Ulf Ekman skriver før pavebesøket

Ulf Ekman skrev nylig en tekst på engelsk om pavebesøket i Sverige, og den ble offentliggjort 28/10 i det kjente engelske katolske tidsskriftet Catholic Herald. Jeg tar med noe fra starten og fra slutten av hans artikkel:

This Monday will mark the second time in history that a pope has visited Sweden. The last time was when Pope John Paul II came in 1989. Since then, times have changed for the Catholic Church in Sweden.

In the 1980s the Church was generally seen as a foreign entity with all the precautions and suspicions that followed the Reformation. That reformation was not much debated but rather intrinsically interwoven into the fabric of Swedish society.

Sweden, by tradition a staunch Protestant nation, is now one of the most secular nations in the world, but still with some strong religious elements within it. The Catholic Church was at best seen as an exotic element, mainly made up by immigrants, and at worst as a lurking danger for both secular and religious society because of its “superstition and lust for intrigue and power”.

A few conversions in recent years have provoked surprise: some intellectuals and a few High Church priests have disavowed the Lutheran state church. Lutheranism, in a rather liberal, modernistic and cautiously Low Church form, has dominated the religious landscape in Sweden for many years. …

… The ministry of the Successor of Peter is, of course, a subject of dispute in Sweden, an emotional sore spot for so many Protestants and an impossible theological hurdle for others. In the wake of increased interest in the Catholic Church and a number of recent conversions some ultra-Protestants are even suggesting that the Vatican is making an improper advance towards Sweden.

Some words from Pope St John Paul II sum up the situation well: “Emotionally the Protestants stand closer than ever to the Catholic Church, but dogmatically they are still far apart.”

This is the dilemma for Pope Francis in Sweden. The hope is that the quest for unity penetrates deeper, in both truth and love, to the very core, to the real issues, as brothers and sisters on both sides must grapple with what really happened in those fateful years in the early 1500s that so dramatically tore the Church apart. …

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