VATICAN APPROVES Seventh Day Adventist Request To Name Rome Square For Martin Luther

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(RNS3-FEB15) Martin Luther, founder of Germany's Protestant (Lutheran) Church, nailed his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg. Today, the church he founded is facing an uncertain future and dismal demographic trends that could eventually mean less state funding for church operations. For use with RNS-LUTHER-CHURCH, transmitted Feb. 15, 2007. Religion News Service file photo.

Six years ago the Seventh-day Adventists began a process requesting that the city of Rome dedicate a square to Martin Luther in honor of the 500 year anniversary of the reformers visit to The City Of Seven Hills. The request has now received the approval of the Vatican.

On September 16, a week before the Pope’s visit to the US, the city of Rome will officially name a square on the Viale Fortunato Mizzi, several blocks from the Coliseum, as the “Piazza Martin Lutero”.

Incredibly Luther was excommunicated by the Catholic Church in 1521 and never allowed to return, but now the Vatican is taking a more conciliatory view.

The Vatican reacted positively to news of the square’s upcoming inauguration. “It’s a decision taken by Rome city hall which is favorable to Catholics in that it’s in line with the path of dialogue started with the ecumenical council,” said the Rev. Ciro Benedettini. The move contrasts sharply from views held by Luther around the time of his visit to Rome, when he said,“If there is a hell, Rome is built over it.”

Dialogue between Lutherans and the Catholic Church was cemented in a document signed by bishops of the two churches in 2013. Pope Francis has also shown an openness to different churches, earlier this year supporting the need for a more unified Christian voice in Europe. (Source : Pastor Doug Batchelor )


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