(ENI)-The Lutheran Church in Italy has announced that it will not take part in events in Rome organized by the Roman Catholic Church to mark the year 2000.
The Vatican has outlined a program of celebrations to mark the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ, beginning with Midnight Mass Dec. 24 and continuing until the celebration of Epiphany on Jan. 6, 2001.
However, in a statement published last month the Lutheran Church said that the Jubilee should be “an act of penitence” to give praise “to God alone,” avoiding “all false glory of the church.”
The statement pointed out that 2000 years of Christian history had seen both “great acts of courage” and serious crimes committed by the church.
The Lutheran church called instead on the Italian public to mark the Jubilee according to Jesus’ intentions by sharing “a visible sign of the love of God for human beings and their dignity.” The church suggested that the best way to do this was by supporting “the request to cancel the debts of the world’s poorest countries.”
According to the World Churches Handbook, about 10,000 of Italy’s total population of 57 million citizens are members of the Lutheran Church.