[ The Abyssum Blog has a regular reader in Sweden and, in recent correspondence with that reader I asked what was the reaction among the small, but very faithful, number of Catholics in Sweden to the participation by Pope Francis in the ceremonies in Lund, Sweden celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in October. Here is the reader’s reply. – Abyssum ]
I have talked to a couple of other Catholics in an attempt to be
objective about the reaction to the celebration of the Reformation and
the participation of the pope. It is divided–along predictable lines.
A Catholic Mass was not in the original plan: the Lutheran World
Federation as well as the pope felt that a Mass would dilute the cause
of ecumenism. Finally, responding to the the widely expressed
disappointment on the part of the tiny in number but much embattled
Catholics in Sweden, the Vatican agreed the Catholics would be granted
a Mass celebrated by the head of their Church.
There was much chaos in the planning and some bitterness remains over
the disagreements around Mass vs. No Mass.
The Catholics were denied use of Lund Cathedral (confiscated from the
Church) where the ecumenical event was held. Instead, they were
assigned an open football field (in November, in Sweden !!!) for Mass.
Those Swedish Catholics who traveled overnight on a bus from Stockholm
as well as from other Nordic nations were thrilled to have attended a
Those who had looked forward to the event in fear and trembling were
relieved to see that the Mass was solemn and dignified and that they
did not distribute Holy Communion to the lady- archbishop of the
Swedish Lutheran Church. She was disgruntled that she could not be a
The reaction from the German Jesuits priests who run the biggest
Church in Stockholm as well as in Uppsala, is Orwellian. Officially,
our hierarchs maintain that the commemoration was a great success.
Privately, some admit it might have set ecumenism back 50 years.
Some of us were troubled by the the joint ecumenical declaration,
“From Conflict to Communion,” signed and endorsed by Pope Francis. We
feel it dilutes the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist sacrifice.
Others found most upsetting the quasi- canonization of Luther and the
pope’s virtual apology for the Church’s Counter-Refomation.
Below I am linking Edward Pentin’s article, written around the twists
and turns surrounding the preparations. Pentin is, as always, fair and