Pope Fran­cis marks Luther an­niver­sary

Fiji Sun - - World News - Jy­otip@fi­jisun.com.fj

Some Catholics and Luther­ans, es­pe­cially those whose fam­i­lies are in­ter­min­gled, hoped that the event would pro­duce a con­crete step to­ward the two churches’ al­low­ing their mem­bers to take com­mu­nion in each other’s wor­ship ser­vices.

Lund: Al­most 500 years af­ter Martin Luther nailed his 95 the­sis to a church door, set­ting off more than a cen­tury of re­li­gious war­fare and for­ever chang­ing the prac­tice of Chris­tian­ity world­wide, Pope Fran­cis on Mon­day urged atone­ment and Chris­tian rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.

Vis­it­ing the cities of Lund and Malmo in south­ern Swe­den for a joint Catholic-Lutheran com­mem­o­ra­tion of the Re­for­ma­tion, the pope ob­served the 499th an­niver­sary of Luther’s protest of the sale of in­dul­gences by not­ing the ben­e­fi­cial im­pact it had on Catholi­cism. “With grat­i­tude we ac­knowl­edge that the Re­for­ma­tion helped give greater cen­tral­ity to sa­cred Scrip­ture in the church’s life,” the pope said in a joint dec­la­ra­tion at Lund Cathe­dral with Bishop Mu­nib A. Younan, the head of the Evan­gel­i­cal Lutheran Church in Jor­dan and the Holy Land and the pres­i­dent of the Lutheran World Fed­er­a­tion. The trip, which kicked off a year of events lead­ing up to the 500th an­niver­sary of the Re­for­ma­tion, was an­nounced in Jan­uary, but it was no less strik­ing for those who lis­tened to the pope. Swe­den played a piv­otal and trou­bling role in Protes­tant and Catholic his­tory. From the 16th cen­tury, Catholics were per­se­cuted and even put to death in Swe­den.

As re­cently as 1951, Catholics were barred from be­com­ing doc­tors, teach­ers and nurses, and Catholic con­vents were banned un­til the 1970s. Some Catholics and Luther­ans, es­pe­cially those whose fam­i­lies are in­ter­min­gled, hoped that the event would pro­duce a con­crete step to­ward the two churches’ al­low­ing their mem­bers to take com­mu­nion in each other’s wor­ship ser­vices.

In their joint dec­la­ra­tion, Pope Fran­cis and Bishop Younan ac­knowl­edged the di­vide, but said only that they were work­ing to­ward a res­o­lu­tion through di­a­logue. New York Times

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