Saturday, January 14, 2017

Oecumene?

Freiburg's Catholic City Deacon and Cathedral Prelate Wolfgang Gaber and the Lutheran City Deacon Markus Engelhardt are best oecumenical friends. Once sitting together over a glass of wine united in the Lord* they wrote a common press release on the renaming of streets in the city. Red Baron reported.
*For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them (Matthew 18:20).

It could have happened on this occasion - some say it was as early as 2015 - that Markus had asked Wolfgang whether he may celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation at the Münster church. Initially built by and for Freiburg's burghers it became a bishop's church only later in the 19th century. So it would be the ideal place for Freiburg's citizens to celebrate this special anniversary in their church. Prelate Gaber saw no problem. Already now Deacon Engelhardt is present in the Münster as a nativity figurine presenting the Lutherbibel? (Luther's Bible) to the new-born child.

Markus Engelhardt guiding a camel ©BZ
Last week after consultation with Archbishop Stephan Burger Prelate Gaber paddled back: The Lutherans should celebrate in a Protestant church since the anniversary of the Reformation is an eminent Lutheran commemoration. Initially I regretted the negative decision but I now start to understand. For us Catholics the Reformation still is a painful event.

In all oecumenical understanding and friendliness the Protestants will now celebrate at Freiburg's Municipal Theater. Deacon Engelhardt said, we as a Church would like to go out into the world where there is life. We will celebrate the service with a strong oecumenical touch. German Catholics and Protestants had already agreed earlier to commemorate the anniversary of the Reformation jointly as Christusfest (a feast of Christ).

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