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Pope to Finnish Delegation: Luther's intention was to renew the Church, not divide it

2017-01-19

Like every year on the feast of Saint Henry, an ecumenical delegation from Finland has visited the pope in the Vatican.

Pope Francis greeted them one by one, including Cardinal Kurt Koch, whom he congratulated.

"Congratulations on the article in the Osservatore Romano."

He also greeted a priest named Francisco with whom he joked about the cold in Finland and its complicated language.

"Good morning Holy Father, I am Paco."
"Is it very cold?"
"A little, yes."
"And did you learn that devilish language?"
"Yes, I learned it with great fatigue."

Another example of how successful the meeting went was when the head of the delegation delivered his speech in Spanish.

"Your Holiness. I will read the speech in Spanish. Although I do not speak it, I understand everything I am going to say."

The meeting also recalled the historic meeting in Lund, Sweden as a very significant milestone on the road to this dialogue.

POPE FRANCIS
"This joint commemoration of the Reformation was important on both the human and theological-spiritual levels. After 50 years of official ecumenical dialogue between Catholics and Lutherans, we have succeeded in clearly articulating points of view which today we agree on."

Pope Francis also explained what true ecumenism is based on.

POPE FRANCIS
"True ecumenism is based on a shared conversion to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Redeemer."

The pope affirmed that he believes Martin Luther's original intention was to renew the Church and not to divide it. In conclusion, he invited Catholics and Lutherans to take advantage of this opportunity to rediscover the Gospel together in 2017 when the Reformation is being commemorated.


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