A national commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation on Tuesday has been described as an “ecumenical camino” by Canberra-Goulburn Archbishop Christopher Prowse, The Southern Cross reports.
Hundreds of Catholics and Lutherans took part in the day-long program of events in Adelaide marking the posting of Martin Luther’s 95 theses in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517.
Archbishop Prowse, who is chairman of the Bishops Commission for Ecumenism and Inter-religious Relations, said the commemoration of the Lutheran Reformation was historic at a national and international level.
“It was wonderfully planned and beautifully brought together – I would describe it as an ecumenical camino,” Archbishop Prowse told The Southern Cross after he and Bishop John Henderson of the Lutheran Church of Australia signed a declaration of unity between the two churches.
“It’s been a journey not just today but also in terms of the future and the gratitude we have for all that has taken place to get to this point.
“There is a deep sense of repentance and regret for the terrible ways we have treated each other in the past.”
Referring to the impact of Vatican II and the Joint Declaration on Justification in 1999, Archbishop Prowse said it was as if an “impulse of the Holy Spirit” had taken over in the past five decades and a great deal had been achieved in a relatively short time.
In a presentation on the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue prior to the signing of the declaration, Rev Dr Dean Zweck, Emeritus co-chair of the Dialogue, echoed the bishop’s sentiments.
“Fifty 50 years ago, who would have thought Lutherans and Catholics would sit together in St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation,” he said.
“Surely this is the work of Jesus Christ in our midst.”
Dr Gerard Kelly, president of the Catholic Institute of Sydney, said while there was “no timeframe” for the two churches coming together in full fellowship, the important thing was that “we take steps”.
“I don’t quite know what it (full fellowship) would be like, there are all sorts of different views and we need to talk about that in our dialogue,” he said.
Lutherans and Catholics on ecumenical camino: Bishop Prowse (The Southern Cross)