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Details announced for papal trip to Sweden

June 03, 2016

The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Lutheran World Federation have announced details of Pope Francis’s upcoming October 31 trip to Sweden 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 Catholic-Lutheran commemoration of 500 years of the Reformation is structured around the themes of thanksgiving, repentance and commitment to common witness,” according to the joint announcement. “The aim is to express the gifts of the Reformation and ask forgiveness for division perpetuated by Christians from the two traditions.”

“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, the pontifical council’s president.

A prayer service will take place in Lund Cathedral, which was consecrated as a Catholic cathedral in 1145 but is now a Lutheran church.

The Pope will then travel to Malmö, Sweden’s third-largest city, where a public event will be held in an arena.

In Malmö, “highlights of the joint work of LWF World Service and Caritas Internationalis will be featured, including care for refugees, peacebuilding, and advocacy for climate justice,” according to the joint announcement.

 
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  • Posted by: geoffreysmith1 - Jun. 03, 2016 6:29 PM ET USA

    Why is the Catholic Church participating in this Protestant junket in Sweden in October? What is the point of it? Another excuse to go globe-trotting by Pope Francis? What does he hope to achieve by it? Does he not realize that a great many Lutherans will regard it as a vindication of their theological position, and their entrenched position in heresy will be justified in their eyes?

  • Posted by: rjbennett1294 - Jun. 03, 2016 6:16 PM ET USA

    Now if only the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity would promote a little unity with faithful Catholics.