Council.
The commission report, while singling out the relationships between Catholics and Lutherans for special attention. also called for "appropriate and critical research, hoth historical and systematic. in areas where. Christian churches are divided on matters of doctrine and church order and where there are theological questions which form the subject of controversy."
Among the observers at the World Federation's meeting were two Catholic priests, who were sent by the Holy See in response to an invitation from the Federation. They were Fr. John Witte, Si.. of the Gregorian University in Rome, and Fr. Peter Blaeser M.S.C.. of Paderborn. Germany. Observers from a number of other Christian communions were also present.