Catholics and Lutherans will jointly mark Reformation’s 500th anniversary in 2017

June 17, 2013

(Martin Luther. Wood engraving from 1548 by Lukas Cranach)

Senior Roman Catholic and Lutheran officials announced on Monday they would mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017 as a shared event rather than highlight the clash that split Western Christianity.

The Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) presented a report in Geneva admitting both were guilty of harming Christian unity in the past and describing a growing consensus between the two churches in recent decades.

The 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, the doctrinal challenge that launched the Protestant Reformation, will be the first centenary celebration in the age of ecumenism, globalization and the secularization of Western societies.

“The awareness is dawning on Lutherans and Catholics that the struggle of the 16th century is over,” the report said. “The reasons for mutually condemning each other’s faith have fallen by the wayside.”

They now agree belief in Jesus unites them despite lingering differences, it said, and inspires them to cooperate more closely to proclaim the Gospel in increasingly pluralistic societies.

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The ministry of Martin Luther in sixteenth century Germany is significant in that it is a modern repetition of the ministry of Jonah in seventh century BC Assyria.In both instances a significant portion of the population accepted the gosple and saved themselves from destruction , eventually becoming the most prosperous and stable people of their respective era.

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