Lefty World Council of Churches Praises Pope Francis in Magazine Article

Paus Franciscus in Lund © SIR

Speaking in Lund cathedral in Sweden on 31 October 2016 at the first joint Catholic–Lutheran commemoration of the Reformation at the global level, Pope Francis praised both the Reformation and Martin Luther. The Reformation, said the pope, “helped give greater centrality to sacred Scripture in the Church's life,” while the spiritual experience of Martin Luther “challenges us to remember that apart from God we can do nothing.Pope Francis also referred to the doctrine of justification, one of the main doctrinal dividing issues in the 16th century. “With the concept ‘by grace alone,’” Luther, said the Pope, “reminds us that God always takes the initiative, prior to any human response. The doctrine of justification thus expresses the essence of human existence before God.”
The presence by Pope Francis at the Reformation commemoration in Lund is but one of a number of ecumenical gestures since his election in 2013, as Martin Bräuer of the Institute for Ecumenical Research in Bensheim, Germany, sets out in the article that opens this issue. Behind these various gestures, Bräuer discerns the concept of “unity in reconciled diversity” and a model of unity in which the identity of the various churches is preserved without obscuring the identity of the whole.
Nevertheless, the fact that Catholics and Lutherans could together commemorate the Reformation anniversary is, as importantly, the result of the 50-year dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), in which a key milestone was the signing in 1999 of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. Through their dialogue, the two partners were able, as the Rev. Martin Junge, the LWF general secretary, stated in his sermon in Lund, to see each other anew and acknowledge “that there is much more that unites us than that which separates us.”
They were also able to look together at their shared and often painful past. In a joint statement signed in Lund cathedral, Pope Francis and Bishop Munib Younan, the LWF president, gave thanks for the spiritual gifts received through the Reformation. They also acknowledged, however, that Catholics and Lutherans have wounded the visible unity of the church. (???) “While the past cannot be changed,” they said in the joint statement, “what is remembered and how it is remembered can be transformed.” (...)
(---) Google translate:

The Ecumenical Review, an ecumenical quarterly magazine published on behalf of the World Council of Churches (WCC), this month brings extensive tribute to paus Franciscus, on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of his election. The article draws attention in particular to the prophetic leadership of Francis in the rapprochement with the other Christian Churches.

The author mainly discussed the presence of paus Franciscus at the opening of the celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation in the Swedish city of Lund and the speeches and documents that appeared in the wake of it with his blessing. For the real mutual recognition of the Christian Churches and their reconciliation there is a need for a utopian way of thinking, who knows how to overcome the obstacles on the path of ecumenical rapprochement.
The Ecumenical Review also looks back at the meeting of the Central Committee in Trondheim and brings an interview with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his election.

Source: World Council of Churches

Published on Sunday, March 26th 2017 - 10:20