“Pope Francis” in the shadow of Martin Luther
The traditionalist Roman Catholic website Rorate-Caeli recently asked the question, “To which Church does Pope Bergoglio belong?”
Already on the books for “Pope Francis” is a scheduled trip to Lund, Sweden, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation (October 31, 2017).
Two anniversaries overlap each other in 2017: the 100 years of the Fatima apparitions, occurring between May 13th and October 13th 1917, and the 500 years of Luther’s revolt, beginning in Wittenberg, Germany, October 31st 1517….
The start of the centenary of the Fatima apparitions on October 13th 2016 was buried under a blanket of silence. That same day, Pope Francis received in the Paul VI Audience Hall, a thousand Lutheran “pilgrims” and in the Vatican a statue of Martin Luther was honoured, as appears in the images Antonio Socci published on his Facebook page. Next October 31st, moreover, Pope Francis will go to Lund in Sweden, where he will take part in a joint Catholic-Lutheran ceremony commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. As can be read in the communiqué drawn up by the World Lutheran Federation and the Papal Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, the aim of the event is “to express the gifts of the Reform and ask forgiveness for the division perpetuated by Christians of the two traditions.”
The Valdese theologian and pastor, Paolo Ricca, involved for decades in ecumenical dialogue, voiced his satisfaction “seeing as it is the first time a Pope commemorates the Reform … By taking part in the commemoration, as the highest representative of the Catholic Church is prepared to do, means, in my view, to consider the Reform as a positive event in the history of the Church which also did some good for Catholicism...
Earlier I’ve noticed that “Pope Francis” intends to be cleaning house. In that article, I noted that “it seems, at the very least, that this pope is going to move in the direction of conciliarism, and as he indicated once before, in the direction of the the Ravenna document,” an unofficial document prepared in conjunction with some Eastern Orthodox writers that suggests possible ways for a return to the “conciliarity” of the first nine centuries of church history.
This interview with Ricca also suggests that there may be some radical changes afoot:
According to Ricca, the main contribution offered by Pope Francis is “his effort to reinvent the papacy, that is, the search for a new and different way of understanding and living the ministry of the Bishop of Rome. This search – presuming my interpretation somewhat hits the mark - might take us a long way, since the papacy – because of the way it has been understood and lived over the last 1000 years – is one of the great obstacles to Christian Unity. It seems to me Pope Francis is moving towards a model of the papacy different to the traditional one, with respect to which the other Christian Churches might take on new positions. If it were so, this theme might be completely reconsidered in ecumenical circles.”
The fact that this interview was published on October 9th by Vatican Insider, considered a semi-official Vatican site, makes one think that this interpretation of the Lund trip as well as the papal intentions, have been authorized and are agreeable to Pope Francis [italics in original, bold emphasis is mine].
In his “cleaning house”, just how far does pope Bergoglio intend to go?