Saturday, 20 September 2008

Gardening with Martin Luther ..and Roman Catholics ... guest post

The Protestant churches in Germany are launching the Luther Decade this weekend, a 10-year series of events leading to the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's "95 Theses", the event often seen as marking the Protestant Reformation. The great and the good are gathering at the Castle Church in Wittenberg, where Luther is said to have nailed his theses, for a special service on 21 September. (The picture shows the Wittenberg Stadtkirche, which towers over the market place.) Already on 20 September, the first sod was cut in Wittenberg for the Luther Garden, where 500 trees are to be planted between now and 2017. Churches worldwide are to be encouraged to adopt one of the trees that are planned for the Luther Garden and also to plant a tree themselves to denote a link with the birthplace of the Reformation. Meanwhile the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Walter Kasper, has, in an interview printed in a German newspaper, said that Roman Catholics can learn from Luther. ENI reported that Cardinal Walter Kasper encouraged Catholics to read Luther's commentaries on the Bible, and his "hymns full of spiritual power", the German Protestant news agency epd reported."One will then discover a Luther who is full of the power of faith, whom one cannot simply make Catholic, whom we find provoking and even alien in many respects, but from whom even Catholics can learn."