Loading
At Martin Luther’s monastery, Pope says personal sins matter
By David Kerr
Pope Benedict XVI and Nikolaus Schneider, president of the council of the Evangelical Church in Germany, walk to the ecumenical devotion. Credit: Sean Gallup/ Getty Images/ Getty Images News
Pope Benedict XVI and Nikolaus Schneider, president of the council of the Evangelical Church in Germany, walk to the ecumenical devotion. Credit: Sean Gallup/ Getty Images/ Getty Images News

.- At Martin Luther’s former monastery, Pope Benedict XVI warned against the general presumption that personal sins are of little consequence to God and spoke about current challenges to Christian unity.
 
“Insofar as people today believe in an after-life and a divine judgment at all, nearly everyone presumes for all practical purposes that God is bound to be magnanimous and that ultimately he mercifully overlooks our small failings,” the Pope said at a meeting with the German Evangelical Church Council, gathered in the eastern German city of Erfurt.

“But are they really so small, our failings? Is not the world laid waste through the corruption of the great, but also of the small, who think only of their own advantage?”

The Pope gave four examples of sin - the drug trade, corruption, violence and economic exploitation – and concluded “no, evil is no small matter. Were we truly to place God at the center of our lives, it could not be so powerful.”

The meeting with the Lutheran contingent took place at the former Augustinian monastery in Erfurt on Sept. 23, the second day of the Pope’s state visit to his homeland. The historic building was home to the Catholic priest turned Protestant reformer, Martin Luther, between 1505 and 1511.

The Pope did not shy away from praising certain aspects of Luther’s life and work.

“For him theology was no mere academic pursuit, but the struggle for oneself, which in turn was a struggle for and with God,” said the Pope, observing that Luther constantly asked the question – ‘how do I receive God?’ “The fact that this question was the driving force of his whole life never ceases to make an impression on me,” said the Pope.

He also expressed admiration for Luther’s attempt to put Christ at the center of his thinking and spirituality, which Pope Benedict called “thoroughly Christocentric.”

The Pope noted that Luther had always asked the “burning question” of “what is God’s position towards me, where do I stand before God?”

The Pope said that he did not want his qualified praise of Luther to simply “be an attempt to talk our way past the urgent problems” in ecumenical relations between the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.
 
At the same time, Pope Benedict emphasized the importance of remembering “just how much we have in common, not losing sight of it amid the pressure towards secularization – everything that makes us Christian in the first place and continues to be our gift and our task.”
 
One “error of the Reformation,” he said, was that Christians “could only see what divided us.”
 
The Pope was also candid in his assessment of what threatens Christian unity, pointing to two current challenges. His first concern was about new forms of Christianity that are currently “spreading with overpowering missionary dynamism” and yet have “little institutional depth, little rationality and even less dogmatic content, and with little stability.” The second challenge he warned of was “the secularized context of the world in which we Christians today have to live and bear witness to our faith.”

“Are we to yield to the pressure of secularization, and become modern by watering down the faith?” he asked, giving the firm answer – no. He said that the Christian faith ought to be lived afresh but that this freshness comes “not by watering the faith down, but by living it today in its fullness.”

Pope Benedict concluded by raising up the Christian martyrs – Catholic and Lutheran – who died at the hands of the wartime Nazi regime as a shining example of genuine ecumenism in action.
 
The German Evangelical Church is a union of 22 Lutheran Churches. It has more than 24 million members, which is around 30 percent of the German population.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

3D Church mapping
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Jul
31

Liturgical Calendar

July 31, 2014

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Priest

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:47-53

Gospel
Date
07/31/14
07/30/14
07/29/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Jer 18: 1-6
Gospel:: Mt 13: 47-53

Saint of the Day

St. Ignatius of Loyola »

Saint
Date
07/28/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 13:47-53

Homily
Date
07/31/14
07/30/14
07/29/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: