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Key Ecumenical Bishop: “The Reformation Was a Great Misunderstanding, We All Got it Wrong”

In a new interview in Crux, Auxiliary Bishop William Kenney of Birmingham, England — co-chair of the international dialogue between the Lutheran World Federation and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity — offers us a glimpse of what to expect in Lund, Sweden, on October 31, when Pope Francis joins the LWF to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

It’s a long interview, and much of it is background on the event, but what really stood out what this:

The consensus of the 1999 document on justification stated, if I’ve understood it correctly, that the reasons for the Catholics condemning the Protestant positions and vice-versa no longer hold, and if ever each Church did hold the position that the other said they did, what is now true is that neither Church no longer holds that position. In other words, the Reformation was all a big misunderstanding!

That’s a good popular summary, yes. Would Martin Luther have been excommunicated today? The answer is no, he probably wouldn’t. And he did not want to split the Church – he came to that, but it’s not where he began.

Of course, you’ll find certain Catholics and certain Lutherans still claiming the other holds those positions, but they are not representative of the mainstream positions of the Churches. The document was approved by Rome, which binds Catholics whether they like it or not; the Lutherans are made up of about 100 churches, and there were about 37 who didn’t, back then, sign up to it. Some have come into line since.


Most Catholics – and no doubt most Lutherans – have never read the document, and may wonder, ‘how does this affect us, in the parish?’ How would you summarize its importance for the person in the pew?

I think it’s very important that people know that the Reformation was a great misunderstanding, we all got it wrong, on both sides, and we’ve lifted excommunications and condemnations and apologized. So we can all be friends.

Got that? Just a big misunderstanding. The guy (Martin Luther) who blasphemed Our Lord when he said things like this is really, when it comes right down to it, a good guy:

“Christ committed adultery first of all with the women at the well about whom St. John tell’s us. Was not everybody about Him saying: ‘Whatever has He been doing with her?’ Secondly, with Mary Magdalen, and thirdly with the women taken in adultery whom He dismissed so lightly. Thus even, Christ who was so righteous, must have been guilty of fornication before He died.” (ref. Trishreden, Weimer Edition, Vol. 2, Pg. 107.) [Quote taken from David L. Gray, who has a lot more where that came from.]

Luther. What a guy.

So of course, since it’s no big deal — like living in adultery with a second “spouse” — guess what the logical conclusion is? (I’ll give you one hint: it rhymes with “schmommunion”!) Back to Bishop Kenney:

Which might lead some to say, if not ‘so what?’ then at least, ‘and now what?’

I think you’ve got to start now moving towards that visible unity. There’s no elephant in the room any longer. The elephant has gone back to the jungle and we’re left staring at each other in the same room, not really sure about each other. I think much of the ecumenical stuff now has to be at the local level. One of the big issues – and it will be interesting to see if Francis even mentions it – is inter-communion.

He’s already made a gesture about that, of course, when he visited a Lutheran church in Rome and, during a question-and-answer session, suggested to a Lutheran woman married to a Catholic man that perhaps, if her conscience permitted, she could receive communion in her husband’s church. 

He did, but we’re not sure what it meant. He’s never clarified that.


But there is enough convergence for Francis to have made his still-not-entirely-clear gesture?

If I wanted Francis to cause a pleasant revolution in Lund, he would say Lutherans can, under certain circumstances without asking all the time, receive the Eucharist. That would be a major gesture. The sort of thing I would like to see is that in a so-called ecumenical marriage, the non-Catholic party can always go to Communion with his or her partner. That would be a major step forward, and it’s pastorally very desirable.

I wouldn’t want to say, and it won’t happen, that any Lutheran could receive at a Catholic Mass – we’re not there yet, and it would cause confusion. But if you were to say, anybody who is married to a Lutheran and they are both believing…these marriages exist, very much so.

Ecumenists: give them an inch, they’ll take 500 years of sacramental discipline.

I’ve already written about the pope’s all-but-permission for Lutherans in such marriages to receive communion in an essay that was aptly entitled, “Good Parents Say No: Pope Francis on Lutherans and the Eucharist“. I won’t rehash it here. It’s patently obvious that this should not be happening.

