Tuesday, January 24, 2017

More on the Forthcoming Vatican Luther Stamp

It's been fascinating to watch Rome's defenders react to the possibility of the Vatican issuing a stamp to commemorate Luther and the Reformation. First there was the disbelief that the Vatican would do such a thing. Well, it is going to happen. Here's the official 2017 stamp list. Note #16, "5th Centenary of the Protestant Reformation."


Second, a defender of Rome on a discussion board  thought he came upon the actual Luther stamp: "Did a little research on Italian blogs, and YES, they are, but it is not flattering." Here's what was put forth as the actual stamp:


This spoof stamp appears to be the work of this Twitter user. He tweeted, "I hope the Vatican stamp for Luther to be like this!" I doubt it's going to be.  This picture is from a 1535 woodcut by Eduard Schoen.  Even though this image is popularly thought to depict Luther (the artist depicted the devil playing a bagpipe shaped like a monk), this source points out the there is no proof this woodcut was intended to be Luther.

Third, this blogger has presented the most interesting proof of the Vatican / Luther stamp. An article is cited from the January 2017 issue of l’Arte del Francobollo (the blogger also provides actual pictures of the magazine). He provides an English translation of "an interview with Mauro Olivieri, the director of the Holy See’s Philatelic and Numismatic Office." If this is actually not a fake story, the interview states,
Danilo Bogoni : Through newly issued stamps, the Vatican continues to clear the pages of history previously considered, at the least embarrassing: in 2011 the centenary of the unification of Italy, in this 2017 soon the beginning of the Lutheran Reformation. The issue of which a few years ago was unthinkable with the mark of the crossed keys.
Mauro Olivieri : We have to try to understand the present time and be interpreters of the messages that the Holy Father wishes to convey; with the help and understanding of my Superiors of the Governorate, we develop the idea of a modern philately, which mark the important moments of history: no doubt the issue dedicated to the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation marks the rapprochement and overcoming of mutual misunderstandings between Christians, and the philately there is.
Fourth, most fascinating to me is the continued dialog over on the Catholic Answers Forums. There are still a number of hoots and howls from Roman Catholic participants. This is typical of Rome's cyber-defenders. What makes the discussion interesting is the ecumenically-minded Roman Catholic priest that has to keep reminding everyone about the Vatican's pleasant demeanor towards Martin Luther. Consider:

Jan 21, '17, 5:24 pm
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Join Date: July 27, 2015
Posts: 3,487
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: "Vatican to Issue Stamp Featuring Martin Luther"

While I am delighted that the Vatican Post Office has issued a stamp to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, I am far happier:
  • For all the progress made in a new outlook on ecumenism since Unitatis Redintegratio -- more than fifty years ago.
  • That our celebration of the 500th anniversary of the birth of Martin Luther included proclamations by Pope Saint John Paul II, including the proclamation of Martin Luther -- in 1983, but the news seems still not to have reached the Catholic Answers Forum -- that we as Catholics acclaim Martin Luther as "Witness of the Gospel."
  • That Pope Benedict made a pilgrimage commemorating Martin Luther when he was in Erfurt in 2011...where he delivered a most memorable text on Catholic-Lutheran relations, that seems also not have been assimilated by persons on this thread.
  • That the joint commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation -- the planning for which began in earnest during Pope Benedict's visit to Germany in 2005 -- is well underway, thanks to Pope Francis and to PCPCU. It sees Catholic bishops and priests around the world co-presiding with Lutheran Clerics in a commemorative liturgy for the 500th anniversary.
  • That we are blessed to have the document From Conflict to Communion and by the document of the American Bishops, Declaration on the Way and that these will carry us all forward.

I am grateful for what the Popes have done. The Council Fathers have done. The Cardinals have done. The Bishops have done. And what my brother priests have done. That there are some fraction of lay people who either do not know or do not care is too bad for them...but thankfully, the hierarchy is moving forward -- and that is what matters for the Church.

I asked him the following: Is there any sort of infallible statement from the magisterium that binds all Catholics in regard to Luther and the Reformation? If not, why should it ultimately matter "Which dicastery" is followed? Until such defined statements, are not individuals Catholics allowed to have different opinions on non-infallibly defined issues? Here was his response:

 Jan 22, '17, 2:55 pm
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Join Date: July 27, 2015
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Default Re: "Vatican to Issue Stamp Featuring Martin Luther"

Quote:
Originally Posted by TertiumQuid View Post
Don,

Here's a question from an outsider (I am not Catholic)-

Is there any sort of infallible statement from the magisterium that binds all Catholics in regard to Luther and the Reformation? If not, why should it ultimately matter "Which dicastery" is followed? Until such defined statements, are not individuals Catholics allowed to have different opinions on non-infallibly defined issues?
To formulate your first question thus is to not comprehend at all the charism of infallibility and its function in the Church.

My work as a theologian is under the CDF...and I am attentive to all of their communications...just as a priest, I am with those emerging from the Congregation for the Clergy and, most especially, CDWDS and the PCTL as well as the guidance from the Apostolic Penitentiary, even though I am now retired.

For work in the area of dialogue, one is dispositively guided by PCPCU.

Are there requirements that those who are not priests are to follow? Yes, absolutely. In the case of this topic being discussed, they are first articulated in Unitatis Redintegratio and then in The Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism. As was stated in the directory:

6. The new edition of the Directory is meant to be an instrument at the service of the whole Church and especially of those who are directly engaged in ecumenical activity in the Catholic Church. The Directory intends to motivate, enlighten and guide this activity, and in some particular cases also to give binding directives in accordance with the proper competence of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
The diocesan bishops are to assure that the faithful of their diocese are complying with the binding directives from the Holy See.

Thus, a dicastery can issue directives that are, absolutely, binding; they are dispositive.

That has applied to the vast majority -- virtually the entirety -- of norms which I have carried out over the decades...whether in a parish or in a chancery or even, for that matter, in my years in the academy.

He's saying that Roman Catholics are obligated to adhere to the ecumenical approach to Luther. That is, it's time to be nice to Luther. In response to a Roman Catholic not willing to adhere to this obligation, this Roman Catholic priest said what I only wish I could posted on CA (but it would quickly be deleted, and I would be chastised):

Yesterday, 12:56 am
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Join Date: July 27, 2015
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Default Re: "Vatican to Issue Stamp Featuring Martin Luther"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ginny89 View Post
I dont need to read those to form the opinion that celebrating the worst breakup of the church is bizzarre.
Well, then all you are left with is your opinion.

As a priest and a theologian, such uninformed opinions have neither value nor interest.

What is of value and of significance is what the Church teaches and what her mind is on these matters. That is expressed directly by the Holy Father or through the dicasteries that are at his service.

I never thought I would see the day when Rome's private interpreters of Rome get chastised by an actual Roman Catholic priest. 

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