Georgetown Holds Conference on 500th Anniversary of Protestant Reformation

Georgetown Holds Conference on 500th Anniversary of Protestant Reformation


A two day conference last week celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation and sought to explore the dynamic between the Lutheran and Catholic communities.

John Borelli, the event’s organizer, said he was pleased with how the conference went. The event focused on the relationships formed between Lutherans and Catholics and was meant to stimulate discussion about interreligious understanding. Attendees, he said, heard a lot about the current status of the relationship between Lutherans and Catholics.

University president John DeGioia introduced the conference’s two keynote speakers in Dahlgren Chapel. Over the past 50 years, DeGioia said, Lutherans and Catholics have maintained a dialog. “This spirit of ecumenical dialog continues in this conference,” he said, “as we engage together in conversation and scholarship and friendship.”

After DeGioia spoke, professor John W. O’Malley, S.J., of Georgetown’s theology department, gave a keynote entitled “Martin Luther, Trent, Vatican I and Vatican II.” O’Malley sprinkled his keynote with wry humor and spoke about Luther’s motivations and some of the Catholic responses to Protestantism. His speech covered the 400 year history  of the dynamic between Lutherans and Catholics.

The next day, in Copley Formal Lounge, the conference continued with reflections on this anniversary of the Reformation.

The morning started with a discussion about what makes the 500th anniversary of the Reformation significant. It continued with a session called, “Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue: Accomplishments and Challenges.”

The afternoon saw two more sessions. The first covered Jesuits and the Reformation; the second was a panel discussion billed as “Teaching the Reformation after 50 Years of Dialogue.”

Jonathan Marrow (COL ’18) thought that the conference was valuable. “This event shows the terrific scholars we have at Georgetown,” Marrow said. “Only at Georgetown University can you have this high level of dialogue about the history of interreligious understanding and ecumenism.

Image Credit: Jack Townsend

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