But if Bishop Kenney is part of the “small, inner core at the joint Catholic-Lutheran commemoration of the five-hundredth anniversary of the Reformation for which Francis will be going to Sweden”, that means he’s most likely giving us a preview of what is to come. Saints preserve us.

67 thoughts on “Key Ecumenical Bishop: “The Reformation Was a Great Misunderstanding, We All Got it Wrong””

  1. :..we’ve lifted excommunications and condemnations and apologized.”
    “The document was approved by Rome, which binds Catholics whether they like it or not”.
    So this document, as the Novus ordo Mass, overrides Trent.

      • You just know they’re itching to beatify Luther.
        St. John Fisher, St. Thomas More and the thousands of Catholic martyrs of the reformation, pray for us.

        • I would say the biggest since. The NO has a huge effect on the everyday faith of individual Catholics. While this may in the future (if it’s not stopped) it doesn’t have much effect on the day to day. I see the NO eroding the faith of those around me and it’s terribly sad. Miserere nobis.

      • Well The Council of Trent condemned the errors of Luther and excommunicated its heretical adherents.

        Also in that same council the infallible papal bull Quo Primum Tempore was decreed by Pope St. Pius V.

        Just as the novus ordo mass -in practice- overrode Quo Primum Tempore, this Catholic-Lutheran Vatican document “From conflict to communion” overrides the Council of Trent regarding the anathematizing of the reformers.

        • The joint document with the Lutherans acknowledges Trent as binding on Catholics; it claims, however, that the doctrine on justification articulated by the Lutherans signing it is not a position condemned by Trent. But while it’s true that the Lutheran position as given in the document is closer to ours than might have previously been thought, and that they are willing to accept parts of Trent that we would have previously thought they rejected, they still pretty clearly reject either Canon 25 or 27, as well as 28-30, of Trent’s session on justification (that is, mortal sin, the sacrament of Penance, and Purgatory). The document also expressly acknowledges that there are other fundamental doctrinal differences between us that we have not made any headway on, so even on its terms the whole “just a misunderstanding” claim is wrong.

        • I don’t think that faith and morals can be overrode. In other words, the truth cannot change and the Church cannot change it.

          • They are desperately trying to change everything – Deposit of Faith, Magisterium, Tradition but we still trust in God that He is still with us & that Truth will prevail in His Church on earth, namely the CC.

          • My point is that by definition one cannot change the truth. Burke said something like that in regards to AL not being magisterial because it was inconsistent. Sure, Luther changed scripture, but that makes his version wrong – it doesn’t invalidate the right.

  2. So, according to this, there is no need for the Lutheran church to continue. If this was all a misunderstanding, they can make a profession of faith in the teachings of the true Church and we’ll call it a day.

  3. St Ignatius of Antioch writes,

    Make no mistake, my brothers, if anyone joins a schismatic he will not inherit God’s Kingdom. If anyone walks in the way of heresy, he is out of sympathy with the Passion. Be careful, then, to observe a single Eucharist. For there is one flesh of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and one cup of his blood that makes us one, and one altar, just as there is one bishop along with the presbytery and the deacons, my fellow slaves. In that way whatever you do is in line with God’s will.

  4. Maybe Cardinals Burke, Sarah & Bishop Schneider will enlighten us as to what they intend to do if the above is true? Still continue to sit on their hands?

      • Neither am I. The situation just gets worse by the hour. It seems this Apostasy cannot be stopped – at least by humans. I read where PB has asked priests to say Holy Mass ad orientem. Maybe he will reveal the Third Secret yet. Anything is possible with prayer.

      • I heard Burke today on a clip for an EWTN interview. I heard it several times. He walked to the edge but didn’t step out. That step does take faith – I get it. He didn’t do it. Maybe he will some day.

          • They all are, it’s not just Card. Burke. Writing books & travelling the world saying TLM is not the same as giving a press conference citing PF as an Apostate. The situation to-day calls for Cardinals to live & die for the True Faith which they have committed themselves to by accepting the red (pink?) hat & nothing less will do.

