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As Mark Brumley observes, Martin Luther is “not a popular figure in most Catholic circles.” So why does Pope Benedict express appreciation for the original Protestant ?

In his address Benedict makes a number of key points regarding Luther. First, there is Luther’s “burning question”, as Benedict puts it: “what is God’s position towards me, where do I stand before God?” This remains the central question of life today, even though many people don’t realize it.

Second, there is Luther’s Christ-centered spirituality. For Luther, “This God has a face, and he has spoken to us. He became one of us in the man Jesus Christ – who is both true God and true man,” explains Pope Benedict. According to Luther, Christ is the interpretative center of the Bible, notes Benedict, which presupposes “that Christ is at the heart of our spirituality and that love for him, living in communion with him, is what guides our life.”

Benedict clearly thinks on both of these points Luther is right and that calling attention to this fact is important for all Christians today.

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