Pope ‘rehabilitated Luther’ during visit to eastern Germany

 — Oct. 8, 20118 oct. 2011

The head of the German Church’s Ecumenical Commission has said that he believes the Pope “rehabilitated” the reformer, Martin Luther, during his visit to the country last month, write Jonathan Luxmoore and Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.

Speaking on 23 September to the council of the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland, in the Augustinian convent in Erfurt where Luther lived in 1511 after being ordained a priest, the Pope said: “How do I receive the grace of God? The fact that this question was the driving force of [Luther’s] whole life never ceases to make a deep impression on me. For who is concerned about this today – even among Christians?”

Bishop Gerhard Müller appealed to Protestants to respond to the Pope’s words during this part of his visit by working more closely with Catholics. “It is undoubtedly a rehabilitation if the Pope, as head of the Catholic Church, recognises the theological, Christ-centred dimension of Luther’s theology – and a reminder at the same time to Lutherans and all Christians that we take this seriously,” he told the Christ und Welt supplement of Germany’s Die Zeit weekly.

“Luther sought the Church’s unity and renewal in Jesus Christ. He didn’t seek a Church which would carry his name and certainly didn’t want his movement to break up into various church communities,” he added.

In his address, attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Christian Wulff, the Pope praised Luther for the “deep passion and driving force” of his beliefs, and said Christians had erred during the Reformation in “only seeing what divided us”.

Meanwhile the chairman of the German Protestant Churches, Nikolaus Schneider, has said that while he could understand that those Protestants who only attended the Erfurt ecumenical service that followed the meeting with representatives of the Evangelische Kirche were disappointed by the Pope’s failure to mention Martin Luther at that service, at the earlier meeting Pope Benedict had given “very positive signals” and had been “exceedingly friendly and forthcoming”. The chairman said he hoped that “within a few weeks” it would become clear whether “something further can grow from the Erfurt encounter”.

Posted: Oct. 8, 2011 • Permanent link: ecumenism.net/?p=6746
Categories: TabletIn this article: Benedict XVI, Catholic, ecumenism, Lutheran, Martin Luther
Transmis : 8 oct. 2011 • Lien permanente : ecumenism.net/?p=6746
Catégorie : TabletDans cet article : Benedict XVI, Catholic, ecumenism, Lutheran, Martin Luther

  Previous post: Ancien article : Prairie Centre for Ecumenism’s grant grows
  Newer post: Article récent : Church Ministries That Are Transforming Anglican-Lutheran Relations