  5. You gotta wonder if any of these guys ever read some of luther’s writings and the hatred he had for the pope, bishops, Mass, etc. He started civil war! He refused to come to terms with the Church even as the pope and other holy ones reached out to him! There was no ‘misunderstanding’: he made his hatred clear. He did not care much for Jews either. Now the ‘lutherans’ are all over the map with some pro-abortion, some not, some pro-sodomy, some not, the lady bishops and all the rest. And the ones I know have no desire for ‘communion’ with Catholics or for other ‘synods’ of Lutherans either for that matter.

  6. Antonio Socci wrote a very telling article way back in 1992 in ’30 Days’, interviewing Fr. Theobald Beer. I think Professor Beer’s analysis should be more widely read. Luther comes across not just as foul. He comes across as insidious.

  7. Maybe Francis will merge the Lutherans and invalidate the Mass with some goofy ecumenical service. What comes to mind is a prophecy from Emmerich about something not being allowed but yet promoted to the chagrin of a few priests but most approved.

  8. If Donald Trump were going to Lund instead of Bergoglio, I would anticipate infinitely more intellectual honesty, and maybe more truth. Any man who declares that carbon dioxide is a polutant has NO intellectual honesty.

  9. I’m of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, but am not surprised at one of my Auxiliary Bishops saying this. Bishop Kenney is just one of four Bishops of this Archdiocese, the others being the Archbishop himself, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Birmingham Area, and the third Auxiliary Bishop. Funnily enough, the Bishop of the Birmingham Area relayed that he himself doesn’t really have an interest in ecumenism, accept to actually try to convert people to the Faith. However, Bishop Kenney is mortal wrong on this topic. Luther accused Our Blessed Lord of fornication! How does one misinterpret that?!

  10. “For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and suffers the loss of his immortal soul?” But, in order to gain a mockery of true ecclesial Communion, our present Pontiff and his like-minded episcopal cohort are quite happy to lie about the Protestant ‘Revolution’ and invalidly dispense the Church’s sacraments, threatening the loss of their own souls in the process. I’d say tar and feather the whole lot of them, but maybe covering them in jello salad would be more apt given the context.

  11. This reminds me of the way some of the background issues that were in the way of concluding the JCPOA with Iran and lifting sanctions were resolved.
    On the issue of PMDs (possible military dimensions) , instead of actually resolving them in the sense of getting to the bottom of them and getting to the truth, they decided that Amano at the IAEA should simply write an assessment report on the actual status of issue and say, okay, with that, it is all wrapped up.
    In actual fact, the very underlying concerns of the PMD issue are still unresolved, the IAEA never got to the bottom of them, but the IAEA closed the issue anyway, and it has all been swept under the carpet. They had to close it, it was an obstacle to the predetermined goal.
    Sweeping things under the carpet and acting like they aren’t there seems to be the favored method of resolving things these days.

  12. I doubt if Luther himself would approve of these goings-on. He would probably have considered it a dirty Catholic trick. Well, he should wise up. The only dirty Catholic trick the Pope is playing is on Catholics themselves.

  13. As one who used to be Lutheran, it is incredibly bizarre to see any forms of ecumenical dialogue going on let alone some quasi-full reconciliation…any reconciliation has been so slow that those laboring on their ecumenical dialogue fail to understand their “Friends” have ventured further into paganism & death worship and nothing that even looks like Christendom…I mean nothing…………..entire sects and forks of Lutheranism on the ground look like pagan gaia cults…with married LGBT pastors and congregants…rampant divorce and remarriage, support of abortion etc…and a whole hose of open and approved sinful behavior…most Lutheranism has become a place for feminine liturgies, social justice warrior homilies and donuts, coffee and donations to the homelesss…….the only Luterans that have any sort of integrity are either Missouri Synod or mavericks from the other global segments….

    Just…..bizarre the bubbles & time warps in Rome….bizarre…

    • As another ex-Lutheran, I see this as nothing short of apostasy of many members and vast regions of the Church.

      At least we have here the full-blown living out of paragraph 675 of the CCC. How did that fag-supporting Schonborn ever allow THAT passage to stay in the book?

