Friday, January 18, 2013

An ordinariate for Lutherans?

The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has said that the Vatican might consider an ordinariate for Lutherans wishing to return to full communion with the Catholic Church, similar to the structure established by Pope Benedict XVI for Anglicans.

Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller conceded that “the Lutheran world is a bit different from the Anglican one, because among Anglicans there has always been a sector closer to Catholicism.” 

However, he said, some Lutherans hope for a restoration of full communion with Rome, and the Church should be ready to receive them. 

He suggested that, as with Anglicans, the Catholic Church might allow Lutherans to preserve “the legitimate traditions they have developed” while becoming members of the Catholic Church.

In the eyes of some Lutherans, the archbishop observed, Martin Luther intended merely to reform the Church, not to cause division among Christians. 

Archbishop Müller added that some Lutherans believe the necessary reforms were completed by Vatican II. 

He added that in his own native land, Germany, “Protestants are not just opposed to Catholicism, because they have retained many Catholic traditions.”

Archbishop Müller made these remarks during an appearance at a Roman bookshop marking the release of his own new book on the thought of Pope Benedict XVI.

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