Catholics and Lutherans at 500: Ecclesia semper reformanda by James Frederick Brown

On October 31, 2016, Reformation Day, a two-part event in Lund and Malmö, Sweden, calling together both Roman Catholics and Lutherans, signalled the beginning of a year-long global commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. Podcasts of both the Common Prayer service at St. Lawrence Cathedral, Lund, and the subsequent gathering, Together in Hope in the Malmö Arena, are posted at and

It is easy to underestimate the significance of this occasion against the backdrop of at least 450 years of schism. The Lutheran Reformation itself redrew the map of Christendom, not only for the medieval world, but for all the generations that have followed. To contemplate reconciliation at this late date is unbelievable for people acquainted with the long history of Christian denominationalism and Protestant-Catholic sectarianism. The Second Vatican Council of 1962-1965, however, set a new course for Catholics and Lutherans, a course whose chief feature was a commitment to ecumenical dialogue. The mandate of the dialogue partners has been to re-examine the points of departure of the two churches, to revisit their shared history in its socio-political context, and to sift through the doctrines and beliefs of Catholics and Lutherans for convergence and agreement. Read more