Germany’s Catholic bishops have praised Martin Luther as a “Gospel witness and teacher of the faith”.
In a 206-page report, “The Reformation in Ecumenical Perspective”, Bishop Gerhard Feige of Magdeburg, chairman of the bishops’ ecumenical commission, said “the history of the Reformation has encountered a changeable reception in the Catholic Church, where its events and protagonists were long seen in a negative, derogatory light.
“While the wounds are still felt to the present day, it is gratifying that Catholic theology has succeeded, in the meantime, in soberly reconsidering the events of the 16th century,” he said in the report, published this week by the bishops’ conference.
Bishop Feige said the “history and consequences” of the Reformation would be debated during its upcoming 500th anniversary, but added that there was consensus that previous mutual condemnations were invalid.
“Memories of the Reformation and the subsequent separation of Western Christianity are not free from pain,” Bishop Feige said. “But through lengthy ecumenical dialogue, the theological differences rooted in the period have been re-evaluated – as is documented in the work presented by our ecumenical commission.”
Earlier this year, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, said that the Reformation was nothing to celebrate.
In a book-length interview he said: “We Catholics have no reason to celebrate October 31, 1517, the date that is considered the beginning of the Reformation that would lead to the rupture of Western Christianity.”
Christians join peace walk in response to Black Mass
Over a thousand Christians from all denominations gathered for a peace walk and prayer rally in response to a Black Mass in Oklahoma City on Monday evening, timed to coincide with the Feast of the Assumption.
According the the local news service NewsOK, hundreds of Catholics met together for a mass service on the lawn outside the civic centre before the Satanic service took place at the theatre inside the centre.
The Black Mass, in which a statue of the Virgin Mary was desecrated, was lead by Adam Daniels who holds an annual public ceremony in the city each year.
Before the Black Mass took place, Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma told Catholic News Agency: “I am encouraging the faithful and people of good will to pray together for healing and peace, and for the Lord to watch over our
community and protect us from evil and its many destructive and violent manifestations.”
Meanwhile Cardinal Raymond Burke released a statement urging Catholics to pray the Rosary in reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Charity sets up Fr Hamel fund
The Italian arm of Aid to the Church in Need is launching a campaign to support the training of 1,000 priests after the murder of Fr Jacques Hamel.
The charity, which supports persecuted Christians, will fund studies for future priests in 21 countries including Nigeria, Cuba, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and India. Alessandro Monteduro, director of ACN in Italy, said he hoped it would help priests “promote dialogue and contribute to peaceful coexistence”.