Rorate Caeli

Celebrating 500 years of the Lutheran Heresy, Italian Catholic Churchmen and Lutherans sign agreement towards fake unity

NOTE: Dear Readers, in all my years of translating religious documents for Rorate Caeli, I have never translated one so devoid of any real content, so forgive me if it’s not a “good” read -- superficiality is not easy to translate. F.R.

To be reconciled in order to proclaim the Gospel
Declaration of the Italian Episcopal Conference and the Italian Lutheran Evangelical Church for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation [sic, Revolt]
“Rather than past conflicts, the divine gift of unity among us will guide collaboration and deepen our solidarity. Closely united in our faith in Christ, praying together, listening to one another, experiencing the love of Christ in our relationships, we, Catholics and Lutherans, are open to the power of the One Triune God. Rooted in Christ and rendering witness to Him, we renew our determination to be faithful heralds of the infinite love of God for all of mankind” (Joint Declaration on occasion of the Catholic-Lutheran  Commemoration of the Reformation, Lund, October 31, 2016).  These words have guided the path of reconciliation and sharing which has involved Catholics and Lutherans in many places throughout this year,  [so as]to experience  a mutual commemoration of the 500th anniversary of  the commencement of the Reformation, along the lines indicated in the document: From Conflict to Communion of the Lutheran-Catholic Commission for Unity.
There have been numerous initiatives in Italy, at various levels, in which Christians have taken part in commemorating the Reformation of the XVI century, in a spirit which, even if it cannot be considered a novelty in the light of steps made over the past few decades, it has surely opened up a new season on the path to constructing a visible unity of the Church through which the scandal of divisions can be brought to an end.
Precisely in the light of these initiatives, Catholics and Lutherans  hope that it is possible to carry on with the in-depth study of the figure and works of Martin Luther in order to have a better understanding of the spiritual, theological and liturgical  riches of the XVI century for a reform of the Church rooted in Holy Scriptures and enriched by the tradition of the ecumenical councils, capable of removing those prejudices which still impede a shared reading of the historical events of the Reformation in all its articulations.
In the joint reading of Holy Scriptures, which has constituted a fundamental passage for years in the day to day discovery of what unites Christians, Catholics and Lutherans ask for new sources [in which] to develop the ecumenical path, also, thanks to a renewed rapport with the Jewish people, beginning specifically with [our]common biblical roots.  Reading Holy Scripture together, illuminates the experience of faith by way of ecumenical paths of listening and commenting on the Word of God so as to share exegetic traditions and doctrinal formulations, entrusting the times and ways of achieving visible unity in the Church to the Lord.
Catholics and Lutherans retain that these paths should be sustained and encouraged with a view to favouring a reconsideration of catechesis in ecumenical terms, above all in relation to the celebration of Baptism and Matrimony and,  and more in general, to the ecumenical liturgies of reconciliation with a view to aiding and experiencing these moments of local community life as an occasion to reaffirm for Catholics and Lutherans that ecumenism constitutes an irreversible choice, everyday […] capable of aiding in an improved understanding of their own identities, rendering the mission of the Church richer and more forceful.  Catholics and Lutherans want to render their commitment even more dynamic in the safeguarding of creation by proposing a model of economic development not only interested in the logic of profit, which causes uncertainties for Italian society, but which can help and overcome inequalities in the interests of the symphonic harmony of gifts in men and women of good will.
For Catholics and Lutherans, the characteristics of the ecumenical path must bring about the increase in occasions for the welcoming and assisting of the marginalized in the world, in particular to those who arrive in Italy fleeing from the fears of today in search of the hopes for tomorrow; faced with [this] poverty, marginalization  and solitude, Catholics and Lutherans are called to renew the commitment of building together, confiding in the fraternal participation of all Christians and seeking collaboration with believers of all faiths; a culture of welcome, based on the love of God, Father Son and Holy Spirit, which can reach every man and every woman, above and beyond religious affinities and geographic origins.
Strengthening friendship and fraternity, at the foot of the Cross,  must then contribute in favouring a reconciliation of memories capable of sustaining Catholics and Lutherans in the proclamation and bearing witness to the Word of God in modern society, so as to promote an increasingly evangelical reform of everyday life in local communities.
+ Ambrogio Spreafico, President of the Episcopal Commission for Ecumenism and Interreligious  Dialogue of the Italian Episcopal Conference.
 Pastor Heiner Bludau, Dean of the Lutheran Evangelical Church in Italy
 Rome, October 31, 2017 , in the fifth centenary since the start of Martin Luther’s Reformation.
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