ROME, January 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A newly released document from the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Christian Unity promotes the upcoming January 18-25 ‘Week of Prayer for Christian Unity’ with the theme ‘Reconciliation: The love of Christ compels us.’ Encouraging commemorations in all dioceses of the world, the Pontifical Council notes the theme is drawn from the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. In 2017, it says, “Lutheran and Catholic Christians will for the first time commemorate together the beginning of the Reformation.” The text also states that “Catholics are now able to hear Luther’s challenge for the Church of today, recognizing him as a ‘witness to the gospel.’”
The announcement follows on the heels of Pope Francis’ controversial trip to Lund, Sweden, where he joined in the launch of the 500th year anniversary of the most devastating split in Christianity in its history. The Lutheran Church of Sweden to which Pope Francis went for the celebration accepts contraception, abortion, homosexuality, and female clergy, all of which are strictly and unalterably forbidden in the Catholic Church.
Nevertheless, the Vatican is pushing the joint celebration of the Reformation focusing on the common element of “Jesus Christ and his work of reconciliation as the center of Christian faith.”