It was no easy way to realize how the Catholic Church would be involved in the great commemoration of the Reformation in in 2017. But now the matter is decided – and the result is very good.

There are not only several large joint events, including our joint ecumenical festival organized on 16th September, 2017 in Bochum, with the participation of laymen and church leaders. What is most important is that we succeeded in entering a common process of “healing the memory”. Thus, 2017 – the very successful joint journey of the German Conference of Bishops and Council of the EKD to the Holy Land has shown it – can also become a further step in the history of ecumenical apprenticeship. The common declaration of the churches “Healing Remembrance – witnessing Jesus Christ” describes where we come from and where we want to go.

The celebrationn of the 500 years in the light of the common loyalty to the Gospel is intended to strengthen the ecumenical relationship that has grown over the last decades. In Germany, the two Ecumenical Church Days in 2003 and 2010 were certainly special stages of this journey, as have been in Europe the three European Ecumenical Assemblies in 1989, 1997 and 2007. The Reformation Jubilee is to be celebrated together as a celebration of Christ – because we want to share a credible testimony for Jesus Christ.

The 500th celebration is an impressive occasion. We rejoyce with our evangelical sisters and brothers for the enormous public attention we already know for Church days and Catholic Days, and also, in the catholic field, for Pope visits and the World Youth Day. We rejoyce for this important year with its many steps – and the exhortation is that as much as possible and in as many as possible, we are present: now it begins!

(source: Salzkorner, October 2016; English translation made by