Portrait of Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach the Elder
The Lutheran community in Rome has planned to name a Roman street in honor of the priest, confessor, theologian and reformer Martin Luther who almost 500 years ago was excommunicated for heresy after four years of disputations regarding Catholic doctrine.
To add insult to injury the Vatican has given its approval of this move. Claims were that this is a step to forward in ecumenism. I digress; this seems to be the opposite of ecumenism because in other people’s minds this says the Church no longer cares if people leave the Church to start their own. Ecumenism is supposed to patch up these divisions, not encourage them. While I don’t think this is the message the Vatican was trying to spread, the cardinals there don’t seem to think it might be thought of very differently by others.
Martin Luther had many great points but he also had bad ones as well just as many Catholics today do who uphold many Catholic doctrines but reject others and are willing to go as far as to leave the Church. Others choose to stay in the hopes the Church will compromise on doctrine just as Martin Luther did for four years after he wrote his 95 Theses and until he was excommunicated by Leo X in his papal bull Exsurge Domino. Luther was known for his harsh words against the hierarchy and subsequently the Church though he thought he was still in the Church.
“Let the Turk believe and live as he will, just as one lets the papacy and other false Christians live.” (On War Against the Turk)
At first Luther viewed the Ottoman Empire as a necessary evil to make Germans split from the Roman Church, but after their persistence into Austria the reformer’s views on them changed and he viewed them as “enemies of Christ” who needed to be defeated. The dissident priest despised the Roman Church so much he was willing to glory in the idea of churches being destroyed and/or turned into mosques. How wicked is that?!
Like I have said before, Lutheran liturgies have beauty similar to that of the Holy Mass, but they unfortunately do not have valid Sacraments such as Eucharist and Confession because there is no valid priesthood who offer them. Until the doctrinal issues are solved this will continue to do so. We must pray for unity and not simply say we want it because we can attend all the ecumenical dialogues we want, but in the end God alone can heal the wounds. Not only that but true unity will not exist until we are in full communion with each other and they have accepted all the doctrinal beliefs of the Church and have submitted themselves under the pope the vicar of Christ.
You can read the article here: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2015/08/27/vatican-backs-plan-for-martin-luther-square-in-rome/