It’s four centuries since the Christian West was split asunder by the Reformation. That initial tragedy would lead to religious wars that would last for another two centuries. Religious wars calmed down in the 19th century and in the 20th century. With the Second Vatican Council, we have seen a solid movement across Christianity to somehow bring about the restoration of Christian unity. No one, however, has a clear idea on exactly what form the Church would have after the restoration of unity.
Now another step forward. Cardinal Kurt Koch, of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, has announced that the Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation are planning a joint declaration on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2016. “Without joint recollection, joint purification and without an admission of guilt on both sides, an honest commemoration will not be possible,” Cardinal Koch told the Austrian Catholic Press Agency. This is a wonderful new step and may carry us forward towards evermore unity and solidarity. Certainly, we can all pray for that.