      As you note, Pope Saladin COULD have selected any Lutheran sect with which to Celebrate the Great Divorce of the Church. Indeed, he could have found one that at least affirms some aspect of natural law and some Biblical principles of morality. Say, the Missouri Synod folks.

      But no.

      Not at all.

      Pope Francis the heretic chooses the most rank, demonic, anti-Christian group of lesbo-Lutherans on planet earth with which to squirm about in a twisted orgy of heresy celebrating the Great Divorce of the Church.

      The whole Catholic faith appears to people of normal intelligence and common sense not to mention common human decency, to be a complete mess of perversion, idiocy, foulness and stupidity.

      We are led by faggots and the common “Catholic” person has no idea what the Church taught for 1965 years anymore. And don’t even MENTION familiarity with THE BIBLE.

      Gerry Muller the Head Clown at the CDF twists ANYTHING, repeat, ANYTHING into his version of “orthodoxy”. What’s next? Pederasty approved as long as it is consensual, with consensual meaning that the kid didn’t scream loud enough for a badge-wearing beat cop to hear him? What do we expect from a leadership where not one {I think I’m right, here, NOT ONE} prelate turned a single boy-raping faggot into the civil authorities?

      Pope Pius V called for the execution of such scum. While this heretic Pope calls for life time, all-expenses-paid {by the taxpayer} protection for every single murdering, raping, baby-butchering, sodomite, bank robbing criminal on the face of the earth! Somebody tell me if this Pope of ours would leave an audience with Pope Pius V with his nose left on straight and his teeth intact!!

      Pope Francis is elected by such crap and has chosen such rubbish for friends. Kasper, Daneels, Bergoglio. The 3 Diabolical Stooges.

      THIS is the Catholic Church.


      Sure, there are pockets of decency and morality and doctrinal truth shoehorned in among the widespread apostasy and heresy. Yeah, there are, but one cannot with a straight face say with any integrity that such pockets describe the Catholic Church on the whole.

      Just try it to a Protestant friend or a non-Catholic that knows any Catholics and/or reads a newspaper.

      Faggots, heretics, Islam-favoring Lutheran Pope; THAT describes the “Catholic Church” to the world, and frankly, not one supposedly “orthodox” prelate appears ready to do a damn thing about it.

      Burke prances around in his vestments squeaking out as softly as he can “It’s not Magesterial…” Muller fakes his job at the CDF. Schneider tells us that it’s up to little children and layman to save the Church. Pell is straight-jacketed with with boy raping charges and when he did have something to say said we couldn’t treat sin like the early church fathers did because that would be too harsh!!

      And these are the best?

      Poor Cardinal Sarah gets kicked this way and that by the Supreme Friend of Faggots Pope Saladin the Muslim Conqueror of Europe while the rest of the supposedly “orthodox” prelates gaze on, the Kraut faction led by the heretic racist Kasper the Unfriendly Demonic Ghost no doubt glad because after all Sarah is just a ni&&er.

      To say, as an ex-Lutheran, that I have had some anxiety about what Bergoglio was going to do in Lund is an understatement. Not that I think there is any doubt that it will be heretical. Not that I think there is any chance ANY prelate will call him out on it.

      I must now ponder the consistent application of Apostolic Succession in the Catholic Church.
      I really do. What else explains this total collapse?

      If Bishops are so utterly devoid of morals even a pagan would find laudable, if prelates cannot even protect children but rather accept the guidance of godless psychologists, if prelates cannot even call out RANK HERESY when it smacks their damn zucchetos off their pasty sun-starved faces, if prelates care so little about the teaching of the Church that they ordain faggots, if A POPE cares so little for propriety in worship that he places a beachball on the altar of God, if a Pope called “The Great” bows before and kisses the unHoly book of the religious scourge of the entire world, if prelates are so demonically queer and so gutless that they watch this doctrine and that be crapped on by their butthumping friends, if a Pope can set up a statute of the Archheresiarch himself in the Vatican and NOT ONE prelate takes a sledgehammer to it…………………………..


      Chew on that for one moment.

      NOTHING else explains what I see in the Catholic Church today. I can’t hardly see where the Anglican church stops and the Catholic Church starts!

