500 Years After The Reformation, 1 in 5 Germans Support Unification Of Catholic And Protestant Churches

The altar of the Schlosskirche in Wittenberg, the city of Martin Luther, who began the Protestant Reformation 500 years ago. Now one in five Germans say they would support the unification of the Protestant and Catholic Churches.Reuters

In Germany, where the Protestant Reformation began 500 years ago, the Protestant and Catholic Churches are making a show of unity. One in five German Protestants would support unification with the Roman Catholic Church.

New efforts have been made to emphasise and encourage unity between Protestant and Catholics in Germany, according to Evangelical Focus. In September last year, the highest authorities of both Churches signed a document in which they pledged to make the 500th anniversary of the Reformation an ecumenical year in which Protestants and Catholics would 'confess Jesus Christ together'.

Two thousand Germans were surveyed by the evangelical news agency Idea on what they thought of a reunification of the Churches.

Twenty per cent said they favoured reunification, while 18 per cent said they did not. Seventeen per cent said they could not or did not want to respond, and 45 per cent responded: 'I do not care.'

Of those who identified as Roman Catholic, 66 per cent supported the creation of one united institution. However most members (59 per cent) of the state Protestant church (EKD) opposed such a move.

On March 11 a reconciliation service will be held in which both Protestant and Catholic Churches will ask each other for forgiveness. The 'ecumenical service of penitence and reconciliation' will be held in the German town of Hildesheim.

Roman Catholic Cardinal Reinhard Marx previously lamented the 'broken unity of the Church', but said that he believes 2017 will show 'how deeply both churches are united in the faith'.