Pope Francis Asks Waldensian Christians to Forgive the Church

Pope Francis

Source: Catholic Herald, June 22

Pope Francis shakes hands with Pastor Eugenio Bernardini during the first ever visit of a pope to a Waldensian evangelical church (PA)

Pope Francis has asked Waldensian Christians to forgive the Catholic Church for historic persecution. Earlier today Francis became the first pontiff in history to visit a Waldensian evangelical church, when he attended the Waldensian temple in Turin. The Pope is currently taking part in a two-day visit to the city in northern Italy.

The Waldensian church, which was founded in the 12th century, was rejected by the Catholic Church and its members were brutally persecuted during the Middle Ages. “On the part of the Catholic Church, I ask your forgiveness, I ask it for the non-Christian and even inhuman attitudes and behaviour that we have showed you,” said Pope Francis. He added: “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, forgive us!”

The Waldensians claim to currently have 45,000 followers, mostly in Italy, Argentina and Uruguay.

Prior to the Pope’s remarks, Pastor Eugenio Bernardini, the pastor of the Waldensian community in Turin, questioned why the church had been rejected by Rome. “What was the sin of the Waldensians,” he asked. “It was being a movement of popular evangelisation, carried out by lay people.”

In his remarks, Pope Francis said the principle benefit of ecumenism “is the rediscovery of the fraternity that unites all those who believe in Jesus Christ and are baptised in His Name.”

He added: “But the unity that is the fruit of the Holy Spirit does not mean uniformity. Brothers have in common the same origin, but they are not identical among themselves.”

During his visit to Turin, Pope Francis has also visited the Turin Shroud and spoke to an audience of young people.

Jürgen Habermas on the Greek Crisis

The Philosopher Jürgen Habermas wrote this commentary in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, June 23:

Juergen Habermas“[Greece’s] lacking fiscal sovereignty is just one of many vulnerable aspects. The monetary union will remain unstable as long as it is not complemented by a banking, fiscal and economic union. But unless we want to come right out and call democracy nothing but decoration, that will involve developing the monetary union into a political union….

“What we are really lacking is a focus for joint political decision-making on the part of the people regarding key political issues in core Europe. But the veil over this institutional deficit has still not been fully lifted. The Greek election has blown sand in the mechanism of Europe, because the people themselves decided over a political alternative that they are keen to discuss….

“The political elites in Europe may no longer hide from their voters and themselves the alternatives with which a politically incomplete monetary union faces us. It is the people, not the banks, who must have the last say on the vital questions facing Europe.”

Neil Irwin, in The New York Times, June 28:

After an intractable series of negotiations over a bailout extension with Greece’s creditors, the nation’s left-wing government left the table Friday and said it would hold a referendum on July 5.