A Vatican announcement says that "The joint Lutheran-Catholic ecumenical commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation on 31 October in Lund, Sweden will consist of two parts. It will begin with a liturgy in Lund Cathedral and continue with a public event at Malmö Arena that will be open to wider participation.
"The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and Roman Catholic Church joint event will highlight the 50 years of continuous ecumenical dialogue between Catholics and Lutherans and the joint gifts of this collaboration.
"The Catholic-Lutheran commemoration of 500 years of the Reformation is structured around the themes of thanksgiving, repentance and commitment to common witness. The aim is to express the gifts of the Reformation and ask forgiveness for division perpetuated by Christians from the two traditions."
I am not sure I want to be there. For a start, I suspect the music will be horrid; second, especially in Malmö, there is likely to be more fudge about "the religion of peace", while jihad-inspired murder continues unabated, and the followers of that religion are proud to wear the badge of what has become a toxic brand. It is one thing to avoid stirring up hostility aim but it does not do to make statements which everyone knows are not true. It would be better to stay silent.
Underneath that, and being a convert from Judaism as well, I cannot see what there is to celebrate. Luther was a notorious antisemite. That is not, to say the least, entirely unconnected with the Holocaust. The Reformation unleashed a century of war in Europe. Its resonances are still taking their toll to this day; it lies at the heart of the Northern Ireland troubles. 1500 years of architectural, artistic and musical heritage were wiped out in an orgy of destruction comparable with what Muslim fundamentalists are doing today.
Nor is this about being uncharitably unecumenical. I usually take the opportunity to attend Matins or Evensong at the Anglican Cathedral when visting places like Salisbury or Oxford; last month I went to Evensong at Durham. Evensong is, after all, just a merging of the monastic offices of Vespers and Compline, and therefore includes the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis; likewise the Anglican Matins, is put together from the monastic offices Lauds and Prime, with Venite, Te Deum, and Benedictus. Although I would probably not attend an Anglican eucharist, there is not the slightest reason why a Catholic should not go to an Anglican Matins or Evensong - on the contrary - it seems to me a good thing to do.
Lutheranism is a different animal. Its sound alone declares it to be not Catholic. It is also dying, particularly in Sweden, where church is losing membership at an accelerating rate. This is not the case with the Anglican church, at least in some parts of the world; it retains its vitality.
I also have a polite excuse for not going - prostate trouble means that I cannot rely on being able to keep going for more than an hour at a stretch, and then only by carefully controlling my intake of fluids.
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