- Emerging truths
Elaborate preparations to mark the seventieth anniversary on Tuesday of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau highlight how Poland has begun to acknowledge its own anti-Semitic past and to recognise that it has a Jewish question, too
- Home News
- World News
- Parish Practice
- Letters Extra
- The living Spirit
- Van Rompuy: Britain would impoverish and isolate itself by stepping out of European Union
- Masses cancelled and Catholic schools closed in Niger as Muslim protestors torch churches
- 200 key Cafod supporters urge charity to rethink £3m cost-cutting drive that will cost 50 jobs
- Archbishop Tartaglia in Spanish hospital after suffering heart attack
A bitter clash between the Catholic Church and the Lutherans in Germany is threatening the planned joint celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.
The row revolves around the failure of the German Protestant Church (EKD) to mention the historic 1999 Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, in its “position paper” on the theological foundation of the Reformation, which was published in May. The 1999 declaration is seen as a milestone in Catholic-Lutheran relations, and the omission has seriously endangered ecumenical dialogue.
The omission was criticised by the former president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Walter Kasper, last month (see The Church in the World, 21 June).
Since then, feelings have been running high and on 10 July Bishop Heinz Josef Algermissen, deputy chairman of the German bishops’ conference’s ecumenical commission, publicly stated that he was “incensed and disappointed” by the position paper. Referring to the 2017 Reformation commemoration he added, “I really cannot actually see a reason for celebrating anything together any longer.”
For him the position paper was a “disinvitation” to the Catholic Church to the commemoration in favour of an invitation to “the whole of society and to the secularist state” to celebrate “the link between the Reformation and the modern history of freedom”.
After having given the Catholic Church “one slap in the face after the other recently, the cat has now been let out of the bag”, Bishop Algermissen said and added that after all the consensus documents of recent years, the position paper was “destructive”.
Bishop Gerhard Feige of Magdeburg, responsible for ecumenical affairs in the bishops’ conference, regretted that the Protestants had missed a great chance. “Mentioning the Joint Declaration, which was a major breakthrough, would have been a good contribution to the Reformation commemoration by underlining that what divided us, no longer divides us,” he said.