Skip to comments.500 years after the Reformation: End the schism!
Posted on 03/01/2017 9:40:57 AM PST by ebb tide
Hans Küng, Catholic priest and Swiss theologian, has taken great pains to end the 16th-century schism between Catholics and Protestants since he wrote his doctoral dissertation on "Justification. The Teaching of Karl Barth and a Catholic Reflection" in 1957. He continues that work today with the release of the statement below, which is being published simultaneously by National Catholic Reporter and The Tablet.
Küng has collected all his writings on the Justification Doctrine in the first volume of his collected works, which is being published by the German publishing house Herder. Sixty years ago, Küng's work led to the consensus reached by both churches on this central matter of dispute. The remaining 23 volumes of Küng's collected works document his efforts for ecumenical understanding and peace between denominations and religions.
It was most gratifying that the chairman of the Protestant Churches in Germany, Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, accompanied by the president of the German Catholic bishops' conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, officially visited Pope Francis in Rome together on the occasion of the Reformation Jubilee. The Pope spoke of "an already reconciled diversity." He said he greatly appreciated the spiritual and theological gifts that the Reformation had given us and that he wanted to do everything he could "to overcome the obstacles that still remained."
Already in September 2016, Bishop Bedford-Strohm and Cardinal Marx presented their "Common Word" entitled "Healing Memories Bearing Witness to Christ." After five centuries of condemning and inflicting wounds upon each other, both the two leading Churches in Germany declared that they intended to celebrate the Reformation anniversary together as a "Feast for Jesus Christ."
A further pivotal point in the commemoration process will be the main Service of Repentance and Reconciliation that the Council of the Protestant Churches and the Catholic bishops' conference will celebrate together at Hildesheim on March 11, 2017.
We have, however, heard Vatican declarations of intent and suggestions of repentance and reconciliation all too often. We ecumenically committed Christians at long last want to see actions. Unfortunately, the "Common Word" does not mention the deadlock that exists in both church hierarchies on the decisive issues and disregards the fact that in many Protestant and Catholic communities, ecumenism has already been practiced for a long time now. For these communities, mutual recognition of each other's ministries and Eucharistic hospitality are no longer a problem. Church leaders lag far behind them. If the leaders do not take the matter of "overcoming the still remaining obstacles" seriously, they alone will have to bear the responsibility for not doing so before God and the faithful.
In the 2017 Jubilee Year, those responsible should consistently put the results of the ecumenical Dialogue Commissions into practice. The Catholic Church should consider the following issues:
*Martin Luther's rehabilitation,
*Lifting all the excommunications that were pronounced in the Reformation era,
*Recognizing Protestant and Anglican ministries,
*Mutual Eucharistic hospitality.
Innumerable Christians want to see the Protestant side bring these postulates to the attention of the Catholic Church just as clearly and outspokenly but naturally not without the necessary self-criticism. Merely celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation without really ending the schism means incurring yet more guilt. May the pressure exerted by theologians, grassroots Christians, Christian communities, and many committed men and women help the church leadership in Rome and elsewhere, which is so often hesitant and afraid, not to miss this historic opportunity but to wake up, otherwise yet more people will turn away from the Church and more communities and groups will take the law into their own hands! In today's globalized, secularized world, Christianity will only come across as credible if it presents itself in truly reconciled diversity.
[Fr. Hans Küng is a Swiss citizen and professor emeritus of ecumenical theology at Tübingen University in Germany. This article was translated from the German by Christa Pongratz-Lippitt.]
We would be thrilled to have the catholics enter our protestant churches. But “reconciliation” always seems to mean we will get to be Roman Catholic.
I present current church leadership, in Rome, London, and elsewhere, as reason to continue division of the Church into separate, but complementary, houses. Each to reinforce and moderate the others.
Here we go again...
I’d love to end the schism, but 1: I refuse to acknowledge the authority of Pope Frank, and 2: Irreconcilable differences regarding the doctrine of justification.
Also, if the ELCA is so eager for unity with the Roman Catholics, I’m not sure I want to be. I already know the ELCA is corrupt; why would any truly Godly organization want them?
Well stated. Very well stated
Separate, but tied to each other to slap the other on the wrist when they stray - like the pentarchy of churches. If we stand alone we have the ELCA, ECUSA, PCUSA etc. — we don’t want that
I agree. “Reconciliation” seems to mean that protestants will finally acknowledge the Pope as the leader of all Christian churches per current Catholic doctrine. The changes proposed would not induce me to become a Catholic or accept the Pope as the head of my church. I’m not sure to whom this OP is directed because removing “excommunications” from those excommunicated in the Reformation would not mean much to protestants - we don’t believe in it anyway.
My home is in heaven.
I am not interested in fealty to any person or organization other than Christ himself.
We are all the church. Does your church teach the Gospel and is Bible believing? That’s all you need.
The benefit to Catholicism is that it was compelled at last to begin to take stock of itself.
“Yeah...I’m not interested in being “welcomed back “home””.
My home is in heaven.
I am not interested in fealty to any person or organization other than Christ himself.”
I have no problem with faith.
I have a problem with religion.
One man other than Christ, at least!
I agree. And they are always welcome in our church. But I will never a Catholic.
Hard headed? No. but I read my bible (similar but not totally same as Catholic’s) and don’t see where I cannot pray directly to God.
Other issue is illustrated by the current Jesuit Pope. The leftist view of the world. Not buying that.
I would like nothing better than Christian and Jew total cooperation.
There are a lot of current Muslims (by birth) who would choose to be Christians, if it did not cost them their lives. That is another issue.
With this pope? Ain’t gonna happen................
....not tied by any kind of governance. Government, of nation or Church, leads to beauracrats rising to the top and taking over. They then lead in whatever direction they lean.
Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!” He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”
He said, “Yes.” I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?” He said, “A Christian.” I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me, too! What franchise?” He said, “Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?” He said, “Northern Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.” I said, “Me, too!”
Northern ConservativeBaptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.” I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.
- Emo Philips
No under normal conditions, but with this communist pope, are you kidding????
I can understand this from a European perspective. I cannot see great concern for this among Protestants in healthy and growing Church groups in the U.S., which is not among the old-line “mainstream” Churches that began one way and as they strayed have seen their member leave for the Christian chuches growing and doing well now.
When did the mainstream Churches in the U.S. begin to stray? When they began to (1) embrace the world and (2) embrace cultural Marxist dialectics that attacked everything in their own culture as “wrong”, and they wanted to be “liked” by those embracing that dialectic. In reality, in their moment of greatest strength, in the U.S., their faith weakened and set them against their own foundations. The “flocks” have been leaving ever sense.
I agree...to a point.
I believe we a called to be part of A church. A local congregation or a group of congregations. And that we are to submit ourselves to their leadership. But that leadership is conditional and not universal.
I also believe in the universal church. The universal church as the world wide family of believers in Christ, not a hierarchy that claims fealty to itself.
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