The past five articles in the Pastor’s Corner have been dedicated to the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Our local pastors beautifully wrote about the five sola’s: Sola Scriptura (by Scripture alone), Sola Fide (by faith alone), Sola Gratia (by grace alone), Solus Christus (Christ alone), and Soli Deo Gloria (to the glory of God alone). This article will be from a Catholic perspective of the Reformation.
In his letter to the Romans 15:5-7, St. Paul wrote, “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The ultimate hope and desire of the Catholic Church is the same as Christ’s prayer in John 17:21, “…that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you…”. Division within Christianity is a fact of our imperfect world, just as there is too often division within families, but the harmony that St. Paul speaks of in Romans is a sincere hope among Christians. On May 25, 1995, then Pope John Paul II (now St. John Paul II), released his 12th of 14 papal encyclicals, which are letters addressed to the whole church. The letter was called, Ut Unum sint (That they may be one). Among other things, the encyclical reiterates the Catholic Church’s commitment to ecumenism and further dialogue and unity with Protestant churches. It reminds us that the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) has a ministry at the service of Christian unity. The encyclical ends with the words of St. Paul from his second letter to the Corinthians 13:11-13, “Mend you ways, encourage one another, live in harmony and the God of love and peace will be with you…The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit by with you all.” If we continue to encourage one another, and strive to live in harmony in the human family, as true brothers and sisters, we will in time find ourselves closer to one another. We are all God’s children, whom He has created and loves. In fact, He loves us enough to die for us, so that we may have eternal life with Him!
Paul Eberle serves as priest for area Catholic churches.