While some things have changed with the Roman Catholic Church to bring Catholics and Protestants closer together after five hundred years, many major differences remain to divide them. One approach to this quandary is to minimize the division. For example, it is anticipated that within the next year, Pope Francis will declare that the Reformation is over. Working from the Joint Declaration of the Doctrine of Justification, he will emphasize the agreements achieved on this once divisive doctrine and underscore that the sixteenth century anathemas (condemnations) of Protestants by Catholics and of Catholics by Protestants are removed. Thus, the Reformation will be formally finished.
Tragically, this perspective fails to address the continuing differences between the two traditions. The Catholic Church still holds to untrue doctrines of justification, salvation, authority, transubstantiation, Mary, seven sacraments that are effective ex opere operato, and purgatory. It is not helpful to skirt those issues for the sake of unity in a lowest-common-denominator approach.
While we can agree that much has changed, we must also agree that the Reformation remains unfinished.
Sunday, October 02, 2016
Is the Reformation Over?