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Toward Big Hearted Ecumenism: Pope Francis Speaks to Lutheran Leaders and Shows Us the Way Comments

I believe that it is truly important for everyone to confront in dialogue the historical reality of the Reformation, its consequences and the responses it elicited. Catholics and Lutherans can ask forgiveness for the harm they have caused one another and for their offenses committed in the sight of God. Together we can rejoice in the longing for unity which the Lord has awakened in our hearts, and which makes us look with hope to the future. ... Continue Reading

11 - 20 of 21 Comments

  1. chris
    1 year ago

    It's nice that the Catholics recognize the Orthodox sacraments (i.e. mysteries) as "valid" (i hate that juridical term). But we won't do the same for you nor should we. No prayers with heretics. No union with heretics!

  2. Tom McGuire
    1 year ago


    Please reread the words of Francis, Bishop of Rome, again. Your fears are not grounded in the reality of what Francis is trying to do. Why can't we forgive one another? Why do we have to hold positions that have been resolved in 50 years of honest authentic dialogue? Ultimately, the work of unity is the work of the Holy Spirit. Can we not all pray together for the unity the Gospel calls us to?

    These words of Francis are powerful call for us to engage with one another in prayer and dialogue for the unity that Jesus Christ is.

    Francis said: "I believe that it is truly important for everyone to confront in dialogue the historical reality of the Reformation, its consequences and the responses it elicited. Catholics and Lutherans can ask forgiveness for the harm they have caused one another and for their offenses committed in the sight of God. Together we can rejoice in the longing for unity which the Lord has awakened in our hearts, and which makes us look with hope to the future.

    In light of this decades-long journey and of the many examples of fraternal communion between Lutherans and Catholics which we have witnessed, and encouraged by faith in the grace given to us in the Lord Jesus Christ, I am certain that we will continue our journey of dialogue and of communion, addressing fundamental questions as well as differences in the fields of anthropology and ethics. Certainly, there is no lack of difficulties, and none will lack in the future.

    They will continue to require patience, dialogue and mutual understanding. But we must not be afraid! We know well - as Benedict XVI often reminded us - that unity is not primarily the fruit of our labors, but the working of the Holy Spirit, to whom we must open our hearts in faith, so that he will lead us along the paths of reconciliation and communion."

    Michael do not be afraid!

  3. Don
    1 year ago

    Thank you Deacon Keith Fournier for your in depth of knowledge and unbiased perspective about the topic of unity. May the Holy Spirit continue to bless you as a servant of God and with the writing to our Catholic faith readers. May the Holy Spirit continue to guide our Pope Francis for the truth that many dare not to speak up or lack of. Through faith we are healed. May the Holy Spirit soften the hearts of many catholics so they can listen from the hearts and let the healing begin.

    Judging Others: Matthew 7:1-5
    “Stop judging,* that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite,* remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.


  4. Trinbagonian
    1 year ago

    MICHAEL, what's the problem??? I am trying to get you. Are you really Catholic? Catholic means universal. I can't understand your fears for the true Church. I can't understand why you will not want the Church to reach out to other Christians and any other, for that matter. You ought to be proud!!! Proud of the humility of Church and Pope and Catholic leadership displayed! And proud of the strength and power of the True Church that is not fearful of openness and like Jesus, longs for unity. And proud of The Leadership of The Holy Spirit Closing strong divisions centuries old.
    Didn't Christ Himself admit that other persons can belong to other suasions and yet do works in His Name when the Apostles told Him that another person was casting out demons in His Name? Christ Himself said that if the person is doing so, then he is not against Him and must be for Him (Luke 9:49).
    Come on ... do you really hold that other than the angels, the Holy Family and Apostles, and Holy Trinity there are only Catholics in Heaven? Come on. Drop this thing you have with other faiths. Be obedient.
    And drop this thing with ecclesiology. Be like the good Samaritan ... wear the Church of the Heart ... ecclesiology of the Heart MICHAEL. Let's write Jesus onto our Heart! So hard to do!

