Benedict XVI Visits Lutherans to Promote Unity

And more on unity: here is a great and heartwarming story of the visit of the Holy Father to the Lutheran parish of Rome.

In his address, which the Holy Father delivered without a written script, he invited his listeners to be thankful for the fact that “we are here together on this Laetare Sunday, that we sing together, that we listen to the Word of God together, that we listen to each other, all looking to the one Christ and, thus, rendering testimony to the one Christ.”

Benedict XVI was welcomed with prolonged applause in the Christuskirche on the Via Sicilia in Rome. The choir, composed of Lutherans and German Catholic seminarians, intoned Mozart’s “Jubilate Deo.”

…Benedict XVI was also already familiar with the church. In 1998, when he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he met with the Lutheran community during its annual festival.

The young pastor of the community, Jens-Martin Kruse, began his homily acknowledging that “for us it is truly a day of joy.” Pastor Kruse’s homily, appropriately themed for “Laetare Sunday,” was a commentary on the meaning of Christian joy.

Citing St. Paul, he invited his listeners to advance along the way of Christ together, everyone “for each other” and “in tribulation consoling each other with the consolation by which we are consoled by God.”

I wish I could have been there. The visit reminds me of his Holiness’s recent visit to the Jewish Synagogue. Despite all the controversies, what can be seen is that both Roman communities – the Jews and the Lutherans – have a love for the Holy Father which is reciprocated tenfold by Pope Benedict himself.

What do we have to do to translate this good will into action?

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29 Comments

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29 responses to “Benedict XVI Visits Lutherans to Promote Unity

  1. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    Sorry, the “pope” didn’t visit any Lutherans at all on this visit.

    Die Christuskirche in Rom is a parish of the Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Italien, which in turn is a member body of Lutherischer Weltbund, bka (better known as) the Lutheran World Federation in English, an apostate Lutheran body with which no confessional Lutheran body anywhere in the world has fellowship.

    But a fitting “dialogue” partner for an apostate Catholic body like the, now let me get this right without laughing myself silly, The Catholic Church. Which is about as Catholic as the LWF is Lutheran, which is, superficially only. They deserve each other in their respective apostacies.

    A total non event for confessional Lutherans, and for such faithful Catholics as have survived the oppression of the impostor.

    • Now you are guilty of doing it to your own people, PE. They call themselves “Lutheran” but you refuse to show them the courtesy of calling them what they call themselves.

      In addition, after having cast aspersions at us for calling ourselves the true “Catholic Church” you now insist that the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod is the true “Lutheran Church”.

      Do you have any mirrors in your house?

  2. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    Hey, it didn’t say if the ELKI synod president, Christiane Groeben, was there. I bet she could have vested up with the best of the ELCA priestitutes and “bishops”. Maybe the Gemeindepraesidentin, Doris Esch, cross dressed for the event.

  3. Christine

    The more I read from the Venerable Past Elder the happier I am to be away from the most argumentative and rigid form of “Lutheranism” on the planet — the “Confessionals.”

    Course, a Lutheran pastor recently posted on his blog that out of the “2.5 million” members of the Missouri Synod, perhaps 750,000 are in church on any given Sunday, so evidentally not everyone agrees with PE.

    Christine

  4. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    Well, as Ronald Reagan said to Walter Mondale (for a fund raiser for whom as a teen I once parked cars because as a Catholic one was of course a Democrat) there you go again.

    The ELKI is not “my people”. They are not Lutheran, though they use the word.

    Calling oneself something one is not does not make it so. It is a hallmark of neurosis, and one does the “courtesy” of calling a person so afflicted by the name they use only to establish communication early in therapy. Good morning Napoleon, how is the war going?

    The ELKI and other member bodies of the WLF as well as the WLF itself stand for nothing that is Lutheran except the use of a name that itself was originally perjorative (not Christian, Lutheran) and its Concordia to be a loose basis for something else. The only “dialogue” to be had with such as these is a call to repentance.

    And you once again say I said something I did not and do not say, here, that the LCMS is the true Lutheran church. So let this be clear against this Catholic labyrinth wherein You said This which is actually That: LCMS is not the true Lutheran church and neither is any such body, not the other member bodies of the International Lutheran Council with whom we are in fellowship nor the ILC itself.

    When I made my profession of faith I spoke of supporting the “evangelical Lutheran church” which is a reference to no church body. It is only the centuries-long Catholic confusion of “church” with “state” that makes church have to take on characteristics of a state for identification.

