LUND, Sweden — Jorge Bergoglio, also known as “Pope Francis,” marked the 499th anniversary of the Reformation on Monday with an ecumenical prayer gathering in Sweden, where he called for reconciliation between Lutherans and Roman Catholics.
According to reports, the head of the Lutheran World Federation, Bishop Munib Younan, was present for the event at the Lund Cathedral and the two signed an agreement vowing better dialogue between the two groups.
“As Catholics and Lutherans, we have undertaken a common journey of reconciliation,” Bergoglio said during the service. “Now, in the context of the commemoration of the Reformation of 1517, we have a new opportunity to accept a common path, one that has taken shape over the past fifty years in the ecumenical dialogue between the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church.”
“We have the opportunity to mend a critical moment of our history by moving beyond the controversies and disagreements that have often prevented us from understanding one another,” he stated.
Bergoglio said that Catholics and Lutherans should acknowledge their wrongs and move forward.
“We too must look with love and honesty at our past, recognizing error and seeking forgiveness, for God alone is our judge,” he opined. “Certainly, there was a sincere will on the part of both sides to profess and uphold the true faith, but at the same time we realize that we closed in on ourselves out of fear or bias with regard to the faith which others profess with a different accent and language.”
The Roman Catholic leader also praised Martin Luther as a positive figure who pointed others to the centrality of Scripture and man’s dependence on God.