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Archbishop of Canterbury: remember ‘lasting damage’ from Reformation

January 20, 2017

The Archbishop of Canterbury, worldwide leader of the Anglican Communion, has encouraged a recognition that the Protestant Reformation did grave damage it wrought to the cause of Christian unity.

In a message also signed by Anglican Archbishop John Sentamu of York, commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Dr. Justin Welby said that the Reformation brought “great blessings,” but also great suffering. The Anglican leaders note that during the years of religous struffle, “many suffered persecution and even death at the hands of others claiming to know the same Lord.”

The split within Western Christianity, the statement observed, caused long-lasting damage “to the unity of the Church, in defiance of the clear command of Jesus Christ to unity in love.” The memory of the Reformation, the Anglican archbishops suggest, “should also lead us to repent of our part in perpetuating divisions.”

The Anglican leaders’ statement did not directly refer to the persecution of Catholics in England or the seizure of Catholic churches, monasteries, and convents by the Church of England.

 
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  • Posted by: ahaggard138528 - Jan. 24, 2017 1:09 AM ET USA

    The Archbishop of Canturbury can follow the lead of Bl. Cardinal John Henry Newman and convert to Catholicism if Christian disunity pains him so. This is the only end game possible, and the only way that protestants who lament the trajedy of Christian division can cease being hypocritcal. Lets all work to recover what true Christianity is (pre Luther, Calvin, Henry VIII et. al) and stop just agreeing to disagree with faux unity as we apathetically watch the body of Christ being further torn.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Jan. 22, 2017 11:33 PM ET USA

    One exceedingly great blessing ignited by the Reformation was the Counter-Reformation initiated by the Council of Trent and extending through the first half of the 17th century. The Counter-Reformation answered all the relevant questions raised by the Protestant reformers, and it did so with a firm reliance on Scripture and the Apostolic Tradition. Trent demonstrated that it is not enough merely to quote "proof texts" from Scripture; rather the entirety of Scripture must be consulted.

  • Posted by: Jim.K - Jan. 21, 2017 12:51 PM ET USA

    Perhaps we should put a statue of Cranmer in the Vatican next to the one of Luther. And maybe another one of Henry VIII. How long, oh Lord? How long?

  • Posted by: brenda22890 - Jan. 21, 2017 6:55 AM ET USA

    At least someone is acknowledging that the Reformation was not wonderful. Pope Francis, are you listening?

  • Posted by: [email protected] - Jan. 20, 2017 9:13 PM ET USA

    Yes indeed We now have thousands of Christian religions. What have we gained as so many preach exact opposite of the true faith or even the old Anglican Church. So what is Pope Francis celebrating? Again clarity is not there.

  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Jan. 20, 2017 6:54 PM ET USA

    Let this be a step toward reconciliation. Given Anglican ordination of women to the priesthood, union probably is not possible. And that's too bad, because it did not have to be.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Jan. 20, 2017 5:47 PM ET USA

    What a world we live in. It sounds as if the Pope likes Luther better than the Archbishop of Canterbury does.