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Pave Frans mødtes med ærkebiskop Antje Jackelén fra den svenske folkekirke

6. maj 2015

4. maj: Pave Frans mødtes med ærkebiskop Antje Jackelén fra den svenske folkekirke:

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Svenska kyrkan: Ärkebiskopen mötte påven i Rom <her>

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4. maj - Sveriges Radio: Sveriges ärkebiskop Antje Jackélen mötte i dag påven Franciskus i Rom och hon uttryckte sin stora besvikelse över hur Europa agerar när det gäller alla dödsfallen på Medelhavet.

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Ærkebiskop Antje Jackelén' tale:

Your Holiness, Your Eminences and Excellencies,   

It is an honor and a joy for me to bring you greetings from the Church ofSweden

Since Vatican II, there have been numerous contacts between the Vaticanand the Church of Sweden. Last spring, it was a special honor to host anecumenical vespers in Lund Cathedral, in memory of the 25th anniversaryof the visit of Pope John Paul II to Sweden and other Nordic countries.Also, in my previous capacity as bishop of Lund, I had the pleasure ofmeeting Rev. Dr. Anders Ruuth, and hear about his experiences fromArgentina.   

Your Holiness, it was with great joy that I, as a council member of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), witnessed the presentation of the document From Conflict to Communion (FCTC) two years ago the resultof nearly five decades of dialogue between Catholics and Lutherans. Forthe first time since the 16th century, we now have a shared account ofreformation history as well as shared commitments for the future. 

With The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ) from 1999 and From Conflict to Communion from 2013 we have reason tohighlight some solid ecumenical developments between Catholics andLutherans. They may not always capture the positive imagination of allexperts, but they do inspire the ecumenical hopes and dreams of people atparish level, especially those families longing to go to the Lord’s Tabletogether. We share experiences of mutual condemnation, division and hate,but also of life-giving reconciliation and of lay and grassroots engagementsthat eagerly anticipate the realities yet to be confirmed by official dialogue.

Koinonia, communion, is ‘learning by doing’ in response to the needs of theworld. We have been learning – sometimes the hard way – that it is aboutsharing the richness of traditions rather than building fences around one’sown turf; that it is about empowerment rather than about power.

It adds to my joy that the Lutheran World Federation and the CatholicChurch will jointly host an ecumenical event in the fall of 2016, inanticipation of the 500th Reformation anniversary in 2017. Like our fellowchurches in the LWF, the Church of Sweden is dedicated to ecumenicalaccountability and global perspectives. We are eager to contribute to acommemoration in common thanksgiving for the Gospel and repentance forthe pain that conflict and division have caused, as well as in jointcommitment to common witness. As the fifth imperative in From Conflict toCommunion urges us: “Catholics and Lutherans should witness together tothe mercy of God in proclamation and service to the world” (FCTC 243).

And indeed, the world is crying out for credible words of hope and for theworks of love that the Gospel of Jesus Christ compels us to carry out,together with people of good will from many traditions. In these days,expectations that the Church be an agent of peace and justice are bothhigh and demanding.

Your Holiness has sent waves of hope throughout the world by speakingout on issues of poverty, marginalization and equality – most recently onthe scandal of the gulf between wages for men and women. I have beenencouraged by people in Sweden to bring Your Holiness a word of gratitudefrom the LGBTQ community: some of what you have said has evoked asmall sense of reconciliation and of dawning acceptance.

Children and women are those who suffer the most from injustice, food andwater stress, violence, trafficking and climate change. However,experience proves that women also are those who bring about many of thechanges needed, once they are given the rights to education and self-determination. It is necessary not only to speak about and for women, butto speak with them, and to enable their leadership skills to contribute to theflourishing of church and society.

Freedom of religion or belief, social justice, protection of whistleblowersand minorities – the list of challenges for church leaders is long, as it is forthe international community. We are grieved and angered by the tragicdecline of the Christian presence in the Middle East. The need forhumanitarian aid to the victims of wars and catastrophes continues.

Moreover, we are challenged by the spiritual poverty that otherwise well-to-do societies are facing. Secularization leaves us with mixed feelings: onthe one hand, it is a result of the success of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,because, when “the world” is challenging us to be braver in affirming humanfreedom and dignity, it is challenging us with the fruits of our own preaching– which is good. On the other hand, secularization has undermined theknowledge and practice of faith, leaving especially young people withoutaccess to the spiritual resources offered by the church. Thus, loneliness,the haunting feeling of never being fully accepted, and the lack of courageto fully face life’s ups and downs are threats to the spiritual health of wholegenerations.

