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Lutheran leaders emphasize ‘quest for unity’ with Catholic Church

February 09, 2016

The leaders of the Lutheran World Federation have issued a statement welcoming Pope Francis’s upcoming trip to Sweden to commemorate the anniversary of the Reformation.

“It is historic that Catholics and Lutherans are commemorating the anniversary of the Reformation together in October 2016,” Martin Junge, the federation’s general secretary, said in a statement published on February 4. “In Lund we come together to give thanks for the gifts of the Reformation and our 50 years of dialogue together, repent for the human suffering and disunity of the church that followed the Reformation, and commit to joint witness in the world.”

He added:

We are committed to take a step towards unity. We are seeking openness and encouragement to overcome the differences in practice and doctrine that still remain and move forward with the conviction that they can be overcome …

When we speak of unity we also speak of reconciliation, of being convinced that it is possible to overcome fragmentation and that we can and will learn from each other. We believe it is possible to heal memories and we need to do so in order for us to jointly serve our wounded and fragmented world.

“We know very well that Lutheran churches around the world are at different stages when it comes to how they live and experience their relationship with the Catholic Church and the same applies for Catholic churches on the ground,” said Bishop Munib Younan, the federation’s president. “Yet, knowing these realities, we want to emphasize the quest of our unity—leaving conflict behind and working towards communion.”


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  • Posted by: aclune9083 - Feb. 09, 2016 11:04 PM ET USA

    Why would the Pope want to "commemorate" the revolution that foisted the greatest heresy of all time on the Christian world? How will His Holiness reconcile the deaths of so many innocent people in the brutal political aftermath of this great tragedy? He needs to recognize the event and lead us all in acts of penance, reparation and prayers for forgiveness for tolerating this great apostasy. Maybe even a few revolutionaries would join in.

  • Posted by: Mike in Toronto - Feb. 09, 2016 8:18 PM ET USA

    I had been prepared to accept it as a commemoration, not a celebration, but a statement that touts "com[ing] together to give thanks for the gifts of the Reformation" certainly gives credence to the naysayers' views. The real "gift" of the protestant revolt was the Counter Reformation.

  • Posted by: Lucius49 - Feb. 09, 2016 11:04 AM ET USA

    It's not clear what exactly is being commemorated? The event itself? That event was catastrophic for Christendom. Why only the Reformation/Protestant revolt? What about 1054, the Great Schism? That is never commemorated because it is recognized as a wound to the Church.