      Catholics have been so damned dumbed down over the last 50 years they have utterly lost their ability to see right from wrong and have ANY outrage over the latter. CATHOLICS BY THEIR CONSISTENT VOTING HAVE ENTRENCHED THE MURDER OF INNOCENTS IN THE UNITED STATES SINCE 1973!!!

      TRY to get a Catholic angry over sacrilege or the desecration of worship or the promotion of heretical doctrine OR MOST TIMES EVEN THE MURDER OF A BABY. I dare you!!

      And if you do, the probability is that Catholic is a member of what more or less amounts to an estranged “denomination” such as FSSP, ICKSP, or even the SSPX!!!

      No, folks, the Church has had it. It is effectively morally dead.

      The foul butt end stench of dead, fecal rot rises from all over the world to the nostrils of God.

      We were warned!!!

      MANY Popes warned us of Freemasonry and of modernism and of socialism. Who stopped its spread in the Church?! Our Lady of Fatima has warned us that sexual immorality and the errors of Russia would claim us if we didn’t repent. While Priests raped boys and their bosses covered for their faggot friends! Even the CCC passage 675 states the now-obvious! 2 Thessalonians 2-1-12 makes clear there would be a man of lawlessness who would cause great harm. If that term at least doesn’t describe the current POPE and his sodomy supporting, divorce crazy friends, WHAT DOES IT DESCRIBE?

      The “religious deception” of CCC 675 is now upon us.

      The Catholic Church is at almost every level now, dead.

      We await the resurrection.

      God Save the Catholic Church.

  14. The next round of Bishops’ appointments should be a laugh a minute. Seeing that the Lutheran lady Bishop of Uppsala is married to a man and the lady Bishop of Stockholm is married to another lady, would Bishop Kenney care to name his successor (either gender and any sexuality would be great)?

  15. I agree it was a misunderstanding. Fulton Sheen said it best “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.” . That being said abandon your heresy and come back home to the Catholic Church we wait for you with open arms.

    • No, it wasn’t.

      Luther was a demonically inspired raving heretic that chose to lead the world into chaos.

      He may have been insane.

      So what is Pope Saladin’s excuse?

      • If you read more than the fist sentence you will realzed I called Lutheranism a heresy. My call to action was for them to abandon Lutheranism and become Catholic. When you ask an “ex-catholic” why they left you get a laundry list of things that aren’t even true. That’s my point if you misunderstood and now you understand leave your heretical Church and return to the Catholic Church. I am not advocating “intercommunion” but suggesting that the only way for them to receive communion in the Catholic Church is to convert. The father did not ask the prodigal son for an excuse but accepted him back into his home when he repented of his sin. Simply put there is no excuse for sin. Please read a second time before assuming what I meant.

        • I did.

          I wasn’t criticizing your post. I merely meant to drive home the point that it was not a mere misunderstanding that resulted in the Divorce. It was raw, pure evil and we see the ramifications of it everywhere.

          Not everything Luther complained about was wrong, of course. But his willingness to go where he went and to deny Catholic truth is nothing short of demonic, as was his bitterness toward the very Bible he assigned exclusive “authority”.

  16. The Aux Bishop Kenney another wolf is spinning the deception so well, that he will most probably receive a promotion within the current framework of the church. I believe that the princes of the church on the whole were more truthful in the past than those that we have today to imply that they were wrong about the reformation and luther is nothing more than disgusting.

  17. so this is a real, verified, quote of Luther??:

    “Christ committed adultery first of all with the women at the well about whom St. John tell’s us. Was not everybody about Him saying: ‘Whatever has He been doing with her?’ Secondly, with Mary Magdalen, and thirdly with the women taken in adultery whom He dismissed so lightly. Thus even, Christ who was so righteous, must have been guilty of fornication before He died.” (ref. Trishreden, Weimer Edition, Vol. 2, Pg. 107.) [Quote taken from David L. Gray, who has a lot more where that came from.]

  18. The Lutheran community is not a Church as it has no Apostolic Succession, Holy Orders, Eucharist, Holocaust, etc.

    However, to be fair to them, they do have some snappy tunes


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