Pope to have joint service with Lutherans on Reformation Day

Pope Francis will join with the Lutheran World Federation in a joint worship service in Lund, Sweden, on October 31, 2016, to celebrate Reformation Day.

To underscore, once again, conservative Lutheran bodies do not approve of joint services with those of other confessions.  Neither do conservative Catholics.  So we do have that in common, along with closed Communion, male-only ordination, pro-life convictions, traditional morality, and belief in the historic creeds.  The LWF has gone wobbly on all of those issues, so I’m curious what unity the Pope hopes to find.  I guess “justice, peace, and reconciliation” is more important than theology for all liberals and that the current pontiff is in that camp.

But setting that aside for now, some Protestants have wondered if they should celebrate Reformation Day.  If the Pope celebrates it, they should too! [Read more…]

A common liturgy for Catholics & Lutherans on Reformation Day

Catholics and LWF Lutherans have released a common liturgy to be used for joint services, with both a Catholic and a Lutheran celebrant, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 1517.  (Both conservative Lutherans and conservative Catholics will find unity in the response of being appalled.) [Read more…]

More on the Pope’s openness to communion with Lutherans

As we blogged about, Pope Francis recently visited a Lutheran church in Rome, where, in answer to a question, he expressed openness to allowing Roman Catholics and Lutherans to commune together.  An article on the subject and an interview with the pastor of the Roman Lutheran congregation have been published in the National Catholic Register.  The interview is excerpted here after the jump.

We conservative Lutherans agree with conservative Catholics in being opposed to any kind of intercommunion between the churches.  We both agree that communion requires full doctrinal agreement.  The pastor here is of the Lutheran World Fellowship/ELCA variety, which believes otherwise and that ecumenical unity trumps just about every other consideration.

But I found two things interesting in this discussion.  First, the interviewer does not have a clue about what Lutherans believe about Holy Communion.  He uses “the Real Presence” to describe the Catholic view, assuming that Lutherans don’t believe in that, even though the term is a Lutheran concept!

More significantly, though, the Pope is acknowledging that Lutherans have the true Body and Blood of Christ in the Lord’s Supper, that the Lutheran sacrament is valid.  I don’t know that a pope has ever acknowledged that before.  And if the Sacrament is valid, that means the Lutheran pastoral office is valid, which, as the pastor says, has long been a key issue. [Read more…]

Indulgences for the Jubilee Year

Nearly 500 years after the 95 Theses, Roman Catholics still believe in indulgences that will free you or someone else from the punishments of Purgatory.  A big one is offered in this Jubilee Year of Mercy, as initiated by the Pope when he opened the Holy Door in St. Peter’s basilica last Tuesday.

If you go through this door or one of other designated doors in churches throughout the world and fulfilled some other conditions (not paying money–the Counter Reformation accepted Luther’s arguments about that), you will be given a plenary indulgence that will give you complete remission of punishment for your sins up to that point.  You may receive one plenary indulgence per day for subsequent sins or to release others from Purgatory.  (But I thought souls want to be purged from their sins in Purgatory, according to modern Catholic and even some evangelical apologists for the doctrine!  And if you can pay for others’ sins, why can’t Christ pay for all?)

Anyway, see how the plenary indulgence works, from a Catholic website, after the jump. [Read more…]

Pope says to preach Gospel, then Law

The Pope began his Jubilee Year of Mercy by ceremonially opening the Holy Door at St. Peter’s basilica.  (More on that and the indulgences going through a door like that will get you in a later post.)  In the accompanying address, Pope Francis reversed what Lutherans say about preaching the Law (to awaken hearers to their sinful condition), then the Gospel (the message of free salvation won by Christ on the Cross).  He said to first preach God’s mercy and THEN preach God’s judgement. [Read more…]

“Conscience,” “calling,” and the new pastoral counseling

More from Terry Mattingly’s column about the new Protestant-like role of “conscience” in liberal Catholicism:   He quotes Blase Cupich, the Archbishop of Chicago, on how he counsels the divorced and remarried, gays, and others in what the Church officially considers to be a sinful lifestyle. [Read more…]


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