Apology from Archbishop of Canterbury coming for Reformation violence against Catholics

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, left, speaks, flanked by Pope Francis, during vespers prayers at the monastery church of San Gregorio al Celio in Rome, Italy, on Oct. 5, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Tony Gentile

The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is expected to issue a statement this week apologizing for the violence that followed the Protestant Reformation 500 years ago.

The statement, according to news accounts, will express remorse that the (Protestant) Church of England carried out so many acts of violence—including burning Roman Catholics at the stake.

Advertisement

It will also urge believers to ask for forgiveness for atrocities that happened on both sides during the Reformation and for greater unity between Catholic and Protestant churches today.

The publication of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses on Oct. 31, 1517, is traditionally considered the birth of the Reformation that split Western Christianity into Catholic and Protestant. Celebrations throughout the world will mark the 500th anniversary this year.

Welby’s statement is due to come a month before members of the Church of England’s General Synod discuss the commemoration.

Catholics and Protestants will gather at Lambeth Palace—Welby’s London home—to express remorse and pray for Christian unity.

Although the physical atrocities against Catholics took place during the reigns of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and Edward VI, Catholics (and Jews) were not allowed to vote, sit in Parliament or attend universities until the middle of the 19th century.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

The setting of “West Side Story” is San Juan Hill, the nickname of the Lincoln Square area of Upper West Side of Manhattan—an area bulldozed and redeveloped into the Lincoln Center performing arts complex in the early 1960s.
Ryan Di CorpoFebruary 25, 2020
Lent is not the time for hating my body or ignoring it or making it suffer for things that I have done, no matter what the voice of my eating disorder says.
Amanda Martinez BeckFebruary 25, 2020
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden departs services at the Royal Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston, S.C., on Feb. 23. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Bernie Sanders may yet unify the Democrats, writes Robert David Sullivan, but there are still questions about what to do if most primary voters oppose him.
Robert David SullivanFebruary 24, 2020
In this last week of Ordinary Time before Lent, take time to reflect on the ordinary blessings in your life and cultivate gratitude for them.
James Martin, S.J.February 24, 2020