Martin Luther, a German, started the Reformation in 1517 when he wrote 95 theses criticising the Catholic Church for corruption in Rome, including the buying of ecclesiastical privileges, nepotism, usury and the selling of indulgences.
It led to a violent, often political schism throughout Europe and Christianity, prompting among other things the 30 Years’ War, the destruction of English monasteries, and the burning of numerous “heretics” on both sides.
Pope Francis is travelling to the southern Swedish city of Lund, where the Lutheran World Federation was founded in 1947, for a joint service with Lutherans to launch Reformation commemorations that will continue throughout the world next year.
On Monday Pope Francis and Lutheran leaders will hold an ecumenical prayer service in Lund’s Lutheran cathedral and another inter-religious event in nearby Malmo. Last January the Pope, who is keen to continue Catholic-Lutheran dialogue, asked Protestants and other Christian Churches for forgiveness for past persecution by Catholics. Read more