    DEACON, I just wanted to let you know that slowly The Holy Spirit Implanted in my heart that I am to pray for unity of Church. When I pass by other churches, I have a strong urge to pray a Hail Mary for unity. And the Spirit (I believe) has also instructed me as to how to purify my prayer for unity. When I first started being inclined to pray for unity, it was about getting them to be Catholic. Eventually, my heart felt the impurity and lack of sincerity of this sort of prayer; I neglected to see the hearts of the non-Catholic really and love.
    Now my prayer is for all persons to come together for us to glorify God and reconcile with Him and for us to be faithful and be incorporated into His Church in thanksgiving; for all of us to join in pleasing God in oneness. Love. To feel the unity that Is God and flows to/from Him ... Kingdom on earth. To be Catholic ... real food for all (that we might be capable). And I thank Him that other faiths can praise Him too. And that all can experience conversion.
    Unity is a difficult concept, a mystery but God Longs for this. Pope Francis and The Holy Spirit show the way for those who are willing to take guidance. May we all understand.

  5. CN7
    1 year ago

    Pray for those making fun & used Christ Jesus name to cause harms to others, as well as those persecute & killing of the people & servants of Christ Jesus.
    Pray that these evil deeds people may renounce their evil deeds and pick up their own cross of sins to bring the good news of our lord Jesus to their world with peace, and starts reconciliation with the victims they have created. Amen.

  6. abey
    1 year ago

    On the other hand Solomon was the first great Eccumenist, eventually to the Politics, where began the fall of Israel to finally fall away.

  7. James K Disney
    1 year ago

    Deacon Keith, thank you for your reflections on Pope Francis, Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue and the Unity of the Church. At root the Church is One. Christ is the Vine and we are the branches. The problem for me is that the disunity of baptized believers is a disease that prevents the Vine from fully nourishing the branches and thus the branches and leaves are seriously affected.
    Let us never be afraid to affirm Faith and Theology rooted in Christ. Let not look away from the serious problems that affect ecumenical realities. Let us face the divisions among Christians and the exploitation of that division by the forces of secularity. Finally let us trust Pope Francis and his ways of engaging separated brothers and sisters and his outreach to the peripheries of the Church and the World.

    May we pray for the Pope, for those who are concerned about his manner of speaking and for those Catholics who don't pay attention at all to what he says. May we proceed prayerfully and actively to rejoice in our Unity and actively to repent of our disunity. Thank you. - Jim

  8. Richard
    1 year ago

    Deacon Keith - from a Catholic-Lutheran household - Amen. We pray for the success of these efforts and thank you for your fresh perspective.

  9. Joe
    1 year ago

    Yes, we are all Christians. No, Lutheran's are not Catholic. Martin Luther split us apart when he changed his Bible translation from Latin to German Romans 3- 28. He wrote through (Faith alone) we gain salvation. Our Bible says through (Faith and Works) we gain salvation. He is the person who split from the Church. I think Pope Francis is wonderful and is guided by the Holy Spirit. Thank you Deacon Keith Fournier, great article. It's making people think and study their faith.

  10. michael
    1 year ago

    Deacon Keith...with all due respect, you need to take a remedial course in basic ecclesiology 101. The Church is not in anyway divided. Each Sunday we pray the Creed in which we hold that the Church is unam, sanctam, catholicam, et apostolicam. The Catholic Church is ONE and she in no way has become divided. Her oneness like her holiness, her catholicity, and her apostolicity is something she can never lose. The Vatican II document on ecumenism clearly states that the charism of unity is present in the Catholic Church and it is something she can never lose. The ultimate goal is to bring all men into not some future "church", but into the present Catholic Church outside of which there is absolutely no salvation (Dogmatic Teaching Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus).

    As a final note, the term Catholic Christian is a very ancient term. It was first developed to distinguish true Christians from heretics. Catholic Christians were those who held on to the whole Faith and did not tear it apart. Unfortunately, this phrase is now falsely used to suggest that Catholics Christians are just another branch or variety of the Christian Church as are Orthodox Christians, Lutheran Christians, etc.. This is a condemned position. There is not a branch ecclesiology. That is the great error of the Anglicans.

    Your false ecclesiology must be corrected as it is causing untold confusion in the minds of the Faithful.

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