The Shrinking Great Divide

I believe it is time to go beyond the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation. What is at stake at the start of the third millennium is no longer the same as at the beginning of the second millennium, when at the heart of Western Christianity the separation took place between Catholics and Protestants.

To give but one example, the problem is no longer that of Luther and of how to liberate man from the sense of guilt that oppresses him, but how to give again to man the true meaning of sin which has been totally lost. What sense does it make to continue to discuss how “justification of the godless comes about,” when man is convinced of not having need of any justification and says with pride: “I accuse myself today and I alone can absolve myself, I the man”?

I believe that all the age-old discussions between Catholics and Protestants about faith and works have ended up by making us lose sight of the main point of the Pauline message, often shifting attention from Christ to doctrines on Christ, in practice, from Christ to men. That which the Apostle is anxious above all to affirm in Romans 3 is not that we are justified by faith, but that we are justified by faith in Christ; it is not so much that we are justified by grace, but that we are justified by the grace of Christ. The accent is on Christ, more than on faith and grace.

via ZENIT – Father Cantalamessa’s 2nd Advent Sermon.
hattip: iMonk

It is amazing how in the last few years, the Protestants and Roman Catholics have begun to recognize their similarities, including their shared failings. The Pope is now even quoting Martin Luther in his homilies.