2018 Monthly Messenger


 Lutherans and Roman Catholics on the Way in Southwestern Pennsylvania

Almost 500 years ago, the movement known as the “Reformation” was launched in Germany by Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic monk, priest, and scholar. The 16th century Reformation, a movement which continues today, had some very positive results, including: The encouragement the laity to read the Bible in their own language, promoting the dignity of all vocations (not just those to the priesthood and religious life), and nudging the late medieval Roman Catholic Church towards reforms instituted by the Council of Trent, including ending abuses associated with practice of indulgences, and the institution of the modern seminary system. The Reformation also had the unfortunate, unintentional result of giving rise to the fracture of western Christianity. Today, in many homes, extended families, workplaces and communities, people experience misunderstanding, mistrust, hurt, and division among the followers of Jesus Christ.

This past year, the Catholic Church and the churches of the Lutheran World Federation joined together to mark the 500th anniversary of the launch of the Reformation. This joint commemoration was embraced in local Catholic dioceses and archeparchies, and in the local synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Amercia (ELCA). Bishop Edward Malesic of the Diocese of Greensburg, Bishop Kurt Kusserow of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod of the ELCA, Archbishop William Skurla of the Metropolitan Archeparchy of Pittsburgh, and Bishop David Zubik of the Diocese of Pittsburgh set forth in a joint letter their shared hope for and commitment to “an increase in mutual understanding, reconciliation, and a more visible unity of the Church….” They call upon all of us to pray both personally and communally that gospel of Jesus Christ will result in efforts towards common prayer, demonstration of mercy and the desire for peace with justice.

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