Saturday, March 8, 2008

Pope to reconsider Martin Luther

From the Daily Mail (U.K.):

The Pope is planning to rehabilitate Martin Luther - whose actions instigated the Protestant Reformation – by arguing that he did not intend to split Christianity but only to purge the Church of corrupt practices.

Benedict XVI will issue his findings on the 16th-century German theologian after discussing him at the papal summer residence, Castelgandolfo, during his annual seminar of 40 fellow theologians, the Ratzinger Sch├╝lerkreis.

Luther was and condemned for heresy and excommunicated in 1521 by Pope Leo X, who had initially dismissed him as “a drunken German” and predicted he would “change his mind when sober”.

Vatican insiders say the 80-year-old Pope - himself born in Germany - will argue that his countryman was not a heretic after all.

The move, a month ahead of the third anniversary of Pope Benedict's election, is aimed at mending fences after July's blunt papal statement that the Protestant and Orthodox faiths are “not proper Churches”.

“We have much to learn from Luther, beginning with the importance he attached to the word of God,” said Cardinal Walter Kasper, head of the pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The cardinal added that the time had come for a “more positive” view of Luther, who could now be seen as having “anticipated aspects of reform which the [Catholic] Church has adopted over time”.

Read the full story here.

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