Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lutheran and Catholics in Ecumenical Ceremony

The president of the Vatican’s Christian unity council joined with a Lutheran delegation in a ceremony at St. Paul’s which showed “that the dialogue between the two communities has become a reality of life and that the ecumenical commitment of the Catholic Church… is irrevocable and irreversible.” Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity participated in the event, which took place during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

United Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Germany, led by Bishop Dr. Johannes Friedrich also participated in the event. The group planted and blessed an olive tree as a sign of the ecumenical communion between Catholics and Lutherans.

The tree planting ceremony is part of the “Luther’s Garden” project in Wittenberg, Germany. The garden was opened in 2008, and according to the Lutheran World Federation, is designed to symbolize the “global magnitude of the Reformation,” as well as the “interconnectedness, interaction, and reconciliation between Christian churches.” Different ecclesial groups around the world are being invited to sponsor the 500 trees projected to be planted in the garden, a fitting symbol to the advancement of the ecumenical agenda.

During the event, the Evangelical-Lutheran delegation was received in private audience by Benedict XVI. The Lutheran delegation visited the Vatican for the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s visit to Rome in the year 1510.

Significant of this time, Luther was climbing up Pilate’s staircase on his knees in penance for his sins when he heard a voice say to him: “the just shall live by faith,” a clear indication to him that salvation and forgiveness of sins was through the merits of Christ alone and not the works or deeds of man. (See Romans 1:17). Also at this time the papal indulgences began, the proceeds of which contributed to the construction of St. Peter’s cathedral in Rome. However today, the Lutheran church in homage to the papacy is doing contrary to the teaching of Martin Luther and the Word of God, and is uniting with the apostate Roman Catholic Church.

It seems evident that the road to full, sacramental and ecumenical unity between the Lutheran and the Catholic Churches could be soon.

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