Martin Luther was a “teacher of the faith”

Martin Luther was a “teacher of the faith.” In a new report Germany’s bishops say the 500th anniversary of the Reformation must involve repentance on both sides.

Germany’s Catholic bishops have praised Martin Luther as a “Gospel witness and teacher of the faith” and called for closer ties with Protestants.

In a 206-page report, “The Reformation in Ecumenical Perspective”, Bishop Gerhard Feige of Magdeburg, chairman of the German bishops’ ecumenical commission, made the following statement:

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 Germany’s Bonn-based 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.”

Martin Lazar, the Magdeburg diocesan spokesman, told Catholic News Service on Wednesday that the Reformation still caused tensions in Germany, especially “in religiously separated families.”

The bishops’ report said the “Catholic Church may recognise today what was important in the Reformation – namely, that Sacred Scripture is the centre and standard for all Christian life.

“Connected with this is Martin Luther’s fundamental insight that God’s self-revelation in Jesus Christ for the salvation of the people is proclaimed in the Gospel.”

 

News category: World.

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