Catholics and Lutherans, 500 years after the Reformation on the way towards unity
A joint statement highlights the steps taken this year, full of “remarkable ecumenical events”, noting “We recognize that while the past cannot be changed, its influence upon us today can be transformed to become a stimulus for growing communion, and a sign of hope for the world”.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Lutheran World Federation issued a joint statement today, 31 October 2017, the final day of the joint commemoration of the Reformation.
The statement acknowledges the step taken along the ecumenical path, highlighting the decision by the Anglican Communion to welcome and receive the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification signed by the Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church in 1999, which the World Communion of Reformed Churches signed in the past year.
The communiqué says “we are very thankful for the spiritual and theological gifts received through the Reformation, a commemoration that we have shared together and with our ecumenical partners globally. Likewise, we begged forgiveness for our failures and for the ways in which Christians have wounded the Body of the Lord and offended each other during the five hundred years since the beginning of the Reformation until today.
“On this day we look back on a year of remarkable ecumenical events, beginning on 31st October 2016 with the joint Lutheran - Catholic common prayer in Lund, Sweden, in the presence of our ecumenical partners. While leading that service, Pope Francis and Bishop Munib A. Younan, then President of the Lutheran World Federation, signed a joint statement with the commitment to continue the ecumenical journey together towards the unity that Christ prayed for (cf. John 17:21). On the same day, our joint service to those in need of our help and solidarity has also been strengthened by a letter of intent between Caritas Internationalis and the Lutheran World Federation World Service.”
“Among the blessings of this year of Commemoration is the fact that for the first time Lutherans and Catholics have seen the Reformation from an ecumenical perspective. This has allowed new insight into the events of the sixteenth century which led to our separation. We recognize that while the past cannot be changed, its influence upon us today can be transformed to become a stimulus for growing communion, and a sign of hope for the world to overcome division and fragmentation. Again, it has become clear that what we have in common is far more than that which still divides us.”