Why the Pope likes Luther

At the joint Catholic/Lutheran service in Sweden, commemorating Reformation Day, Pope Francis was said to have “issued some of the most positive language ever used by a pope to describe Martin Luther and his beliefs.”

The Pope said that the doctrine of justification “expresses the essence of human existence before God.”  The Reformation “helped give greater centrality to sacred scripture in the Church’s life.”  And in his teaching that salvation is “by grace alone, ” Luther “reminds us that God always takes the initiative, prior to any human response, even as he seeks to awaken that response.”

The Pope also signed a commitment with the head of the Lutheran World Federation to work towards full intercommunion between the two theological traditions.

After the jump, a news story about the developments from a Catholic publication.  For the full text of the Pope’s remarks, go here.  For the Communion agreement, go here.  See also my thoughts on the matter.

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Pope praises Luther

Pope Francis is set to celebrate Reformation Day in a joint service with Swedish Lutherans.  A story from NPR quotes him praising Luther.

It’s appropriate for Catholics to celebrate Reformation Day!  As Pope Francis says, the church had become extremely corrupt.  Without the Reformation, there would be no Counter-Reformation, which is where much of today’s Catholicism and Catholic lay piety comes from (the Rosary, frequent Communion by the laity, Catholic schools, the Jesuits, etc.). [Read more…]

Pope plans to canonize priest killed by terrorists

Pope Francis says that he wants to make Father Jacques Hamel, the French priest killed by Islamic terrorists as he was celebrating mass, a saint.  The usual miracles are not necessary, it turns out, because Father Hamel was martyred for his faith.  The pope also said that the persecution of Christians is satanic. [Read more…]

Commemorating or undoing the Reformation?

On Reformation Day, October 31, the Pope will commemorate the Reformation in a common service with Lutherans in Sweden.

Michael Root, in The Christian Century, discusses the event, sponsored by the Lutheran World Federation, and gets into the difficulties it and related events scheduled for the 500th Anniversary of the 95 Theses have been posing for Catholics.  Nothing is said about the difficulties they might pose for Lutherans.

But such unionistic services raise the question:  Is the intention to celebrate (what Protestants are saying), commemorate (what Catholics are saying) or undo the Reformation (what would seem to be the ecumenical agenda)? [Read more…]

Pope connects gender ideology to economic exploitation

Pope Francis connected the new gender ideology, according to which children can choose their own gender, to economic exploitation, colonialism, and the destruction of the environment.  What they have in common is the rejection of Creation, both of nature and of human beings made in God’s image. [Read more…]

Pope gives Mary Magdalene same status as Apostles in church year

Pope Francis has elevated Mary Magdalene’s saint’s day to a “major feast,” putting her on the same level liturgically as Christ’s apostles.  The pope wants Christians to consider Mary, who first told the apostles about Christ’s resurrection, as “a paradigm of the ministry of women in the church.”

Should non-Catholic Christians follow this promotion and make a big deal of Mary Magdalene’s Day on July 22? [Read more…]