Christian Leaders Seek Unification of Churches

Published 07 November 2017  |  
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Church leaders at an ecumenical symposium in Jesuit-run St. Xavier's College, Kolkata, eastern India.

Christian leaders in India have called for unification of churches, after 500 years of separation since Protestant Reformation. At an ecumenical symposium in Kolkata on Nov. 3, Catholic Church leaders called for "revisiting the reformation."

"This symposium on unification of the Churches is very significant. What unites us in Christ is greater than what divides us," said Fr Felix Raj, principal of Kolkata's St. Xavier's College.

The meeting was held marking the first anniversary of the Joint Declaration for the Joint Commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, which Pope Francis and Bishop Munib Yunan, President of the Lutheran World Federation, signed on Oct. 13, 2016 in Lund, in Sweden.

Protestant Reformation challenged the 16th century Catholic Church to amend its ways.

The Reformation helped the Catholic Church re-examine itself, said Fr John Romus, former dean of the Morning Star College major seminary in Barrackpore.

Rev. Sunil Michael Caleb, principal of Bishop's College in Kolkata, termed the Reformation as "a necessary tragedy."

There was a desperate need to protest against rampant corruption in the Church but the resulting split was a tragedy, he explained.

"While the Reformation was a historical event in Europe, its unfortunate result has" exported many "divisions and denominations to countries like India," said Caleb, pointing to the various denominational churches that exist today alongside the Catholic Church.

Today, we must learn from what happened 500 years ago, said Archbishop Thomas D'Souza of Kolkata.

"Our task is to move forward believing in God, while commemorating Martin Luther's 95 Theses of protest," he said, according to UCA News.com.

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