“We are not waiting for gifts”

After the top meeting of the churches during the Pope's visit to Germany, EKD Council President Praeses Nikolaus Schneider still said on our site interview: "I am not disappointed."In contrast, his Berlin counterpart has now expressed a completely different view.

The Protestant Bishop of Berlin, Markus Droge, criticizes the Pope's position on ecumenism in no uncertain terms. Benedict XVI. Has "neither a concept for ecumenism with the churches of the Reformation nor an idea for further theological work, as did his predecessor".

In an article for the "Evangelische Zeitung," he went on to write that at his meeting with top representatives of Protestantism in the Augustinian monastery in Erfurt, Benedict XVI. neither addressed the preliminary work on the understanding of ministry, "nor did he pick up the thread of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification or seize the opportunity that lies hidden in the common understanding of baptism".

Droge stressed that the pope's stance does not affect the Protestant self-image. "We are not waiting for ecumenical gifts – that was the papal misunderstanding in Erfurt." Protestants expected "rather a serious debate about which understanding of the church best corresponds to the gospel of Jesus Christ".

"Misunderstanding of faith and ecumenism"
The bishop was referring to Benedict XVI's statement that. in Erfurt's Augustinerkirche, expectations of an "ecumenical guest gift" as part of his visit are "a political misunderstanding of faith and ecumenism". The ecumenical dispute must be conducted "not for the sake of the Protestant self-understanding, but for the right interpretation of the Gospel," Droge explained.

Controversy was needed for women's ordination, for the rights of same-sex lovers, and for the synodal shape of the church and the Protestant form of invitation to Communion. At the same time, Droge rated the pope's visit as "disappointing" for Catholics. "Not a word about the need for reform in their church or about the decision of conscience of those who want to follow Jesus' call to communion with their Protestant partner. No empathetic response to the German president's request to deal mercifully with broken biographies. Nothing conciliatory about the contentious ies and the wing wars within the Catholic Church," he said, explaining his assessment. Droge is bishop of the Evangelical Church of Berlin-Brandenburg-schlesische Oberlausitz.

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