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German bishops praise Luther as 'teacher of the faith'

August 12, 2016

The German Catholic bishops' conference has issued a report praising Martin Luther as a "teacher of the faith."

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The Reformation in Ecumenical Perspective, a document of over 200 pages, argues that the Protestant Reformation was too often seen by Catholics "in a negative, derogatory light." The report-- issued by Bishop Gerhard Feige of Magdeburg, the chairman of the German bishops' ecumenical commission-- praised Luther for his "concern for renewal in repentance and conversion."

The document went on to welcome closer ties between Catholics and Protestants, pointing especially to a joint Catholic-Lutheran statement issued in 1980 and a later 1999 statement on the question of justification. While doctrinal differences remain, the report says, they should "no longer have a Church-dividing effect."


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  • Posted by: MAG - Aug. 13, 2016 11:40 AM ET USA

    Germany is lost to the faith. It has been for some time. Like the United States it needs a re-introduction to the Faith. St. Boniface, pray for us.

  • Posted by: garedawg - Aug. 13, 2016 11:19 AM ET USA

    When will they decide that Calvin was a swell guy?

  • Posted by: - Aug. 13, 2016 9:21 AM ET USA

    probably before he nailed his protests to the church door but I would think otherwise.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Aug. 13, 2016 7:02 AM ET USA

    Any honest reading of the history must conclude that the Protestant "Reformation" was not a reformation as we saw countless times before 1517, but a REVOLUTION. Luther did it incorrectly. Yes, there was a lot of sin on both sides, and much arrogance, but remember that Luther thought his best work (of all his mediocre works) was the late work that denied human free will.

  • Posted by: Art Kelly - Aug. 13, 2016 12:58 AM ET USA

    The German bishops said differences between Catholics and Lutherans should “no longer have a church-dividing effect.” Really? I cannot think of many similarities between Catholicism and Lutheranism. Certainly not sacraments! Certainly not the primacy of the pope! It's nice that we have dialog, but that has not produced any agreement on important doctrines. Even on justification, there are major differences. Lutherans today do not believe in the Sacrament of Confession.

  • Posted by: Faustina01 - Aug. 13, 2016 12:00 AM ET USA

    Interesting...Luther was justly called a heretic hundreds of years ago, and just this week, complimented by German brethern for his ecumenical manner...what is in the German dtinking water?

  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - Aug. 12, 2016 11:48 PM ET USA

    Martin Luther may have started off Ok, but quickly degenerated into a pride filled creation of his own beliefs. As a result, he cut himself and all his followers from the Church. It is, of course, God's call re individual behavior but the call was absolutely correct. This is disguised bait to see if who has been given the absolute authority to judge will weigh in.

  • Posted by: mhains8491 - Aug. 12, 2016 6:58 PM ET USA

    Not surprising in the least. Many in the German hierarchy do not believe in Catholic moral Teachings, that was clear in the talks about communion for the divorced and remarried. Previously these dissenters had the courtesy of leaving the Church and becoming Protestants. Now they undermine from within.

  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Aug. 12, 2016 6:38 PM ET USA

    I am all for bringing faiths back together as long as truths are not compromised. Example: Caholics in the Filioque clause say the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. Orthodox, in their clause, say the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father. They don't add "and the Son," but why argue over what's not said? Both faiths agree on both clauses! Let's move on, for crying out loud.