- Dec 11, 2019
In another sign of the Vatican’s positive approach to marking the 500th anniversary of the Protestant reformation, the Vatican’s Philatelic and Numismatic Office on Nov. 23 released a postage stamp featuring Martin Luther and one of his closest collaborators. The stamp features Luther and Philip Melanchthon, considered the first systematic
Pope Francis, who attended an ecumenical ceremony in Sweden last October launching the Lutherans’ yearlong commemoration of the Reformation, sent a message saying he hoped this latest step would “mark a new stage of fellowship and cooperation in the service of justice and peace in our human family.”
While full unity, including intercommunion, between Catholics and Lutherans may still be a long way off, Monday’s historic encounter between Pope Francis and the Lutheran World Federation in Sweden nevertheless moved the ball significantly toward an “ecumenism of mercy.”
Pope Francis’s decision to stay on in Sweden an extra day following next Monday’s Reformation commemoration in order to say Mass with the local Church will be a spur to overcome remaining divisions, according to the general-secretary of the World Lutheran Federation.