Five centuries ago, Western Civilization split into two halves: Catholic and Protestant. After more than 50 years of international dialogue, the two sides are seizing the moment of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation as an opportunity to move closer together.
From now until October 2017, with cooperative ventures in service, arts, academics, and evangelization, it is the hope and prayer of Catholics and Lutherans that this effort will contribute to advancing the goal of full unity.
In that spirit of unity, Bishop James Hazelwood of the New England Synod of the ELCA and Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston have written a letter to Lutherans and Catholics in New England, urging them to use Pope Francis’s encyclical on conservation and the environment as a starting point for the joint observance of the anniversary of the Reformation.
“Our common ground lies in the life-giving Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” write Bishop Hazelwood and Cardinal O’Malley. “We share one baptism into Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior … As we proceed toward this observance, we give thanks for our mutual baptism into Christ Jesus and our irrevocable commitment to full visible unity. For this we must all work and pray.”