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– Twenty-First Century Crusades?
The Pope taking radical steps to bring
all sheep back into fold.
Catholic and Lutheran Churches
pledge to work for shared Eucharist
by Austen Ivereigh
At the conclusion of a historic ecumenical celebration in Lund, Sweden,
Pope Francis and the general-secretary of the world's Lutheran churches
agreed to work together for a shared Eucharist.
Pope Francis and the global Lutheran leader have jointly pledged to
remove the obstacles to full unity between their Churches, leading
eventually to shared Eucharist.
They made the commitment in a joint statement signed before a
congregation of Catholic and Lutheran leaders at the conclusion of a
joint service in Lund, Sweden, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of
the start of the Reformation.
The statement was signed by Pope Francis and Bishop Munib Younan, who is
president of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), which was founded in
Lund in 1947. After they finished signing, the congregation stood for a
long round of applause as the two leaders hugged each other.
The two leaders appeared to single out married couples where one partner
is Catholic and the other Lutheran. “Many members of our communities
yearn to receive the Eucharist at one table, as the concrete expression
of full unity,” they noted.
“We experience the pain of those who share their whole lives, but cannot
share God’s redeeming presence at the Eucharistic table,” they said,
adding: “We acknowledge our joint pastoral responsibility to respond to
the spiritual thirst and hunger of our people to be one in Christ.”
“We long for this wound in the Body of Christ to be healed,” they
continued. “This is the goal of our ecumenical endeavors, which we wish
to advance, also by renewing our commitment to theological dialogue.”
In their statement, the leaders acknowledged that “Lutherans and
Catholics have wounded the visible unity of the Church.”
“Theological differences were accompanied by prejudice and conflicts,
and religion was instrumentalized for political ends,” they said, adding
later: “Today, we hear God’s command to set aside all conflict. We
recognize that we are freed by grace to move towards the communion to
which God continually calls us.”
As well as pledging to work towards intercommunion, the leaders prayed
that Catholics and Lutherans will be able to witness together to the
Gospel of Jesus Christ and work for justice and peace.
“We urge Lutherans and Catholics to work together to welcome the
stranger, to come to the aid of those forced to flee because of war and
persecution, and to defend the rights of refugees and those who seek
asylum,” they said, adding that their “joint service” must also extend
to God’s creation.
“We recognize the right of future generations to enjoy God’s world in
all its potential and beauty,” they continued. “We pray for a change of
hearts and minds that leads to a loving and responsible way to care for
The Pope and Lutheran leader ended by calling on their respective
parishes and communities to be “bold and creative, joyful and hopeful in
their commitment to continue the great journey ahead of us.”
They concluded: “Rooted in Christ and witnessing to him, we renew our
determination to be faithful heralds of God’s boundless love for all