    Now apparently church attendance is a doctrinal vote.

    If it is rigid and argumentative to use words for what they mean rather than what one wishes them to mean, count me in.

    Ironically, even as a Catholic, I would find moaning about not being able to commune to-gether ignoring that this body ordains women and a number of other issues on which it diametrically opposes Catholicism, and not on Lutheran but grounds derived from the world, laughable.

    • The “moaning about not being able to commune together” relates to the fact that in the body of those attending the Lutheran parish in Rome are people who are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Regardless of what their church body has decided to do over women’s ordination and a host of other things, it is to our detriment that there are baptised members of the body of Christ with whom we are unable to commune. We are unable to commune with them precisely because of the disagreements on doctrine. This does not mean that we are not saddened that this disagreement (and hence lack of communion) should exist. When you cease to be saddened that you and your Christian brother or sister cannot share the Eucharist with you due to problems of heretical teaching and practice, you cease to preserve even the semblence of the charity that Christ prayed would exist between his followers.

      And BTW, I take it that, even if “LCMS is not the true Lutheran church and neither is any such body”, you regard yourself as a “true Lutheran” in contradistinction to your brothers and sisters in the “Lutheran” parish in Rome?

      In which case, I would ask again, do you have any mirrors in your household?

      • Susan Peterson

        While I am finding Past Elder’s tone here to be very unpleasant, my experience through my husband with the Episcopal Church in the US, from which his parish has seceded to join the new Anglican Church in North America, suggests to me that he probably has a point about the mainline Lutheran body (which I believe is in ‘communion’ with the Episcopal Church). Not only do these bodies ordain women, they ordain ‘partnered’ homosexuals. Sermons are preached in which it is suggested that ‘the historical Jesus’ is not identical with the second person of the trinity, the resurrection is an “experience that our faith is alive” or some such blah. Women’s ministries pages suggest experimental ‘eucharists’ in which women sit around in a circle and offer ‘raisin cakes’ (to Astarte?) [this was taken down when conservatives called attention to it.] I suggest that these are no longer Christian bodies, and that it is mere ecumenical shadow boxing to try to conduct ecumenical discussions with them, and furthermore that Pope Benedict knows this very well. I suspect he nevertheless wanted to make a gesture towards a community of the Reformation, and this one was supposed to stand for that idea, whether in reality it does or not.
        I am sure there are some Christians still in these bodies, of course, and what you say applies to them.
        Susan Peterson

  5. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    Interminable Catholic word play? Was noch?

    Yes I am saddened that my Christian brothers and sisters cannot participate with me in the Eucharist due to problems of heretical teaching and practice — and when you drop those heretical teachings and practices the problem will be over.

  6. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    In the mean time, you (which is not you personally but the RCC) can just drop this well disguised effort to get everyone to talk, talk, talk, until they end up Catholic called “ecumenism”. At least the Borg in Star Trek were honest about it: Resistance is fultile, you will be assimilated.

  7. Christine

    Yes I am saddened that my Christian brothers and sisters cannot participate with me in the Eucharist due to problems of heretical teaching and practice — and when you drop those heretical teachings and practices the problem will be over.

    Well, yes — except, as I found out when I was Lutheran, it does happen across Lutheran denominations — there is quite a bit of intercommunion between the ELCA and LCMS. When I was still attending the LCMS last year, my ELCA sister and her husband received at my parish, and the pastor was quite conservative but told me that he was not going to per se refuse Communion to an ELCA Lutheran per se, he would judge on an individual basis.

    I boldly presume the Lord will do the same.

    Christine

  8. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    Oh for God’s sake, another “you do it too so therefore it’s OK for us”.

    If an LCMS pastor refuses to follow LCMS practice that speaks of the pastor not the practice.

    For that matter, for years that practice also involved a person announcing intention to commune the day before to the pastor, who would examine the candidate so to speak and deal with whatever may be a barrier to communing, so that at the service only those who have been examined commune. Catholics for years did something similar, as the lines for confession on Saturday attest.

    In the service, we do not judge hearts, and precisely to not judge hearts we do not presume to judge what is in a person’s heart but go by the public associations they make, such as membership in a body which holds heretical doctrine, since if you don’t believe what a church teaches why are you there. If a pastor fails to do this, it is a matter for his supervisor, and if th supervisor fails to do this, likewise. Such failures have nothing to do with the rightness of the practice.

