Home Diocese Focus on Mercy is Catholic-Lutheran Common Ground, Cardinal says

Focus on Mercy is Catholic-Lutheran Common Ground, Cardinal says

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The ecumenical commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017 can be a time to celebrate the fact that Christians are no longer “on the path of separation, but that of unity,” said Cardinal Walter Kasper, former president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Catholics and Lutherans are finding common ground in what Cardinal Kasper described as “the original, fundamental” emphasis of Martin Luther, “which is the Gospel of grace and mercy and a call to conversion and renewal. The path toward full unity is open, even though it may be long and full of obstacles,” the cardinal wrote in a new book, which is based on talks he gave in Germany in January. The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, published the concluding chapter of the book in its May 19 edition. In the introduction, the newspaper said, Cardinal Kasper recognizes that “for many years Catholics considered Luther simply to be a heretic,” the person who divided the Western church. But over the past few decades, Catholic historical and theological studies have come to a greater appreciation of Luther’s faith and broader acceptance of some of the main points of his theology, not to mention his hymns, such as “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”