Saturday, February 11, 2017

Reformation anniversary is ‘opportunity to take a further step,’ Pope tells German ecumenical group

Pope Francis and Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, chair of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany, meet at the Vatican Feb. 6. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano) Meeting on February 6 with an ecumenical delegation from Germany, Pope Francis said that the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, which is being observed this year, is an “opportunity to take a further step ahead, looking at the past without rancor, but in accordance with Christ and in communion with Him.”

The Pope cited the words of his predecessor Benedict XVI, saying that the central concern of Martin Luther had been “how to receive the grace of God.” 

This should be the focus of all Christians today, Francis said: a “joint path” for ecumenical progress.

The Pontiff told the German group that their meeting was a blessing:
It is the fruit of a long collaboration and the expression of an ecumenical relationship that has matured over the years. I hope that we will continue to go ahead on this blessed path of fraternal communion, continuing with courage and decisiveness toward an ever fuller unity. We have the same baptism; we must journey together, without tiring!

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