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Kässmann: Luther Had No Intention of Dividing the Church
May 22, 2012
The Special Envoy of the Evangelical Church in Germany for the 2017 Reformation Jubilee Margot Kässmann renewed her call for a joint Catholic-Protestant Reformation commemoration. At a meeting in Wittenberg on Tuesday, Kässmann said she thinks "a strictly sectarian Reformation Jubilee is not appropriate." Martin Luther wanted to reform his church, not divide it. "This could be a yardstick for us, too," she added.
However, when talking about the joint celebration, she also mentioned difficulties with the Catholic Church. The papal visit last year brought no indication of "how we may celebrate together constructively," Kässmann said. Benedict XVI had met in Erfurt with Protestant church representatives. Hopes on the part of Protestants, who were expecting an ecumenical signal during the highly symbolic papal visit, were disappointed.
She also turned down a proposal by the Vatican's "ecumenical minister" Kurt Cardinal Koch for a Protestant-Catholic acknowledgment of guilt on this occasion. "One should not speak of a 'jubilee', but rather of a 'Reformation commemoration,' for we cannot celebrate a sin," said the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity just less than a month ago in Vienna. "Protestants cannot go along with this," Kässmann said.
As Reformation Jubilee ambassador, she would like also to promote more reading of the Bible. "For me it is tragic that so many people in Germany no longer read the Bible," she said. She urged a "fresh, new approach to the Bible" and "continuing to tell Bible stories."
Margot Kässmann was a guest at the annual meeting of the Association of Missionary Services (AMD), which is part of the Social Service Agency of the EKD. On the occasion, missionary association general secretary Erhard Berneburg was confirmed in his post by a vote of the assembly of delegates.
The main topic of discussion at the meeting, which will last until Wednesday, is the 2017 Reformation Jubilee. It marks the 500th anniversary of the nailing by Martin Luther of his 95 these on Wittenberg's Castle Church door. The event is considered the point of departure of the Protestant Reformation. Kässmann also had plans to meet with the minister president of Saxony-Anhalt Reiner Haseloff (Christian Democrats) for a stroll and discussion about the jubilee.
May 22, 2012