Thursday, July 24, 2014


It seems the most progress we have made in ecumenism over the last 50 years is in the area of communion with tea and crumpets. Was this worth all the energy and the expense of workshops west of the Mississippi?

Here is a reality check from the Catholic Herald in Europe concerning the 500th Anniversary of Lutherism.  I suggest it would be more celebratory to celebrate Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre's version of reform by nailing the date of his ordination of SSPX bishops to the Catholic Cathedral in Switzerland.

From the Catholic Herald:

Protestants try to calm row ahead of Luther celebration

By  on Thursday, 24 July 2014

Cardinal Walter Kasper (CNS)
Cardinal Walter Kasper (CNS)
A fierce row between Catholics and Protestants in Germany is the result of a misunderstanding, a German theologian has claimed.
Lutheran leaders had invited the Catholic Church to join them in commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, when Martin Luther published his 95 theses.
Luther was opposed to the sale of indulgences, to the Bible not being in the vernacular and to the Church’s doctrinal position on justification through faith – all issues which have seen significant changes over the years.
In 1999 the Catholic and Lutheran Churches issued a joint declaration on the doctrine of justification which set out “a common understanding of our justification by God’s grace through faith in Christ”. The declaration was widely seen as important in establishing common doctrinal ground between the Churches.
But when the German Evangelical church (EKD) issued a position paper “Justification and Liberty” in May it did not explicitly mention of the declaration.
Cardinal Walter Kasper, former president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said: “I could hardly believe it. That really hurt me”.
He said the EKD should “not forget what we have already formulated together”.
Now the row has escalated. According to the Tablet, Bishop Heinz Josef Algermissen, deputy chairman of the German bishops’ conference’s ecumenical commission, said earlier this month that he was “incensed and disappointed” by the position paper.
“I really cannot actually see a reason for celebrating anything together any longer,” he said, calling the position paper “destructive”. Bishop Algermissen was quoted as saying that the Catholic Church had been given “one slap in the face after the other recently”, and that “the cat has now been let out of the bag”.
Professor Volker Leppin, a member of the group which drafted the EKD paper, told The Catholic Herald that “the EKD takes the protest of Cardinal Kasper very seriously” and that “we are willing to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with our Catholic sisters and brethren”. He said the position paper “expresses exactly this. It ends with the vision of a jubilee celebrated together with Catholics. And it starts with the statement that Protestants are able to find formulations of the doctrine of justification together with the Roman Catholic Church – an evident allusion to the joint declaration on justification of 1999.”
He continued: “The criticisms of Cardinal Kasper and Bishop Algermissen, regrettable as they are, are consequences of a misunderstanding of the text, and the EKD will do all the best to clarify these irritations. The clear will of the EKD is to celebrate the reformation jubilee in a peaceful, ecumenical context.”
On Monday the Bavarian EKD Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm said he was “saddened by the sharpness of the discussion.
“You rub your eyes and ask yourself: what is happening?” he wrote, adding that he hoped “the waves flatten again in this case” and that the 2017 event is celebrated ecumenically as a “great Christ festival … as Luther would have wished, in my opinion”.
This article first appeared in the print edition of The Catholic Herald (25/7/14)


rcg said...

Read the previous post. Think why we Trads are so reactionary. Now consider what those poor folks are enduring. Yes, it is worth it. But we need to be a refuge, not simply another brand.

qwikness said...

Why in the heck would we want to celebrate 500 years of the Reformation? Its a slap in the face to be invited to that.

Pater Ignotus said...

Worth considering: "From Conflict to Communion: Lutheran-Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017" A paper published jointly by the Lutheran World Federation and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

From an article in the NCRegister, 8/21/2013:

"Msgr. Stuart Swetland, vice president for Catholic identity at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md., also praised “From Conflict to Communion.”

“It’s an amazing document — perhaps 'amazing' is too sensational a term, but it’s a substantial document that deserves close study and reflection,” said Msgr. Swetland, who grew up in a Lutheran family and became a Catholic while studying as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford in England. “This idea that we are going to do a common commemoration of the Reformation is, I think, a huge step towards Christian unity.”

“I find the document to be both historically accurate in trying to explain what happened, but also very positive in the areas where we can move forward and very honest about the areas where we have a lot more work to do,” said Msgr. Swetland. “There is a sobriety to this document and a humility to this document, but there’s also a recognition of the progress we’ve made and a deepening understanding of the mysteries of faith over the years.”

Bernard Fischer said...

Ecumenism is needed because we need a united front against a common enemy. We can do that as Catholics and Lutherans and Orthodox and Evangelicals and Jews and Muslims. Exposure to authentic Catholicism may bring about conversion and I'd prefer that to corporate committee papers.

I think Cardinal Kaspar likes being in the news. It's the only thing that explains his actions in the last year.

JBS said...

Great question, Father McDonald! Well, the reality is that there are Lutherans converting to Catholicism, such as prominent pastor Ulf Ekman in Sweden. But since the Lutheran communions are now hundreds of years old, it may take more than a few decades to bring them all back home. At the same time, it seems that their membership is declining at an alarming rate, so that there may soon be no one left to come home.

Catholic Mission said...

July 23, 2014
Pope Francis appoints Fr.John Crossin as member to Pontifical Council for Christian Unity

Friday, July 25, 2014
Cristina Siccardi has not cited Vatican Council II itself in her criticism of Enzo Bianchi and the Monastery of Bose