May 31, 2017

The Arlington Catholic Herald and Catholic News Service produced several stories covering the conference commemorating the 500th anniversary of the reformation, which was co-sponsored by Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Catholic University's School of Theology and religious Studies, the Vatican's Pontifical Committee of Historical Sciences, and the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.

It was only a declaration against the selling of indulgences. Yet a few years after Augustinian priest Martin Luther wrote the 95 Theses, Christianity was divided between more than Lutherans and Catholics. Anabaptists, Zwinglists, Calvinists and others groups took root all across Europe, and the religious turmoil quickly turned political. Peasant uprisings, religious persecution and, most notably, the 30 Years War turned the continent into a sea of blood.

Continue reading in the Arlington Catholic Herald.


The head of the Vatican’s office for Christian unity has said the Reformation might have been averted if only bishops at the time had been more open to criticism.

Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, told an audience of Catholic and Lutheran leaders at the Catholic University of America: “If Martin Luther’s call for reform and repentance had found open ears among the bishops of the time and of the pope in Rome, the reform intended to be initiated by him [Luther] would not have become the Reformation.” ...

Continue reading in the Catholic Herald (UK).


Did the split between Martin Luther and the Catholic Church in 1521 have to be what theologians call a “church-dividing” event?

That is the question some theologians and historians are asking in 2017, the 500th anniversary of Luther’s posting of his 95 theses on a church door in Wittenberg, Germany.

Yet despite the question being asked, the answer is not immediately clear.

To say no, suggested Kenneth Appold, a professor of Reformation history at Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey, one would have to identify some mechanism in the Catholic Church of the early 16th century that could have kept Luther in the fold. ...

Continue reading in Catholic Philly. 


Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch, renowned for his ecumenical efforts, addressed a Washington gathering of Catholic and Lutheran leaders striving for unity.

Koch's speech took place May 30 at "The 500th Anniversary of Martin Luther's Posting of the Ninety-Five Theses Conference: Luther and the Shaping of the Catholic Tradition," held at The Catholic University of America.

In his address, Koch called for a new understanding of Martin Luther that takes into account his historical and religious context. ...

Continue reading in the National Catholic Reporter. 


Martin Luther used two medieval traditions to form his position on justification – a stance that nearly 500 years later ultimately found acceptance among Catholics, according to a German Lutheran theologian and pastor.

In theological terms, justification is God's act of removing the guilt and penalty of sin while at the same time declaring a sinner righteous through Christ's sacrifice on the cross.

Luther absorbed the work of 15th-century philosopher Gabriel Biel but ultimately rejected it, according to the Rev. Theodor Dieter, director of the Institute for Ecumenical Research in Germany. Luther, though, accepted the ideas of an author whose name was never made known but whose work Luther himself published in 1516 and again in 1518. ...

Continue reading in the Catholic Register.