Panel on âThe EU and church dialogueâ
The following press release has been delivered by the Secretary General of the AIDLR during the event organized on Tuesday 17th October 2017 at the European Parliament in Brussels by MEP HANNU TAKKULA. With the participation of European Parliament politicians: MEP CSABA SÃGOR, MEP ALOJZ PETERLE, MEP ARNE LIETZ, MEP MAIREAD MCGUINNESS, MEP CECILIA WIKSTRÃM, MEP PETER VAN DALEN; of religious leaders: Bishop SIMO PEURA, Pastor KATTY OLDENDOORFF -the Rector of the Finnish Seamenâs Missionâs everyday life-, Father HEIKKI HUTTUNEN -Secretary General of the Conference of European Churches-, Pastor RAAFAT KAMAL -President of the Trans-European Division (TED) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church-, Pastor KATRIN HATZINGER -Senior Church Counsel and Head, Evangelical Church in Germany-, and professors , Utrecht University and DEZSO BUZOGANY DezsÅ BuzogÃ¡ny, from the Protestant Theological Institute of Cluj-Napoca, and many others.
The panels of the Conference focused on âThe societal significance of Lutherâs emphasis on graceâ, âThe reformation legacy as shaper of the EU in the past, present and futureâ and, âThe EU and church dialogueâ. Father Heikki Huttunen debated on the âpractical role and influence of religion and religious people to our societyâ, and professor Dezso Buzogany talked on âLuther as an instrument in the hand of Godâ, âthe historical changes were made by the word of God and by the power of God that put the Bible in the hand of peopleâ. Cecilia WikstrÃ¶m underlined: âLutherâs legacy has been a positive oneâ. On the Reformation legacy, the Secretary General of the AIDLR contributed to the debate by looking from the perspective of German professor Heinz Schilling, author of the excellent book published recently on âMartin Luther, Rebel in an Age of Upheavalâ and focusing on âthe importance of qualitative renewal of religion to our society, todayâ at the beginning of the 21st Century. Dr. Liviu Olteanu underlined: if we look today to the impact of the Reformation as a shaper of the EUâs present and future, first of all, we have to start by not forgetting the lessons of the history, the big picture of the past that opened doors of light and hope for future generations. Against his will, Luther assisted at the birth of the pluralistic and liberal modern age; indirectly and involuntarily, he contributed to the emergence of modern tolerance, pluralism and liberalism, religious freedom, and even more to the economics of modern society. âHis deliberate personal legacy to the modern age lies elsewhere in the rediscovery of religion and faith as elemental forces for the individual and for societyâ. In the context of this topic, Professor HEINZ SCHILLING wrote and the Secretary General of the AIDLR quoted him: âAs a result of the Protestant Reformation and the reformation of the papal church, for which Luther had provided the impetus, religion influenced the society, culture and politics of the modern age and was therefore able to play a decisive part in the radical transition that produced the European modernityâ.
One of the statements expressed by the Pastor RAAFAT KAMAL in an enthusiastic, attractive and concise way, on âReformation Unendingâ, stressed the need of the Reformationâs spirit for our generation: âFive hundred years ago, a powerful, continuous process of change, had its beginning. This process affected not only religious institutions and theological conceptions, but it brought a transformation in all aspects of the society. As Jesus Christ said, we can change the world to make it a better place. The Protestant Reformation is not a historical event frozen in the 16th Century. On the contrary, the Reformation spirit and message must be rediscovered and relived today if we are to make the most of its core principles.