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Catholics share blame for Reformation, says top Vatican ecumenical official

June 02, 2017

The president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity told a conference at the Catholic University of America that Catholic Church leaders bear part of the blame for the Reformation.

Speaking at a symposium marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Cardinal Kurt Koch said that if Catholic bishops had responded to Martin Luther’s calls for reform, Luther’s movement might not have split the Church.

Cardinal Koch argued that in his early campaign for reform, Luther made reasonable calls for reform. Only later did Luther attack the fundamental structure and authority of the Church. In that sense, the cardinal said, it is inaccurate to say that Luther’s posting of his famous theses marks the starting date of the Reformation. At that point, Cardinal Koch said, reforms may have kept the Church intact. So he concluded: “For the fact that the original reform of the Church became a Church-dividing reformation, the Catholic Church of the time must bear its share of the blame.”


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  • Posted by: mwean7331 - Jun. 09, 2017 12:26 AM ET USA

    The Cardinal is correct to a point. The Church hierarchy at the time was seeing corrupt practices ( unfortunately the Church is overseen by humans)Luther was a "voice crying in the wilderness" BUT he showed arrogance and lack of humility and did more damage to the Church of Our Lord by splitting it. (play the game my way or I'll take my ball home_. Pride is the greatest sin of all Seems we are in danger of this happening in our time.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 03, 2017 2:26 PM ET USA

    I don't agree with this cardinal.

  • Posted by: feedback - Jun. 03, 2017 8:55 AM ET USA

    If "Luther made reasonable calls for reform," maybe Cardinal Burke and others asked reasonable questions about Amoris Laetitia?

  • Posted by: robertbovenzijr5369 - Jun. 03, 2017 4:46 AM ET USA

    Since the Catholic church is responsible for all of its' history before God and humanity, I think (respectfully pace the Cardinal) that therefore, the Church of today has "inheirited that responsibility.

  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - Jun. 03, 2017 12:30 AM ET USA

    OK so what about SSPX?