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Pope to travel to Sweden to commemorate Reformation’s anniversary

January 25, 2016

The Holy See Press Office has announced that Pope Francis will travel to Lund, Sweden, on October 31 to take part in a joint Lutheran-Catholic ceremony commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

Martin Luther made his 95 Theses public on October 31, 1517. The commemorative year begins a year earlier in Lund, the city where the Lutheran World Federation was founded.

“The LWF is approaching the Reformation anniversary in a spirit of ecumenical accountability,” says Martin Junge, the Lutheran World Federation’s general secretary. “I’m carried by the profound conviction that by working towards reconciliation between Lutherans and Catholics, we are working towards justice, peace and reconciliation in a world torn apart by conflict and violence.”

“By concentrating together on the centrality of the question of God and on a Christocentric approach, Lutherans and Catholics will have the possibility of an ecumenical commemoration of the Reformation, not simply in a pragmatic way, but in the deep sense of faith in the crucified and resurrected Christ,” said Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

“The ecumenical situation in our part of the world is unique and interesting,” added Bishop Anders Arborelius of Stockholm, a convert from Lutheranism to Catholicism who grew up in Lund. “I hope that this meeting will help us look to the future so that we can be witnesses of Jesus Christ and His Gospel in our secularized world.”

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  • Posted by: DanS - Jan. 26, 2016 12:41 PM ET USA

    The Pope "commemorating" the Reformation!?! Future headlines: "Pope thanks the Ottomans for taking good care of Constantinople all these years!" "Pope congratulates Moslems on 1,400 years of domination since the invasion of the Levant and Mediterranean Africa!" "Pope apologizes to Moslems for the Reconquista of Spain in 1492!"

  • Posted by: chady - Jan. 26, 2016 11:31 AM ET USA

    'I appeal to you, brothers, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, to make up the differences between you, and instead of disagreeing among yourselves, to be united again in belief and practice.' 1 Cor 1:10 and elsewhere 'Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother.'Mk 3:35 and 'Remember you were a slave in the land of Egypt' Deut 24:22 and consider also 'Who are you to give a verdict on your neighbour.' Jas 4:12. Take care what you say brothers and sisters.

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Jan. 25, 2016 9:33 PM ET USA

    Yes, celebrating the splitting apart of Christendom is really something to celebrate isn't it?

  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Jan. 25, 2016 9:15 PM ET USA

    Only one kind of "reconciliation" can last, and that is one based on Truth. There's no substitute for settling the conflicting truth claims made by the Catholic Church and by its Protestant contradicters. But this meeting may be yet another attempt to pretend that these differences in doctrine don't mean much. I'd prefer to see the Pope offer a funeral Mass for the unity of Western Christendom, killed 500 years ago by Luther and his allies.

  • Posted by: geoffreysmith1 - Jan. 25, 2016 7:46 PM ET USA

    An absolute disgrace. For the Pope to attend a ceremony that celebrates a disaster that resulted in the massacre of so many Catholics is nothing short of a blasphemous obscenity. The Reformation is something that all Christians should try to forget if we sincerely wish to bring about the reconciliation with our separated brethren. For the Bishop of Rome to give Luther such adulation is a sad reflection on the depths to which this papacy has sunk.