Ecumenical pilgrimage to Wittenberg [to celebrate Martin Luther’s supposed nailing of his 95 heretical theses to the cathedral door!?]

Ecumenical pilgrimage to Wittenberg [to celebrate Martin Luther’s supposed nailing of his 95 heretical theses to the cathedral door!?]

[Ecumania run amok]

Catholic World News – June 17, 2016

[“Catholic”] Auxiliary Bishop Hubert Berenbrinker of Padeborn joined leaders of the World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation on a pilgrimage to Wittenberg, the German city that was the site of much of Martin Luther’s activity.

Lutheran leaders have gathered in Wittenberg to discuss the upcoming fifth centenary of the Protestant Reformation.

Pilgrims reflected on three themes: “human beings – not for sale,” “creation – not for sale,” and “salvation – not for sale [a reference to Luther’s denial of indulgences].”

Reference: Pilgrims on the way to Wittenberg: a documentary in photos (Lutheran World Federation)

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2 comments on “Ecumenical pilgrimage to Wittenberg [to celebrate Martin Luther’s supposed nailing of his 95 heretical theses to the cathedral door!?]

  1. [If it is to be an ecumenical pilrimage, I prefer the one to the shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in England]

    Why Pilgrimage?


    Pilgrimage is an essential part of life and living. Christians see life itself in terms of a journey, coming from God and returning to God. This is true of other world religions where pilgrimage is also important.

    A pilgrimage is a symbol in action. It represents the journey of the Christian life from earth to heaven. The Church is sometimes described as a pilgrim people.

    Back in the Middle Ages pilgrimages were very popular. It was not like going on holiday. Pilgrimages often took years. Journeys were long and dangerous and many died en route. They usually travelled in groups and would stay in monasteries or hostels on the way.

    Pilgrims undertook these journeys to holy places because it was important for their faith. If they had committed sins they believed that by going on a pilgrimage they could show God how sorry they were. Sometimes they were sent on such journeys by a priest as a penance. Sometimes they went for healing of a physical condition.



    It is a strange phenomenon of the late twentieth century that pilgrimage should again have become popular. Thousands of visitors come to Walsingham each year.

    The particular emphasis of pilgrimage to Walsingham is concerned with the Incarnation of Jesus – this is the belief central to the Christian faith that at a definite date in history, in a certain place, God himself was born of a woman into a human family.

    The Holy House is a reminder of Nazareth, of the house in which Jesus lived as a child and young man. By visiting it and praying within it, pilgrims believe that they are identifying with those influences which were formative as Jesus grew through childhood to adolescence and adulthood.



    The much-loved statue of Our Lady of Walsingham is enthroned within the Holy House. It is important to understand that the statue is a focus for devotion – a visual aid – and not something to be worshipped in itself. Down through the years Christians have sought the prayers of Mary to support them in their pilgrimage through life. At times in the history of the church there has been controversy about devotion to Mary but in these ecumenical days there are few who would deny a right respect and love to the Mother of Jesus.

    Thousands of Pilgrims representing hundreds of parishes come on pilgrimage to Walsingham every year.

  2. [I say “Martin Luther’s supposed nailing of his 95 heretical theses to the cathedral door”, because it is an “urban legend”]

    From a German Lutheran source: Legends about Luther: Nailing the 95 Theses

    October 31, 1517: Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg with hammer strokes which echoed throughout all of Europe. This act has been portrayed numerous times thoughout the centuries, and until the 21st century it was accepted as fact. It has become a symbol of the Reformation as nothing else has.

    It was like a slap in the face when the Catholic Luther researcher, Erwin Iserloh, asserted in 1961 that the nailing of the theses to the door of the Castle Church belonged to the realm of legends.

    The facts are convincing, the first written account of the event comes from Philipp Melanchthon who could not have been an eye-witness to the event since he was not called to Wittenberg University as a professor until 1518.

    Also, this account appeared for the first time after Luther’s death and he never commented on ‘nailing anything up’ in 1517.

    Announcements of upcoming disputes were supposedly regularly hung on the door of the Castle Church. But, openly hanging the theses without waiting for a reaction from the Bishops could have been seen as a clear provocation of his superiors. Luther would not have done that because he only wanted to clear up some misunderstandings.

    It is also worth noting, that there was no open discussion of the theses in Wittenberg and that no original printing of the theses could be found.

    One thing is sure: Luther wrote a letter to his superiors on October 31, 1517 in which he denounced the sale of indulgence and asked for repayment and removal of the misunderstandings. With the letter he included 95 theses which were to be the basis for a discussion on the topic.

    Today, the majority of Luther researchers see it as fact, that Luther did not nail his theses to the door of the Castle Church on that day. But the picture of Luther nailing the theses to the door of the church is still today the most common in regards to Luther, the reformation and Lutherstadt Wittenberg.

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