    Not to mention no care in this regard is taken by the RCC at all; if I got in communion line at any of the RC services which I from time to time must attend, I could line up too and would be communed no problem despite the fact that by Catholic lights pre or post conciliar I may not. which makes all the moaning and groaning even more ridiculous at such events. If these “Lutherans” want so bad to commune with Catholics let them show up minus their get-ups at a Catholic parish in which they are neither known nor recognised, and they will get their wish.

    I have to desire whatever to receive Communion in a Catholic service, even though Communion is there to be received, because I do not commune with this church body in its false doctrine.

    The practice is there out of love, that those who might commune where they don’t commune, which Scripture says leads to all sorts of ailments, physical even as well as spiritual, do not foolishly bring it upon themselves.

  9. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    Typo, in the penultimate paragraph, read “I have no desire…”. I was typing fast to make sure I did not miss Brother Swaggart’s telecast, which looking at the clock rather than out the window I see is not on for another hour. Bleeding daylight savings time anyway.

    • If an LCMS pastor refuses to follow LCMS practice that speaks of the pastor not the practice

      Would this be a case of “What the LCMS REALLY practices”? How come that works for you when you want it, but we aren’t allowed to use the same excuse for silliness among our camp?

      Really, PE. Have I said how contrary you can be sometimes? It drives us crazy.

      We still love you, but.

  10. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    No, it is not a case of “what LCMS REALLY practices”.

    When an LCMS pastor ignores the teaching of LCMS and practices something else, maybe even attempting a justification of it by saying it is closed communion really, then that pastor is flat assed wrong, and worse, LCMS in that instance does not practice closed communion, and worse yet, those subjected to that behaviour are misled and may have no opportunity to find that out, and the fact is we (LCMS) have quite a lot of that sort of thing going on re this issue and many others, and even worse yet, some of our supervisors not only do nothing about it but encourage it actually.

    It is that hypothetical pastor, and if applicable his errant supervisors, who engage in “what LCMS REALLY teaches”. Likewise the LWF and its member bodies, who take our confessions as the postconciliar RCC has taken Catholicism and reinvent it as something else but call it by the same name and claim it is the same thing.

    The difference is: confessional Lutherans hold to the “Lutheranism”, which is to say as Concordia itself says, Christianity, of the confessions; whereas postconciliar Catholicism in the form of the “reform of the reform” school advocated here advocate a “what the Catholic Church REALLY teaches’ that is not what the Catholic Church really teaches but a milder form of what the Catholic Church in my living memory taught was dissent from it, and ironically takes its place as one of the many versions of “what the Catholic Church REALLY teaches” competing for the title which is not even shared by other supposedly orthodox postconciliar Catholics, as Kellmeyer’s recent bombastic appearance here demonstrated, let alone this blog’s continuing assault on Brian and CA, whose “what the Catholic Church REALLY teaches” is dissent too, but at least it has some semblance of resonance with what led to the creation of postconciliar Catholicism whereas this nonsense here, far from being a reform of the reform is simply a revision of the revisionism.

    • Your answers, PE, are sometimes as impenatrable in their tangle of words as they are in their tangle of logic.

    • Terry Maher (Past Elder)

      That is only because you must at all costs maintain the fiction of The Catholic Church The Catholic Church The Catholic Church because, to say the hard words, without it the answer to your Lutheran problems disapears.

      So let’s try it a different way — since you insist we are all contending for our various versions of what our various church bodies REALLY teach (we are not, but let’s take it for the moment since you refuse to budge from it) then it looks like this:

      Much of what you insist the Catholic Church REALLY teaches is exactly what the Catholic Church REALLY taught me is dissent from what the Catholic Church teaches and a danger to it, and bears as much resemblance to what the Catholic Church taught me as the current positions of the ELCA or the ECUSA resemble their historic positions, nor, for that matter, does it resemble much the voices for reform which culminated in the recent council to the point that you haul things out of the documents of the council that the people who wrote them before my own ears and eyes said was not in them, and no, I am not speaking only of my brother Godfrey of happy and blessed memory even though he was wrong on damn near everything. OTOH, confessional Lutherans in what they insist the “Lutheran church” REALLY teaches stand for nothing other than what the “Lutheran church” REALLY taught until, to modify the phrase often used as this was happening, the Rhine became polluted and then polluted the Tiber.

      • Remind me never to ask you to untangle a ball of string for me, Terry. I fear the end result would be worse than the first…

        • Terry Maher (Past Elder)

          Well again old boy, that is only because you must maintain the fiction that the postconciliar Catholic Church is not apostate from the Catholic Church so it can continue to be the deus ex machina solution to your Protestant problem.

