2013-10-21 18:57:31

Catholics and Lutherans journey towards communion and common witness

(Vatican Radio) From division to dialogue. From conflict to communion and common witness. That journey of reconciliation was at the heart of a meeting that Pope Francis had on Monday with members of the World Lutheran Federation who came to present the work of a joint commission looking ahead to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.
During the encounter, the Pope said he believed it “is truly important for everyone to confront in dialogue the historical reality of the Reformation, its consequences and the responses it elicited.” Both sides, he said, “can ask forgiveness for the harm they have caused one another.”
Following that meeting, Philippa Hitchen sat down with the president of the World Lutheran Federation, Bishop Munib Younan to discuss progress in the ecumenical dialogue and hopes on the horizons for the upcoming anniversary of the Reformation….

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“We are always touched by the warmth and humility he shows to all of us – this is a spirit of love and ecumenism….
We visit him as the Lutheran World Federation, representing 142 churches in 79 countries, for two reasons: firstly the work of our Catholic-Lutheran Commission has come up with a document called From Conflict to Communion, that means conflict is a matter of the past, communion is a matter of the future and I think this is essential theologically also that we ‘re moving to see each other as a communion of churches…
Secondly, our meeting was to discuss preparations for the Reformation 500 that we’ll be commemorating in 2017 – how can we celebrate it together?
We want to have it in 3 ways: globally, because the Gospel is global today, it’s not only in Europe or the Middle East and that is something to rejoice in, the freshness of the Gospel..
Secondly, we have to rejoice also for the ecumenical work of the last 50 years that we’ve had with the Catholic and other churches. We thank the Lord that it is possible today to dialogue, bringing our differences but looking to our common witness…
And thirdly, each church needs reformation…there is no church that does not need the Holy Spirit to renew it, in order to be a living witness in our world….”

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