25 January 2016, The Tablet

Pope to celebrate service for Protestant Reformation in home of Lutheran communion

Leader of Catholic church to travel to Lund in Sweden in spirit of reconciliation

Pope Francis will join leaders of the Lutheran community in Lund in Sweden later this year for a joint commemoration of the start of the Reformation, the Vatican announced today.

The event in the city where the Lutheran World Federation was founded in 1947 will start a year of events to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

The one-day event will include a common worship service in Lund cathedral based on a Catholic-Lutheran Common Prayer liturgical guide, published earlier this month by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Lutheran World Federation.

The commemoration in Lund follows on directly from the publication in 2013 of a joint document entitled ‘From Conflict to Communion’, which focuses on the themes of thanksgiving, repentance and commitment to common witness.

While asking for forgiveness for the divisions of past centuries, it  also seeks to showcase the gifts of the Reformation and celebrate the way Catholics and Lutherans around the world work together on issues of common concern.

Cardinal Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity said: “By concentrating together on the centrality of the question of God and on a Christocentric approach, Lutherans and Catholics will have the possibility of an ecumenical commemoration of the Reformation, not simply in a pragmatic way, but in the deep sense of faith in the crucified and resurrected Christ.

“The Lutheran World Forum is approaching the Reformation anniversary in a spirit of ecumenical accountability,” says their general secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge. “I’m carried by the profound conviction that by working towards reconciliation between Lutherans and Catholics, we are working towards justice, peace and reconciliation in a world torn apart by conflict and violence.”

“The ecumenical situation in our part of the world is unique and interesting. I hope that this meeting will help us look to the future so that we can be witnesses of Jesus Christ and His gospel in our secularized world,” says Anders Arborelius OCD, Bishop of the Catholic Church in Sweden.

Pope Francis along with the Lutheran World Federation president and general secretary Bishop Dr Munib A. Younan and Rev. Dr Martin Junge will lead the commemoration with the Church of Sweden and the Catholic Diocese of Stockholm.



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