Statue of Martin Luther at the Vatican

A new statue has appeared at the Vatican.

untitledThursday at an audience, Pope Francis joined on stage by a statue of Martin Luther. This is particularly noteworthy as it comes ahead of a trip to Lund, Sweden, to commemorate the beginning of the year leading up to the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

 

 

8 comments

  1. I understand it’s made entirely of milk chocolate, and there’s a 10 year plenary indulgence if you nibble at its toes!

  2. It seems the occasion was a joint Catholic-Lutheran pilgrimage from Germany, “With Luther to the Pope.”
    Pope Francis wore a blue (for Lutheran) and yellow (for Vatican) scarf. And the statue of Luther wears a yellow scarf!

  3. I’ll probably get borked, but anyway …

    Martin Luther’s doctrine of simul justus et peccator, the theological position that justification and “sin” coexist in a soul, is a bright line which some Catholics draw to separate Catholicism from Lutheranism. I am convinced that some aspects of simul justus et peccator can be seen through an orthodox Catholic lens.

    Luther did not differentiate between sin and concupiscence. The latter term denotes the temptation or inclination to sin without the commission of this sin. I put “sin” in quotes earlier to disambiguate theological terms between the two traditions. Luther’s undifferentiated sin-concupiscence-total depravity, when seen solely through the lens of concupiscence instead, may result in a viable Catholic theological point.

    A Catholic interpretation might read in part: All the faithful “rise from the waters” in baptism, in which we are justified and receive the royal priesthood. These cannot be taken from believers. So we are baptized indelibly [justus], but still grapple with sin and its effects [peccator], even while not always committing a particular sin.

    However, Luther’s merger of sin and concupiscence, and his development of a doctrine of total depravity, suggests that he believed that indelible sin coexisted with baptismal grace. Still, all the more I fully support Pope Francis’s endeavors in ecumenism. Perhaps he and Lutheran theologians can square these circles.

  4. It kind of reminds me of one of Marc Quinn’s blood sculptures, which is not necessarily inappropriate for the proto-Nazi, Martin Luther.

    1. @Abe Rosenzweig:

      Very true observation, Abe. Ecumenism is only a good if every religious tradition encounters its own history of evil. I agree Abe that Luther’s writings undoubtedly implanted anti-Semitism among Germans and in no small part fostered Nazi anti-Semitism. However Catholics have to reckon with Tomas de Torquemada, St. Vincent Ferrer, St. Maximilian Kolbe, and many more. Maybe it’s better for each tradition to clear its own road before venturing down others.

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