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Francis to Travel to Sweden to Commemorate Protestant Reformation in October

Lund Cathedral in Sweden
© User:Colin / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

From our rapidly-growing “You Sedevacantists are just a bunch of Protestants!” file:

The Unholy See in Vatican City has just released the following statement to the press: “His Holiness Francis intends to participate in a joint ceremony of the Catholic Church and the World Lutheran Federation to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, scheduled to take place in Lund, Sweden on Monday 31 October 2016” (source).

Vatican Radio has elaborated on this announcement and posted the following news story:

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis will travel to Sweden in October for a joint ecumenical commemoration of the start of the Reformation, together with leaders of the Lutheran World Federation and representatives of other Christian Churches.

The event will take place on October 31st [2016] in the southern Swedish city of Lund where the Lutheran World Federation was founded in 1947. While kicking off a year of events to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, it will also highlight the important ecumenical developments that have taken place during the past 50 years of dialogue between Catholics and Lutherans.

The one-day event will include a common worship service in Lund cathedral based on a Catholic-Lutheran “Common Prayer” liturgical guide, published earlier this month by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).

The commemoration in Lund follows on directly from the publication in 2013 of a joint document entitled ‘From Conflict to Communion’, which focuses on the themes of thanksgiving, repentance and commitment to common witness. While asking for forgiveness for the divisions of past centuries, it  also seeks to showcase the gifts of the Reformation and celebrate the way Catholics and Lutherans around the world work together on issues of common concern.

Please see below the joint press release from the LWF and the PCPCU on the joint ecumenical commemoration of the Reformation in Lund

(“Pope Francis to travel to Sweden for joint Reformation commemoration”, Jan. 25, 2016)

Then follows the press release, which can also be found on the Lutheran World Federation site:

Pope Francis, LWF President Bishop Younan and General Secretary Junge to lead October event

GENEVA/VATICAN CITY, 25 January 2016 – The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Catholic Church will hold a joint ecumenical commemoration of the Reformation on 31 October 2016 in Lund, Sweden.

Pope Francis, LWF President Bishop Dr Munib A. Younan and General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge will lead the Ecumenical Commemoration in cooperation with the Church of Sweden and the Catholic Diocese of Stockholm.

The joint ecumenical event will take place in the city of Lund in anticipation of the 500th Reformation anniversary in 2017. It will highlight the solid ecumenical developments between Catholics and Lutherans and the joint gifts received through dialogue. The event will include a common worship based on the recently published Catholic-Lutheran “Common Prayer” liturgical guide.

“The LWF is approaching the Reformation anniversary in a spirit of ecumenical accountability,” says LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge. “I’m carried by the profound conviction that by working towards reconciliation between Lutherans and Catholics, we are working towards justice, peace and reconciliation in a world torn apart by conflict and violence.”

Cardinal Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) explains further: “By concentrating together on the centrality of the question of God and on a Christocentric approach, Lutherans and Catholics will have the possibility of an ecumenical commemoration of the Reformation, not simply in a pragmatic way, but in the deep sense of faith in the crucified and resurrected Christ.

“It is with joy and expectation that the Church of Sweden welcomes The Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church to hold the joint commemoration of the Reformation in Lund,” says Church of Sweden Archbishop Antje Jackelén. “We shall pray together with the entire ecumenical family in Sweden that the commemoration will contribute to Christian unity in our country and throughout the world.”

“The ecumenical situation in our part of the world is unique and interesting. I hope that this meeting will help us look to the future so that we can be witnesses of Jesus Christ and His gospel in our secularized world,” says Anders Arborelius OCD, Bishop of the Catholic Church in Sweden.

The Lund event is part of the reception process of the study document From Conflict to Communion, which was published in 2013, and has since been widely distributed to Lutheran and Catholic communities. The document is the first attempt by both dialogue partners to describe together at international level the history of the Reformation and its intentions.

Earlier this year, the LWF and PCPCU sent to LWF member churches and  Catholic Bishops’ Conferences a jointly prepared “Common Prayer”, which is a liturgical guide to help churches commemorate the Reformation anniversary together. It is based on the study document From Conflict to Communion: Lutheran-Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017, and features the themes of thanksgiving, repentance and commitment to common witness with the aim of expressing the gifts of the Reformation and asking forgiveness for the division which followed theological disputes.

The year 2017 will also mark 50 years of the international Lutheran-Catholic dialogue, which has yielded notable ecumenical results, of which most significant is the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ). The JDDJ was signed by the LWF and the Catholic Church in 1999, and affirmed by the World Methodist Council in 2006. The declaration nullified centuries’ old disputes between Catholics and Lutherans over the basic truths of the doctrine of justification, which was at the center of the 16th century Reformation.

(“Pope Francis to travel to Sweden for joint Reformation commemoration”, Jan. 25, 2016)

Once again, this goes to show, more than any signature ever could, that “Pope” Francis is entirely supportive of the entire ecumenical program that has been going on under his watch — which shouldn’t be surprising, consider that the buck stops with him, but certain Novus Ordo apologists like to stake their defense of the impostor pope on such silly arguments that this or that “wasn’t done/approved by Francis but only by his underlings”.

