Skip to comments.Statement by The Lutheran World Federation upon the election of Pope Benedict XVI
Posted on 04/19/2005 12:59:14 PM PDT by lightman
Statement by The Lutheran World Federation A Communion of Churches, upon the election of Pope Benedict XVI
At the election of Pope Benedict XVI it is appropriate for Christians to be united in prayer that God may bless, strengthen and guide him as a heavy mantle of responsibility is now being put upon him.
History has shown in so many ways the impact of the Roman Pontiff on the direction of events both in church and in society. At the present time we see especially the urgency of processes of reconciliation across religious, ethnic and economic divides. The main contribution of the churches in the face of this common challenge is the message of Gods free, justifying grace, with its many spiritual and social consequences. The significance of this message was ecumenically recognized five years ago when the Lutheran Roman Catholic Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification was signed.
By Gods grace the value of the human person is immeasurable. It must not be violated by religiously-based aggression or by abuses of economic or military power. Human dignity must be protected from continuing gender-based oppression. The ravages of preventable illnesses must be curbed by social development and adequate ethical guidance. Faced with these challenges and many others, the new pope will be expected not only to continue the many contributions of his predecessor, but also to provide new strategies where such are needed.
The unity of the church, prayed for by Christ himself, is an important goal to strive for, which will also be a major contribution to the unity of humankind. Pope Benedict XVI will meet strong expectations in this area as well, since the hope for Christian unity calls for significantly new approaches. As Lutherans we expect especially that ecumenical progress can be made on the basis of the substantial theological agreements that have been achieved through 40 years of international Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue particularly with regard to justification, ministry and sacraments. Let us pray together that God may show us ways forward by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
As Pope Benedict XVI prepares to assume his high spiritual and temporal responsibilities, The Lutheran World Federation A Communion of Churches accompanies him with the prayer that he will be given the grace to continue the ministry of his predecessors in a process of steady renewal, for the benefit of the church universal, and of humanity.
Chicago and Geneva, 19 April 2005
Bishop Mark Hanson President Rev. Dr. Ishmael Noko General Secretary
Because of Called to Common Mission, ECUSA Bishop V. Gene Robinson is also a bishop to ELCA Lutherans. ELCA Bishop Hanson is a champion of blessing gay couples and ordaining gay clergy. With this in mind, what do you think the above words are trying to convey to the new Pope?
From what I'm hearing, I think I shouldn't expect the new pope to play nicey-nice with Hanson. I'm pleased for Catholics.
Whatever message they may be trying to send would be irrelevant. When he led the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith, Pope Benedict XVI in person delivered a very strong message of support to the 2000+ Episcopalians who met in Texas after the Vicki Gene approval.
I imagine Martin Luther would rather associate himself with Benedict XVI than ELCA.
So would some of his contemporary followers. Pr. Richard Johnson panned the LWF President on a Lutheran blogsite:
"It would have been a fine statement had it just stopped after the first sentence. Heck, we'll even through in the last sentence.
It's the middle of the message that has us shaking our heads. Our Lutheran leaders felt this a good opportunity to lay out an agenda for Benedict XVI that includes opposing "abuses of economic or military power" and protecting humanity from "gender-based oppression" (translation: keep up the good work of fighting militarism, but you need to consider ordaining women). It also calls for curbing "preventable illnesses" (translation: stop opposing the use of condoms to prevent AIDS). Benedict, they Lutherans opine, is expected to "provide new stratgegies where such are needed." (translation: let's scuttle what was problematic in the previous papacy)
So as we said . . . The first sentence, praying God's blessing on the new pope; and the last, praying specifically that his ministry may be for the benefit of the church universal and of humanity--those are good and important words.
They can't match either the brevity or the hubris of ECUSA Presiding Bishop Frank Griswald, however. Our ecumenical partner said this: "Along with many others, both within and beyond the Roman Catholic Church, I offer my prayers for Pope Benedict XVI as he takes up the august responsibility of his office. I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide him in his words and his actions and that he may become a focus of unity and a minister of reconciliation in a church and a world in which faithfulness and truth wear many faces." We humbly suggest the Bishop might reflect on the gospel lesson for the 5th Sunday of Easter, wherein our Lord Jesus Christ says, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life."
We suppose the Lord just forgot the part about many faces."
"I add my own prayers to his that God may use his office to bring about mercy and grace for all.
"The former Cardinal Ratzinger has been a controversial figure in the world church, as much caricatured as actually known. He recounts his years in the Hitler youth as having taught him to be suspicious of seemingly-progressive secular movements, leading him to dedicate his senior leadership in the church to protecting orthodoxy. How much of that was his own drive and how much was the service of a dutiful servant to the Holy See remains to be seen.
"He deplores the pluralism of the post-modern era and sees conformity to orthodox history as a way to keep the church integrated in a climate that enjoys dismantling institutions.
"Those in the church who have waited long for greater openness to women, a married priesthood and a more receptive attitude toward other Christians and world religions are disappointed by this election.
"Lutherans world wide are grateful for the signing of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification in 1999 and look forward to continued conversation and increased communion with the Roman Catholic Church.
"All opinions expressed at this time should be understood as speculation. How Benedict XVI intends to lead will unfold in time. I encourage congregations to pray for this pope so that he may be led by the Spirit to serve the mission of the gospel."
Bishop Schultz needs remedial catechesis on the 8th Commandment!