My Catholic Repentance on Reformation Sunday


Today is reformation Sunday, a day where protestants honor the reformation, and in particularly the story of Luther’s nailing of the 95 thesis to the door of the church in Wittenberg, where he was a teacher. On October 31, 1517 Martin Luther is purported to have nailed 95 thesis, all attacking the practice of indulgences in the Catholic Church, about which Luther wanted to debate. These were serious concerns about a problematic growth of corrupt practices related to an abusive understanding of the theology of purgatory within the Catholic Church. These 95 concerns were translated, and gave voice to many of the concerns of people throughout Germany. People took hold of Luther and soon he was at the center of a movement, which we know today af the reformation.

I grew up Lutheran, and Reformation Sunday was always a big deal, and even though I’m now a Catholic I still like to remember it. As a Catholic it offers me a good opportunity to repent. 

The reformation is one of the great tragedies in the Church, resulting in thousands of Christian sects and a scandal of disunity in the global Christian church that continues until today. I long to see the church united, but I know that until the Catholic Church can live out the Gospel message consistently, there is little hope that our separated brethren will  return to the fold…. and so I repent and ask others to do the same.

  • I repent of denying the love of Christ to other Christians because I didn’t agree with how they sought to love Christ
  • I repent of loving myself more then my neighbor
  • I repent of holding my own possessions too tightly, and not seeing them as blessings given so that I might bless
  • I repent of making excuses for the sex abuse scandal
  • I repent of putting political ideology above Gospel fidelity 
  • I repent of denying my cross daily
  • I repent of viewing others as simply means to my own fulfillment, rather then fulfilling my love for Christ by loving them with my means.
  • I repent for staying quiet when I needed to raise my voice, and raising my voice because I was afraid to stay quiet.
  • I repent of taking the seat of honor, putting myself first
  • I repent of exchanging the Pearl of Great price for the most menial comforts
  • I repent of betraying my Lord for much less then 30 pieces of silver
  • I repent of selectively living the Gospel
  • I repent of using Church teaching as a way to avoid the hard task of actually loving people
  • I repent of believing that I don’t need God’s grace
  • I repent of pretending I have all the answers
If I have ever hurt you through any of these things, or through some other failing on my part I ask your forgiveness, and pray that as God works in my life day by day that the brokenness that keeps the churches separated might find some small healing at work.
This is my heart’s cry this reformation Sunday
One final confession… I still love Martin Luther.
Luther is the writer and thinker who first introduced me to the radical grace of God, and for that I will be forever grateful. I hold out hope that I will meet him someday at the wedding supper of the lamb. Here are a few Luther related things that I love…
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