Monday, September 26, 2011

Pope Benedict In Germany

Here's the headline from Bloomberg:

Pope Benedict Disappoints German Protestant Leaders Seeking Common Ground

Looking at the article, it would have been more accurate to caption it:

Protestants Disappointed That Pope Is Catholic

Since the author of the article appears to be lacking some journalistic skills, I'll translate as best I can.

Pope Benedict XVI disappointed Protestants seeking common ground with Catholics by stressing differences between the two groups, as he continued a four-day journey in his native Germany.

Pope Benedict XVI disappointed Protestants by being honest.

The Evangelical Church of Germany, or EKD, an umbrella group of German Evangelical and Lutheran denominations, had raised the issue of joint communion for married couples of different Christian denominations. Speaking in the eastern city of Erfurt today, the Catholic leader rebuffed expectations by saying that one can’t “think through or negotiate” faith.

A bunch of heretics and schismatics approached the Pope with a proposal to commit sacrilege. His Holiness said no.

While the meeting between the 84-year-old pontiff and leaders of Germany’s protestant denominations was “open and friendly,” Bishop Johannes Friedrich, head of the United Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Germany, said he would have wanted to see closer ties. He also expressed disappointment that Benedict declined to discuss the Reformation Jubilee in 2017, five centuries after Luther issued the 95 theses that represented his movement’s rupture from the Catholic Church.

“The pope unfortunately didn’t concretely discuss the Reformation Jubilee in today’s talks,” Friedrich said in a statement posted on the group’s website.

The Pope was polite enough not to bring up the origins and devastating effects of the various heresies and schisms that were wrought by the tragedy often labeled as the Reformation.

There's a tidbit in the end that says the Holy Father praised Luther as a theologian. Having read the whole address over at Whispers, I'm not quite sure how much praise is going on. He basically says that Luther asked important questions, then ignores his answers. He could probably say the same stuff about Ayn Rand. But hey, after the aforementioned massive disappointments, I can see why they'd be looking for a silver lining.


Peter Reilly said...

A bunch of heretics and schismatics approached the Pope with a proposal to commit sacrilege.

Assuming Luther was a heretic and schismatic, I'm not sure that it follows that a Lutheran nearly 500 years later is one. Don't you have to start out orthodox to become heretical and start out united in order to become schismatic ?

Paige said...

This literally made me LOL. ;)

I have a good friend at work who is a Missouri Senate Lutheran and I always like to tease her about how they probably never fixed the hole in our Cathedral door, either.

Throwback said...

Re: the heresy/schism thing. I don't think you're correct on the definition there, especially if we're just talking about a material heretic or schismatic.

Here's how the Code of Canon Law explains it:

"Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same;

schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him."

No need for prior orthodoxy, though you could argue that some folks might not know these truths sufficiently to deny them. Even then, they would fit the bill in the material sense, I think.