Insecurity provides a fertile soil for xenophobia and intolerance, a growingproblem in Europe. It also keeps us from the urgent necessity to do twothings at the same time, such as being involved in interreligious dialogue inorder to strengthen social cohesion in diverse cities, while at the same timeresisting violence in the name of religion.

The tragedies at the doorsteps of Europe continue. Thousands of peopledying in Mare nostrum, our Mediterranean: a shame for Europe! Migrationand millions of refugees and IDPs will continue to put our values and ourability to act to the test.

Your coming encyclical on climate will be welcomed by religious leaders,NGOs and decision makers around the world. Climate change probably isthe greatest common challenge ever faced by humankind. Now it is timefor science, politics, business, culture and religion – everything that is anexpression of human dignity – to work together. Climate is about scienceand faith, about justice and lifestyle, welfare and interdependence, sin andreconciliation, about humans as “created co-creators”, about revisitinganthropocentric world views and about hope. The world looks to religiousleaders, since religions provide a cultural integrity, a spiritual depth and amoral force often lacking in purely secular approaches.

A year ago, the bishops of the Church of Sweden published a so-called Bishop’s Letter About the Climate. Last fall, the Church of Swedencompleted its divestment process and its financial portfolio is nowcompletely free from fossil fuel companies. We hope many others willfollow.

Today’s challenges are no longer defined by local or national borders. Theyare glocal, both global and local. Borders are no longer what they used tobe. That should not scare us. Because at the center of Christianity, there isa God crossing the most dramatic border of all: the one between divine andhuman. Transgression of borders always entails “Berührungsangst”, theanxiety of touching and being touched by what is different, strange, other.As people of faith, we can live with these anxieties, remaining centered inthe Gospel of the incarnated Christ and open, very much open, to theworld. And so, united in prayer for God's creation and the church of JesusChrist, we say with confidence: Veni Creator Spiritus, Come Creator Spirit. 

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Pave Frans' tale:

To Dr. Antje Jackelén, Archbishop of Uppsala, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden (4 May 2015)


Dear Dr Jackelén, dear sister, 
Dear friends,

I greet you cordially and I thank you for your kind words. Last year, with gratitude to God, we celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio, which is still for us the fundamental point of reference for the ecumenical efforts of the Catholic Church. This document made clear that ecumenism was henceforth to become a priority. It invited all Catholics to undertake the way of unity, in recognition of the signs of the times, so that division among Christians could be overcome. Such division is not only in opposition to the will of Christ, but is indeed a scandal in the world, as it damages the most sacred of duties: the preaching of the Gospel to every creature.

In speaking of the “seamless robe of Christ” (No. 13), the Decree expressed deep respect for and appreciation of our separated brethren, to whom, in our daily lives, we risk paying too little attention. They should not be perceived as adversaries or competitors, but rather recognized for what they are: brothers and sisters in faith.

Catholics and Lutherans need to seek and promote unity in their dioceses, parishes and communities across the whole world. On the way towards full and visible unity in the faith, in sacramental life and in ecclesial ministry there remains much work still to be done. But we can be certain that the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, will be always the light and strength of spiritual ecumenism and theological dialogue.

With appreciation I wish also to recall the recent document entitled From Conflict to Communion: Lutheran-Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017, published by the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity. It is with heartfelt hope that this initiative – with the help of God and through our cooperation with him and among ourselves – may encourage further steps in the path towards unity.

The call to unity as disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ carries with it the urgent summons to a common commitment to charity in favour of all those in the world who suffer as a result of extreme poverty and violence; they especially need our mercy. The witness of our persecuted brothers and sisters, in particular, stirs us to grow in fraternal communion.

Urgent also is the vital issue of the dignity of human life, which is always to be respected. So, too, are issues concerning the family, marriage and sexuality. These cannot be suppressed or ignored, simply for fear of risking the ecumenical consensus already achieved. It would indeed be sad if in these important matters new confessional differences were to arise.

Dear friends, I thank you again for your visit. In the hope that Lutheran-Catholic collaboration will be strengthened, I pray that the Lord may bless each of you abundantly, as well as your communities.

I would like, in addition, to express my gratitude for two things. First of all, I wish to thank the Swedish Lutheran Church for welcoming so many South American migrants in the time of the dictatorships. This fraternal welcome made it possible to raise families. In the second place, I wish to thank you for the delicacy, dear sister, with which you mentioned my good friend, Pastor Anders Root; I shared the Chair of Spiritual Theology with him, and he helped me a great deal in my own spiritual life. Thank you.

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