  11. Christine

    If an LCMS pastor refuses to follow LCMS practice that speaks of the pastor not the practice.

    No, it also says that the Synodical postion is not being followed which begs the question, what purpose is that structure realling serving in the LCMS? At my LCMS parish it was very easy to determine who was a member and who was not. There were two Sunday services totalling about 100-112 members divided between each. The pastor knew who belonged and who didn’t.

    The Catholic position is clearly spelled out in the Missalettes in the pews. Since Catholic parishes, at least in the suburbs are much larger there’s no way for any priest to know who is Catholic and who isn’t, so if a non-Catholic receives intentionally it’s on them, not the priest.

    Christine

  12. Christine

    If an LCMS pastor refuses to follow LCMS practice that speaks of the pastor not the practice.

    No, it also says that the Synodical postion is not being followed which begs the question, what purpose is that structure really serving in the LCMS? At my LCMS parish it was very easy to determine who was a member and who was not. There were two Sunday services totalling about 100-112 members divided between each. The pastor knew who belonged and who didn’t.

    The Catholic position is clearly spelled out in the Missalettes in the pews. Since Catholic parishes, at least in the suburbs are much larger there’s no way for any priest to know who is Catholic and who isn’t, so if a non-Catholic receives intentionally it’s on them, not the priest.

    Christine

  13. Christine

    Good grief, I seem to be on a double post train here, so sorry!

    Christine

  14. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    We do not claim that our hierarchy, to use the term, is a group of men with authority and a message from the Apostles based on transmission of a character by a continuous laying on of hands.

    So to speak of the leadership of one body and tha leadership of another body is inapplicable since the two bodies and their leaderships have a different understanding of what that is. Of course our district presidents and the council of presidents do not behave like a Catholic bishop or the Catholic bishops collectively. In speaking of the occupants of one office by the standards of the occupants of another office one speaks of nothing at all.

    If the “priest” does not know who is coming to commune and takes no action to know, it is most certainly on him as the administrator of the sacrament. It is no different than the LCMS pastor who prints our communion beliefs in the bulletin and says there, now we have closed communion, it’s on you not me. There is no church in the world which has on its books closed communion and does nothing to uphold it more than the RCC.

  15. Christine

    There is no church in the world which has on its books closed communion and does nothing to uphold it more than the RCC.

    Yeah — like when my Lutheran nephew married a Catholic girl – and didn’t receive Communion at the nuptial Mass.

    • Terry Maher (Past Elder)

      As the groom, presumably the “priest” knew who and what he was. Let him walk up to take communion at a regular Sunday “Mass” where he is not known and it is his.

  16. Christine

    As the groom, presumably the “priest” knew who and what he was. Let him walk up to take communion at a regular Sunday “Mass” where he is not known and it is his.

    Yes, the priest did know but ya know what? Until I was formally received into the Catholic Church I did not receive Communion. They say that integrity is what a person’s actions are when no one is looking. If a non-Catholic presents himself/herself for Communion with the full knowledge of the teaching of the Church that one must be in full communion with the See of Peter, that’s their lack of bona fides.

    And my nephew still doesn’t receive Communion when he goes to Mass with his wife.

    There is no way for a priest to ascertain who is and is not Catholic at a large parish. Nor should adults behave in such an infantile manner as to think they “got away with something.”

    Christine

  17. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    Clerical sexual abuse or open communion, nothing but excuses for lack of action.

    Judas H Priest, enough of personal stories about who did what. I did not take Communion at my own parents’ Catholic funerals if you want such stories, because though Communion is there to be had, communion with with a double-speaking, duplicitous mockery of the catholic church such as the “Catholic Church” is absolutely out of the question.

  18. Christine

    Judas H Priest, enough of personal stories about who did what.

    Please do enlighten as to how that is any different from the fact that you have repeated your “story” here innumerable times about why you were once Catholic but are no longer Catholic becuase the Catholic Church is no longer the Catholic Church but since you are now a “Confessional” Lutheran both the pre and postconciliar Catholic Churches are false anyway so who cares?

    Talk about Alice down the rabbit hole.

    Seems to me you spend a lot more time posting at this Catholic blog than you do at your Lutheran ones.

    Christine

  19. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    Die Aufklaerung: the difference is, as I have said time and again despite the repeated efforts to make what I have to say on the matter all about me rather than what is said, it is not about me or my “story”.