Germany Catholics wary about major Luther festivities

German Protestants are planning jubilee celebrations in 2017 to mark the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s launching of the Reformation, a major event in the history of Christianity, of Europe and of the German nation, language and culture.

The Protestants have invited the Catholics to join in, a gesture in harmony with the good relations the two halves of German Christianity enjoy and the closeness many believers feel across the denominational divide.

But even after five centuries, being asked to commemorate a divorce that split western Christianity and led to many bloody religious wars is still hard for some Catholics to swallow.

reuters.com/article/2012/10/31/us-germany-religion-luther-idUSBRE89U14W20121031

Bishop Gerhard Feige, who is responsible for relations with Protestants, has issued a statement in which he said that the participation of the Catholic Church will depend upon what exactly is planned.

“Catholic Christians consider the division of the western Church as a tragedy and - at least until now - do not think they can celebrate this merrily.”

How could Catholics celebrate this, it would be impossible. :tsktsk:

It depends on what is planned? It’s a feast day commemorating the Reformation. How does what is planned change that?

Under no circumstances should Catholics celebrate anything of the sort. Martin Luther tore apart the Christ’s Church and started the fractioning of it that will never be healed until the second coming.

Here is Bishop Feige’s public statement regarding the commemoration of Luther’s break with the Church. The answer to your question may be in that statement.

bistum-magdeburg.de/upload/2012/121031_thesen-zur-oekumene.pdf

Unfortunately, it is written in German. Its a lengthy document, but if anyone here can read German perhaps they can offer a summary?

Whoah! No need to be quite that bleak. There isn’t a dogmatic statement that ecclesial communities will never come back to full communion with Christ’s church. In fact, the Church still stands and has always stood since God instituted it and appointed Peter. Some have wandered and some have been raised with error, but all are welcome back.

Agree 110%. I don’t care what is being planned (unless they are planning to announce that Luther was wrong). Attending this sends the wrong message. We want others to return to the Church, but celebrating when Luther disobediently broke away isn’t the way to do that.

Simple - two words - It’s Germany.

Look at the news regarding the German Catholic Bishops and all the little variants from Christianity, let alone Catholicism, they propound. The German Bishops could get a ship up on the rocks faster than any Italian captain that ever lived, and think they did a swell job in doing it.

If we could toggle up to 2017 and then back to this post, I’d bet 10 bucks we’d find happy joint ecumenical festivals celebrating Reformation Day in Wittenburg with Catholic Bishops speaking glowingly of Fr. Marty L. Kind of a form of penance, self abuse and mortification for all those past nasty statements about the Church being the repository of all revealed truth, the excommunication of Fr. Marty L. etc. they can’t help it.

I would make sense to celebrate if the Lutheran and Catholic Churches reunited on that day. :wink:

From what I have read in the first section, he mentions how the Reformation is an important event for Protestants. He also says it is an important event for the Catholic Church as well and so Catholics can play a part in the festivities. But, he says, it depends on what the characteristics of these festivities are.Catholics can and should learn from the Reformation and its effects. Catholics should see the Reformation as something tragic and cannot celebrate it as a joyful event. Official representatives of the Catholic Church will not consider 31 October as the “Jubilee of the Reformation”, but rather as a “Remembrance Day of the Reformation.”

John Paul II had prayer services with leaders from different religions.

Since the Reformation is a part of Catholic history, they should play a part in the festivities, instead of sweeping it under the carpet.

Exactly what should Catholics learn from the Reformation?
And exactly why do official representatives of the RCC need a Remembrance Day of the Reformation?

There is lots that Catholics have learned and lots more to learn. For example, the Council of Trent and the Catholic Reformation (or Counter Reformation if you will). Besides, many (not all) of the things Luther was protesting were legitimate and many Catholics today would agree with him.

Why not remember that day? It was a major event in the Church’s history.

This like being asked to celebrate an anniversary for Judas Iscariot.

Sorry, didn’t mean it in a dogmatic certainty sense. Just my personal opinion. Certainly individuals or whole communities will return to the Church, and do all the time, but I think in the broad sense of the existence of Protestantism, that has gone too far to be fixed without Christ Himself coming to fix it.

Heh. Well, Catholics have a lot to learn from Judas, so why not? :wink:

Since the Catholic Church ultimately adopted quite a few of Luther’s reforms, it would make sense that the Catholic Church would want to participate. Germans (both Protestant or Catholic) see this as part of their broader heritage of leading the world into reform during the Renaissance–sort of their answer to the Italians.

I disagree. Luther ripped the body of Christ (the Church) apart. There is absolutely nothing to celebrate about that.

Yes, and we need to thank Luther. The Church had gotten complacent over the years, and it took something as drastic as the Reformation to re-awaken the Church. It did so very well via the Counter-Reformation, and got stronger in faith by it, but by then the gate had been opened to many varieties of Protestantism. Nothing like hindsight to see where you’ve gone wrong before you correct yourself. :frowning:

Hardly. He got the Church to wake up to its failings, and we can be thankful for that.

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