So they’ve done it. Andrew and Sarah Wilson, tracing Luther’s 1510 journey from Erfurt to Rome, have finally crossed the Tiber. And I mean that literally. They reached their destination.
Ecumenism can be the lightheaded pursuit of the touchy-feely crowd who don’t like to think hard about doctrine, but not in this case. Andrew’s posts were historically loaded and forthright. He admits that Luther’s mission from Erfurt to Rome was actually meant to prevent unity, lending an ironic twist to their journey. Sarah’s winsome writing encapsulated what everyone’s attitude towards ecumenism should be: “Nothing but the sharpest and clearest truth will do. Nothing but the greatest and most generous love will do.” The walk now completed, both pilgrims have challenged Catholics to make it a round trip.
When in Rome, Sarah and Andrew appropriately commemorated Reformation Day by celebrating both Luther and the signing of the Lutheran-Catholic Joint Declaration. They’ve educated their readers, reminding us how much progress has been made, from the Princeton proposal to the Global Christian Forum, and many other advances as well. One stated goal of Here I Walk was to publicize such spiritual advances. Just try to imagine the current Pope doing what Julius II was doing when Luther arrived.
We might also mention that the mutual excommunication between East and West of 1054 has been officially “in oblivion” since 1965. Capitalizing on this rapprochement, Dawn LaValle—a young Catholic—reflected on worshipping in a hospitable Orthodox monastery this summer, and her thoughts are very similar in tone to Here I Walk. But despite all kinds of progress, Christian fractures remain. Henry Chadwick’s saddening quip comes to mind: “The principal reason for Christian disunity, it seems, is disunity itself.”