Luther’s main protest was over the Justification (of Salvation) by Grace alone. The Lutheran Church (and others) has signed a Joint Declaration with the Catholic Church for Justification by Grace through Faith, for Good works.
First of all, I want to thank you for your courage. Yesterday I was at the door of the synod hall with a Lutheran bishop. I said, “You’re a brave man! In a previous age they burned Lutherans here … !” [laughter]
This is a meeting that was organized by Tony [Palmer]. He was very excited by this meeting. And I was too. And I am grateful to Archbishop Robert Wise and to Emiliana, who have chosen to carry the torch, this dream which was Tony’s: this dream of being able to walk in communion. We are sinning against Christ’s will, because we continue to focus on our differences; our shared baptism is more important than our differences. We all believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We all have the Holy Spirit within us, which prays within us.
And we all know that there is a father of lies, the father of all division, the antifather, the devil who pushes in and divides, divides. Tony and I spoke so much of walking together, of going ahead, in what unites us, praying that the Lord Jesus with His strength help us and not let what divides us divide us even more. [others say, ‘Amen!’] !
It’s crazy to have this treasure and yet prefer imitiations of that treasure – the imitations are our differences. What we should care about is the treasure: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the vocation to holiness, the call to preach the Gospel in every corner of the earth, with the certainty that He is with us – he’s not with me because I’m Catholic, he’s not with me because I’m Lutheran, He’s not with me because I’m Orthodox. A theological mess!
Everyone has their own identity, and I assume that each one of us seeks the Truth. But while we do that we should walk together, and pray for each together, and together let’s do works of charity together – Matthew 25, together; the Beatitudes, together.
We each have in our Churches excellent theologians. That’s another way to walk together also. But we shouldn’t wait for them to reach agreement! That’s what I think. [Applause].
There’s one other thing I’d like to say. This is called spiritual ecumenism. But there is something else. Nowadays we are seeing how Christians are being persecuted. I’ve just been in Albania, where they were telling me that they didn’t get asked if they were Catholic or Orthodox – if you were Christian, they would kill you.
Right now in Middle East, and Africa, and so many other countries, how many Christians are being killed! They’re not asked if they are Pentecostals, or Lutherans, Anglicans, Catholics, Orthodox. They’re Christians; and they’re being killed because they believe in Jesus Christ. This is ecumenism of the blood.
I remember one time in Hamburg, in 1986-87, and I met a parish priest. And that parish priest was bringing the cause for the beatification of a Catholic priest who was guillotined by the Nazis for teaching the Catechism to children. During his research he saw the list of those sentenced to death that day and right behind him was a Lutheran pastor who was condemned for the same reason. So that the blood of the priest mixed with the blood of the pastor. The priest went to the bishop and said, “either I bring both the Cause for both together, or neither. That’s ecumenism of blood.
I don’t want to say much more. But there was something else that Tony told me. Whe he was a young boy in school, the black and the white children would walk and play together when when mealtime came, they were separated. And they would say, “but we want to eat together!” And that desire he had inside of him to walk together so we can eat together at the banquet of the Lord.
I want to thank the presence here of Archbishop Robert Wise, Tony’s spiritual father, and Emiliana, a strong woman. Both of them inherit many things from Tony. We’re aware that it was he who brought us together. This desire for unity, to walk together, praying for each other, living the Beatitudes together, fulfilling together Matthew 25, without making an institution, but freely, like brothers. I don’t know if Emiliana would now like to say a few words?
Transcript form Pope Francis and Bishop Tony Palmer to a Pentecostal Conference:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, excuse me, because I speak in Italian. But I am not speaking English. But I will speak no Italian, No English, but ‘Heartfully’. It’s a language more simple and more authentic. It is a simple language. A simple grammar. Two rules: Love God above all, and love the Other [neighbor], because he is your Brother and Sister.
I am here with my Brother, my Bishop Brother, Tony Palmer. We have been friends for years. He told me about your conference, about your meeting. And it’s my pleasure to greet you. A greeting both joyful and nostalgic [yearning]. Joyful because it gives me joy that you have come together to worship Jesus Christ the only Lord. And to pray to the Father and to receive the Spirit. Nostalgic [Yearning] because but… it happens, as within our suburbs. In the suburbs there are families that love each other and families that don’t love each other. Families who come together and families who separate themselves. We are kind of … permit me to say, separated. Separated because it’s sin that has separated us. All our sins. The misunderstandings throughout history. It has been a long road of sins that we all shared in. Who is to blame? We all share the blame. We have all sinned. There is only one blameless, the Lord. I am [yearning] that this separation comes to an end and gives us communion. I am [yearning] of that embrace. That when the Holy Scripture speaks of when Joseph’s Brothers began to starve from hunger, they went to Egypt, to buy, so that they could eat. They wanted to buy, they had money. But they couldn’t eat the money. But there they found something more than food, they found their Brother.
All of us have this currency. The currency of our culture. The currency of our history. We have lot cultural riches and religious riches. And we have diverse traditions.
But we have to encounter one another as Brothers. We must cry together like Joseph did. These tears will unite us. The tears of love. I am speaking to you as a Brother. I speak to you in a simple way, because this will propel us to find each other, to embrace one another. And together to worship Jesus Christ as the only Lord of History.
I thank you profoundly for listening to me. I thank you profoundly for allowing me to speak the language of the heart. And I also ask you a favor. Please pray for me, because I need your prayers. And I will pray for you, I will do it, but I need your prayers. And let’s pray to the Lord that He unites us all. Come on, we are Brothers, let’s give each other a spiritual hug and let God complete the work that He has begun. And this is a miracle; the miracle of unity has begun. A famous Italian author named Manzoni once wrote in his novel of a simple man amongst the people who once said this… “I’ve never see God begin a miracle without Him finishing it well. ‘ He will complete this miracle of unity. I ask you to bless me, and I bless you. From Brother to Brother, I embrace you. Thank you.
Transcript form Pope Francis and Bishop Tony Palmer to a Pentecostal Conference.