Finnish Lutheran Sounds a Catholic Note

Bishop Says His Faithful Want to Be Part of Church of Christ

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BARI, Italy, MAY 26, 2005 ( Finnish Lutherans want to be part of the Catholic Church of Christ, Helsinki’s Lutheran Bishop Eero Huovinen told the Italian National Eucharistic Congress.

The representative of this reformed Christian confession delivered an address on Wednesday, the day the Eucharistic Congress dedicated to ecumenism. Benedict XVI is scheduled to appear next Sunday at the closing of the congress.

After explaining that Martin Luther did not want to found a new church but simply renew it, the bishop said, «We Finnish Lutherans wish to be part of the Catholic Church of Christ.»

He explained that in 2005, together with Catholics and other Christians, Lutherans celebrated 850 years of the Church in Finland. Lutherans represent 84% of the country’s population of 5.2 million.

«Together with Catholic sisters and brothers, we pray to be able to be one in Christ,» emphasized Bishop Huovinen.

Given that Sunday is the theme of the Eucharistic Congress, the Lutheran said that one cannot live «without the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, without Christ and without God.»

«Sunday is the day of Christ’s resurrection» and «the Eucharist is the sacrament of the real presence of Christ,» he said.

«Unity is not effected without truth» and the only way is «truth and charity,» he added. «From the bottom of my heart, I would like to anticipate the day in which Lutherans and Catholics, together, unite in a visible way.»

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