Catholic-Lutheran commemorations of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation must recognise the harm caused by the split in Western Christianity, said a new document, reports the Catholic News Service.
"From Conflict to Communion," a document released on Monday by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Geneva-based Lutheran World Federation, outlined ideas for joint commemorations in 2017 of the publication of Martin Luther's "95 Theses," usually recognised as the beginning of the Reformation.
It also addressed the polemics that exacerbated differences and the progress made through 50 years of ecumenical dialogue
The 99-page document, written by the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity, looks at the central points of Luther's call for the reform of the church, the points addressed later by the Council of Trent and, especially, the Second Vatican Council and issues that still divide Catholics and Lutherans.
"Luther had no intention of establishing a new church but was part of a broad and many-faceted desire for reform," the document said. "In 2017, when Lutheran Christians celebrate the anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation, they are not thereby celebrating the division of the Western church. No one who is theologically responsible can celebrate the division of Christians from one another."
Luther's "95 Theses," or "Disputation on the Efficacy and Power of Indulgences," was originally an appendix to a letter to the local archbishop expressing concern about preaching and indulgences. In the document, Luther raised particular questions on preaching that urged Catholics to contribute money to church projects in exchange for indulgences.
FULL STORY Catholics and Lutherans celebrate 500th anniversary of Reformation (CNS)