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Signs of Forgiveness, Paths of Conversion, Practice of Penance

A Reform that Challenges All

Edited By Theodor Dieter, Andrea Grillo and James Puglisi

This volume presents contributions of the Catholic-Lutheran International Conference held at the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm in Rome in 2016. The scholars were invited to reflect together on the questions of forgiveness, conversion and penance in the context of the ecumenical dialogue that has been going on since the Second Vatican Council. Precisely because stemming from a deep rethinking of God’s forgiveness, the movement that began half a millennium ago has borne diverse fruits in different traditions. Today, within the context of fraternal dialogue we may be able to recognize in a new way «the signs of God’s mercy». This motivation allows us to discover, in this book, new itineraries and processes of the conversion to God which also leads to the rediscovery and the inauguration of authentic forms of penance, both ecclesial and personal.

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From Conflict to Communion? (Susan K. Wood)


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Susan K. Wood

From Conflict to Communion?

Abstract: The path from conflict to communion entails a common narration of the Reformation, a critique of its memory, and the creation of new memories of a common faith. Johann Baptist Metz’s category of memory, Yves Congar’s analysis of the ambiguity inherent in reform and its consequences, and Bernard Lonergan’s theology of conversion provide tools for this task.

October 21, 1517, the date of the publication of Martin Luther’s 95 theses, has become a symbol of the Reformation and the loss of unity within Western Christendom. The Lutheran World Federation’s preferred term “commemoration” to designate the nature of the anniversary of the Reformation invites us to explore the function of memory with regard to this event. What are Lutherans and Catholics remembering? How does this remembering shape their present and their future? In the selection of what is to be remembered, are their other aspects of the past that are best forgotten?

The ecumenical document From Conflict to Communion developed for the commemoration of the Reformation in 2017 reminds us that each commemoration is shaped by its own context with its own political overtones.1 For instance, in 1617 the celebrations solidified the common Reformation identity of Lutheran and Reformed communities as they celebrated Luther as their common liberator from the Roman yoke. In 1917, amidst the First World War, Luther was celebrated as a German national hero.2 From Conflict to Communion...

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