By Manuel Fraijo

A few months ago, Pope Francisco in Sweden attended an ecumenical celebration commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation initiated by Luther in 1517. We witnessed a historic embrace between the Pope and the president of the Lutheran World Federation World Championship, Munib Younam.

After signing a joint statement, the pope acknowledged: a) the reformatory, well – meaning intent, Luther; B) the excessive corruption of the Church faced by the Augustinian monk; C) the immense gift of his translation of the Bible into German. “Luther brought the Bible to the people , ” said the Pope. He was right: that magnificent translation was the great literary feat of Luther. In Germany of that time only about 6,000 Bibles circulated for 15 million inhabitants.

Benedict also visited in 2011 the chapter of Augustinian monastery of Erfurt where Luther made his monastic vows. Not a few Christians wonder whether the heretic of the past has now become the “father of the Church” for Protestants and Catholics. Luther, say relevant historians, only wanted to be a “reformist Catholic.” It was proposed to redirect that Church astray to the demands of the Gospel; But he never intended to found another Church separate from Rome. Only a cluster of clumsiness, to be distributed between Rome and Wittenberg, led to a division that sowed Europe of pain and death. CONTINUE READING