Pope commemorates Martin Luther

What happened?

Pope Francis joined Lutheran leaders for a commemoration of Reformation Day in Sweden. October 31 was the 500th anniversary of the day Martin Luther is traditionally held to have begun the Reformation. The Pope joined Lutheran leaders for a prayer service in the Lutheran cathedral in Lund. The Pope also signed a joint statement with Bishop Munib Yunan, president of the Lutheran World Federation, which asked Christians to be “joyful and hopeful” in the “great journey ahead”.

What the international media said

In Sweden’s The Local, Catherine Marciano said the Pope’s visit “highlighted deep splits between the Vatican’s doctrine and Swedes’ way of life. A pioneer in women’s and LGBT rights, the Nordic nation’s Lutheran Church has been appointing female priests since 1960.” Nevertheless, the event was the culmination of “50 years of reconciliatory dialogue”.

In Deutsche Welle, Astrid Prange said the Pope’s openness to Lutherans showed he understood that Luther’s revolutionary spirit is still relevant. The modern world needs Luther, Prange said: “He is part of the German DNA, with many of his traits seen as ‘typically German’: conservative, principled, pugnacious. If he lived today, he would take issue with the UN Security Council, NATO and the spiritual leaders of all religions.”

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