(Washington / Rome) According to reports from U.S. media, the Vatican intends to Reformation 2017 with the Evangelicals to publish a common "dialogue paper". The aim of the declaration is a "shared commitment to mission" as the Boston Globe reported.
In 2017 the Protestant world will celebrate 500 years of "Reformation" with Martin Luther's theses at Wittenberg. In 2017 the Catholic Charismatics will also celebrate 50 years of "Revival" by the "Spirit Baptism".
According to the Pope's biographers and journalist Austen Ivereigh in the Boston Globe, it is a joint document on the "Reformation" which will include three priorities: "the Nicean-Constantinople Creed, which Catholics and evangelicals share; the core of the Catholic-Lutheran declaration of 1999 making clear there is no disagreement over justification by faith; as well as a final section asserting that Catholics and evangelicals are now “united in mission because we are declaring the same Gospel,” as the KAP reported.
Tony Palmer Handed Pope Francis Text Draft
According Ivereigh the recently deceased Anglo-Irish Bishop, Tony Palmer, passed away on the 24th of June, had issued in Rome at a meeting of the Pope with Evangelical representatives to draft a joint statement. The title of the document reads: "Declaration of Faith in Unity for Mission." 2017 would be an appropriate occasion for publicly signing a joint declaration, said Palmer and other Evangelical televangelists, because of the Reformation anniversary year (1517) and in the same year, the 50-year anniversary of the emergence of the Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church (1967 ).
Since the beginning of Pope Francis sent out a number of benevolent signals towards Evangelicals and Pentecostals. These include several informal meetings at the Vatican, a video message and on 28 July the "private visit" the Pope at an evangelical denomination in Caserta. Here, the Catholic Church leader sent a request for forgiveness to 300 invited from all over the world evangelical representatives.
Relations Between Catholic Church and Evangelicals in Latin America
Observers have put the papal efforts in the context of the strained relationship between the Catholic Church and the Evangelical Free Churches in Latin America. For several decades Evangelical groups have drawn from the Catholic Church's masses of believers. A movement that is being done in the United States and again is also associated with the political interests of the United States in its "backyard". Sociologists of religion see in the spread of evangelicalism among a number of attempts, to export the American Way of Life.
Mission or Cessation of Mission?
Critics accuse the Pope of sacrificing the necessity for salvation of the Catholic Church and indiscriminately recognizing groups that call themselves Christian or nominally appointed to Christ. Pope Francis was several times to understand that it waives a conversion to the Catholic faith. This raises the question of what a joint statement with the Evangelicals might just mean to the issue of Mission. A shared commitment to evangelization of non-Christians or an official recognition of a mutual cessation of mission? Along with the one-sided embedding of the "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification" of 1999, the Catholic-evangelical "dialogue paper" it would pass over in precedence, the more significant for the Catholic Church and especially more binding declaration Dominus Iesus of the year 2000.
Already in 2013 the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) have published a dialogue paper for the "Reformation Jubilee", whose relevance has remained in an almost imperceptible range. From the Lutheran side there were hesitations for the "Luther Year" in 2017, at a mutual recognition several times of "Lord's Supper".
500 Reformation, 50 years Charismatic Renewal - And 100 years Fatima?
2017 marks not only the 500th year of the "Reformation" and the 50th anniversary of the emergence of the Charismatic Movement in the Catholic Church, but also for the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Fatima. It's an anniversary that has so far remained unnoticed in Rome.