Let’s have a quick look at some of the key players, entities, and documents mentioned in these press releases:

All this comes on the heels of Francis warmly receiving Lutherans from Finland — including “women bishops” — who, it has come to light, were given “Catholic Communion” in the Vatican during their visit, after, of course, Francis had sent a strong message that intercommunion is really a matter of personal conscience.

Since this visit to Lund takes place in 2016, technically only 499 years after the start of the so-called Reformation, you can bet your bottom dollar that this is but the warm-up to an entire year of festivities, to conclude solemnly on October 31, 2017, perhaps with the “canonization” or at least complete rehabilitation of Martin Luther. Jorge the Merciful might pretend to remove the excommunication against Luther first pronounced by Pope Leo X in the bull Decet Romanum Pontificem of January 3, 1521.

Ironically, Martin Luther, with all his heresies and errors, was a lot closer to Catholicism than Jorge Bergoglio. Despite all, Luther would never have suggested that pagans can be saved, that all religions are as good as any other, or that Muslims and Jews worship the true God. Just wait — someone at [Non-]Catholic Answers may pick up on this and declare that since this is so, Francis’ commemoration of the Reformation must be taken as a sign that he is conservative, since he is obviously moving closer to Martin Luther, who was not very ecumenical in his ideas.

A quick Catholic Reality check is in order, but where to start?

First, we must remind everyone of the heresies and errors of Martin Luther, solemnly condemned by Pope Leo X in the bull Exsurge Domine (1520) and by the Council of Trent (1545-64).

The false ecumenical orientation, according to which there is a bond of unity between Catholics and heretics and so we should sign “agreements” with them and focus on the things that unite rather than separate us, is condemned in the following magisterial documents:

There is no “common witness” that Catholics are called to give in union with heretics. The “gospel” of the heretics is false, and not only are they not commanded to preach and spread it, they are explicitly forbidden from doing so: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema” (Gal 1:8).

For all those who are now yearning for the “good old days” under Benedict XVI and John Paul II, we remind them that the “Joint Declaration” was signed in 1999, under the watchful eye of a certain Joseph Ratzinger, who was then head of the Novus Ordo version of the Holy Office, and of course this was during the “pontificate” of John Paul II, who had a special love not only for heretics but also for pagans.

By the way, these colorful pictures of Benedict XVI’s visit to the Lutheran church in Rome add a special touch to the ecumenical festivities later this year.

While we typically try to keep private revelations out of discussions like this, the following approved testimony by the Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich seems rather suitable to quote at this point:

I saw many pastors cherishing dangerous ideas against the Church…. They built a large, singular, extravagant church which was to embrace all creeds with equal rights: Evangelicals, Catholics, and all denominations, a true communion of the unholy with one shepherd and one flock. There was to be a Pope, a salaried Pope, without possessions. All was made ready, many things finished; but, in place of an altar, were only abomination and desolation. Such was the new church to be, and it was for it that he had set fire to the old one; but God designed otherwise.

(From Life and Revelations of [Ven.] Anne Catherine Emmerich, Vol. 2, pp. 352-353)

This New Church, with its putative but false “popes”, began to come into being with John XXIII in 1958. Vatican II laid the doctrinal and pastoral groundwork for it; the “New Mass” catapulted the new religion of the council into every practicing Catholic’s household; the 1983 “Code of Canon Law” enshrined it legally so that it would direct every act of ecclesiastical governance; the immense popularity and charisma of John Paul II made it “cool” and appealing to the young; the smells-and-bells externalism of Benedict XVI made it digestible for “traditionalists”. And now Francis has come to finish the job, to blast ahead at full-steam to knock down the last remaining traces of Catholicism still found in the world.

Thank God we have the divine assurance that despite all, this program will ultimately fail:

We will conclude this post with two beautiful magisterial quotes reminding us of the true Catholic attitude towards those who call themselves Christians but are unhappily cut off from union with the Apostolic See:

But God forbid that the sons of the Catholic Church ever in any way be hostile to those who are not joined with us in the same bonds of faith and love; but rather they should always be zealous to seek them out and aid them, whether poor, or sick, or afflicted with any other burdens, with all the offices of Christian charity; and they should especially endeavor to snatch them from the darkness of error in which they unhappily lie, and lead them back to Catholic truth and to the most loving Mother the Church, who never ceases to stretch out her maternal hands lovingly to them, and to call them back to her bosom so that, established and firm in faith, hope, and charity, and “being fruitful in every good work” [Colossians 1:10], they may attain eternal salvation.

(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Quanto Conficiamur Moerore, n. 9; underlining added.)

Even on the plea of promoting unity it is not allowed to dissemble one single dogma; for, as the Patriarch of Alexandria warns us, “although the desire of peace is a noble and excellent thing, yet we must not for its sake neglect the virtue of loyalty in Christ.” Consequently, the much desired return of erring sons to true and genuine unity in Christ will not be furthered by exclusive concentration on those doctrines which all, or most, communities glorying in the Christian name accept in common. The only successful method will be that which bases harmony and agreement among Christ’s faithful ones upon all the truths, and the whole of the truths, which God has revealed.

(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Orientalis Ecclesiae, n. 16; underlining added.)


Image source: Wikimedia Commons (Colin)
License: CC BY-SA 4.0

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