The Pope Will Attend the 500th Anniversary of Reformation in Sweden
In an effort to forge Christian unity, Pope Francis apologized for all the Catholic wrongs executed against Christians belonging to other churches and said that he would make a trip to Sweden in order to commemorate the 500th Jubilee marking the beginning of the Reformation by Protestants.
The solitary-day-long trip to Lund, a southern Swedish city, scheduled to be undertaken on the 31st of October, will constitute the maiden visit of any Pope to the country after Pope John Paul II had visited five countries in Scandinavia in 1989. The Swedish city is home to the Lutheran World Federation, established in the year 1947.
In an ongoing bid to bridge the gap between the Catholics and the other Christian groups such as Lutherans, Anglicans, Evangelicals and Orthodox; Francis is following the way shown by his predecessors. Additionally, the current Pope is also trying to make use of his personal friendships as official dialogues have often stalled.
Francis made the declaration while celebrating a yearly vespers service in order to commemorate the closure of a prayer that lasts for a week, meant for uniting Christians. Coincidentally, this prayer falls during the Francis’ Holy Year meant for Mercy.
The Pope sought clemency for the offense of divisions – a plea he also made during a trip to a tiny evangelical church in Italy in June last year.
The Pope said on Monday that being bishop of the city of Rome in addition to being pastor of Roman Catholic Church, he would call for mercy and pardon for the sins of Catholics inflicted on other Christians. Additionally, he invited all Catholics to forgive all wrongdoings by Christians belonging to other Churches. He also said that things that had happened can’t be canceled but the burden of past should not continue to harm the relations between the Catholics and the other Christians.
Earlier during the day, the Vatican in its official statement said that the trip to Sweden marks the ecumenical progress that has been shaped during the last 50 years dedicated to the dialogue process between the Lutherans and Catholics. The program is scheduled to include a service of common worship on the basis of a common liturgical guide for Lutherans and Catholics, published recently, so that the churches can celebrate the reformation jointly.
However, a few critics have raised eyebrows and expressed their reservations on the developments. They are of the opinion that it might undermine some of the distinct catholic processes.
Sweden, one of the least religious countries in the world, has a registered population of 113,000 Catholics.
This is HUGE: Pope Francis planning to join Lutherans to mark 500th anniversary of Reformation. Seriously. 🙂 https://t.co/BUFvVM5EkV
— Sam Chaise (@sam_chaise) January 27, 2016