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Lutherans, Catholics should repent past enmity, work for future unity, Pope says

October 21, 2013

Pope Francis saluted the progress that has been made in Catholic-Lutheran ecumenical relations—“not only through theological dialogue but also by means of brotherly collaboration in many pastoral fields”—as he met on October 21 with members of the Lutheran-Roman Catholic International Commission on Unity, along with a delegation from the Lutheran World Federation.

This year the Lutheran-Catholic commission is marking the 50th year of dialogue in the wake of Vatican II, and also the 5th centenary of the Protestant Reformation. The Pope underlined the importance of “dialogue on the historical reality of the Reformation, on its consequences and the responses that should be given to it.”

“Catholics and Lutherans can ask forgiveness for the harm they have done to each other and for their guilt before God,” as they reflect on the conflicts that followed the Reformation, the Pope said. At the same time, he added, they should “together rejoice for the nostalgia for unity that the Lord has reawakened in our hearts.”


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  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - Oct. 22, 2013 3:55 PM ET USA

    I believe that the Catholic church will lead the way to Christian unity. We do see it with the Anglican church as begun by Pope Benedict. I pray that our Lord will work through Pope Francis with support by our prayers and fasting and other acts of reparation for the whole world to bring other denominations into unity with us.

  • Posted by: unum - Oct. 22, 2013 7:22 AM ET USA

    As the number of committed Christians dwindles, we will find ways to settle out petty differences in favor of Christian unity. Praise God that we have a pope who understands the importance of unity. "Now if the foot should say, 'Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body ...' "

  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Oct. 22, 2013 2:04 AM ET USA

    If the purpose of more dialogue is not to bring Lutherans into the One Holy Catholic Church, but instead to blur real differences so Lutherans can feel good, I want nothing to do with it.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Oct. 21, 2013 12:21 PM ET USA

    While there has been a lot of talk of this nature over the last 40 years or so, and plenty of "pastoral" work together with other churches, it really has all come to very, very little. The differences remain and, even with all the good will in the world, they cannot be ignored. I think that many, myself included, are tired of optimistic talk that hints it can somehow be otherwise.