LWF Leaders Meet with Pope
VATICAN/GENEVA,(LWI) – In an audience with Pope Francis earlier today, The Lutheran World Federation President (LWF) Bishop Dr Munib A. Younan offered the new pontiff a painted cross from El Salvador to help inspire his new ministry.
“May this serve as an encouragement so that you offer your pastoral experiences in Argentina as gifts for this new service into which you have been called. We pray for your contributions to become a blessing for the church,” Younan said.
On Tuesday Pope Francis said in the homily he preached at his inaugural mass that St Joseph, known as the protector, offered a model of service that should be emulated by Christians and community leaders.
“Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be ‘protectors’ of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment,” Francis urged.
During the audience at the Vatican, LWF General Secretary Rev. Martin Junge, a Chilean theologian, offered the pope a copy of the LWF publication on external debt, titled Not Just Numbers.
“As an Argentinean you know what the external debt, in many aspects illegal and illegitimate, can do to human beings. Our relationship and our unity, received as a gift of God, unfold their full meaning when we see them in the context of God’s promise of life in abundance to all human beings,” Junge noted.
Referring to the nearly five decades of dialogue between Lutherans and the Roman Catholics, the LWF general secretary pledged the Lutheran Communion’s commitment to continue its ecumenical dialogues.
“A church can’t be on its own. It requires the strong bonds of relationships, exchange and mutual uplifting. Ecumenical dialogues are a substantial expression of what it is to be a church in today’s society,” Junge said.
With that in mind the Lutheran leaders reiterated their invitation and commitment to engage with Roman Catholics as the LWF marks the 500th anniversary of the launching of the Lutheran Reformation in 2017.
In a 14 March letter to the new pope, the Lutheran leaders pointed to the Lutheran-Catholic Joint Commission on Unity upcoming publication, From Conflict to Communion, as “a significant milestone of our joint preparation for the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation.”
By: The Lutheran World Federation