Pray Tell has already posted on the tantalizing comments of Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict) about a possible real but imperfect validity in Lutheran orders and sacraments.
Here is an ecumenical impulse from the other direction – a German Lutheran theologian who is ready to recognize the Bishop of Rome.
German Lutheran Theologian Friedrich Schorlemmer, who was active in the nonviolent demonstrations and civil rights movement before the fall of the Berlin Wall, recently spoke about ecumenical relations with the Catholic Church The occasion was the release of his book Luther in Leipzig, Deutschlandradio Kultur reports.
Schorlemmer sees great overlap between the attitude of Pope Francis and of himself. One must make the most of every day this pope is with us, he said,
“and this as representative of the universal church, to which I also belong.”
He would have no problem whatsoever recognizing Pope Francis as Bishop of Rome.
When I see what Pope Francis says and does, and how what he does speaks, I can only say, if I were asked whether I would recognize him as my Bishop of Rome: But of course!
He called for a “large ecumenical council.” But this must apply itself to the problems of today that are to be resolved, rather than preoccupying itself with battles of the 16th century.
Schorlemme called for a sort of “reconciled diversity” between Catholics and Lutherans, and added:
“The very least that we must achieve in this year is that we have eucharistic readiness for hospitality [eucharistische Gastbereitschaft], so that each individual decides whether to go to the the Lord’s Supper in the Lutheran church, or also to go to Mass.”