Is the pope planning visit to cradle of Protestantism?

July 11, 2008

Is Pope Benedict planning a visit to a cradle of Protestantism? Should a Catholic pontiff tour the medieval castle where Martin Luther translated the Bible into German at the start of the Reformation? It’s far too early to get confirmations or denials from the Vatican or the German government, since the visit — still only in the rumor stage — is not due until the spring of 2009. But a local newspaper in the eastern state of Thuringia, where the Wartburg is located, says security planning has already begun.

Thüringer Allgemeine logoAccording to the Erfurt daily Thüringer Allgemeine, an advance team from the German president’s office in Berlin has already met local police. Dieter Althaus, the state premier who invited Benedict to Thuringia during a visit in Rome in April, has also met mayors from towns in the area “to discuss the emergency case of a papal visit. Also in Eisenach, the words ‘pope’ and ‘Wartburg’ are mentioned together more frequently.” An earlier German press report about a possible trip mentioned that Benedict would visit Eichsfeld, a nearby island of Catholicism in an otherwise Lutheran region, so he would be in the neighborhood.

Apart from the security, a visit by any pope to the Wartburg would need careful preparation to ensure it helps rather than hurts Catholic-Protestant relations. If that pope is Joseph Ratzinger, the task becomes even more tricky. Pope Benedict has studied the writings of Martin Luther — he’s probably the only pontiff who ever has — and impressed Lutherans with his knowledge and appreciation of his fellow German theologian. At the same time, he has also been blunt in describing Protestant denominations as “not proper churches.” In fact, he doesn’t refer to them as churches at all, but “ecclesial communities.” Not surprisingly, Protestant leaders feel offended.

Do you think a papal visit to the Wartburg would help or hurt ecumenical relations?


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The Pope is from Germany. DUH! Is this a shock that he wants to visit his homeland? I’ve been to the Castle at Wartburg and loved it. However, the 200 steps up to the entrance may prove a challenge. The Catholic Church did reconcile with Martin Luther. It was about time. It’s about time that Benedict allow the ordination of women and men to the priesthood. Message to Lutherans: stand tall, no matter what the Pope calls you. What matters most is what God calls you.

Posted by Carroll | Report as abusive

From offering a “prayer of conversion” for the Jews, to
orating protestants don’t go to church(even though they
do), should make one tremble. Being offended says your
feelings are hurt. Does it bother you that the vatican
does not recognize you or your church or Jesus Christ? Nor, does the vatican recognize anyones’. Christianity
came from the Jews. Christ is a Jew. Only someone pro-
fessing to be god would ask God to step down.

The fear of the vatican is that they are afraid someone
will find out they have assumed their power while creat-
ing havoc world-wide. History reveals the United States
banned the Roman Catholic Church from it’s shores in the
1800’s. They are back, as you see, and they do not intend
on stopping because you are offended. Their ultimate goal
is to eliminate, yes, Christianity. A prayer of conver-
sion to the Jews is the last, of first, step. Then it’s
the U.S.’s turn to turn. Turn, convert, to what? Never.

Posted by al | Report as abusive