Filipino Catholics and Protestants gathered in Manila this week to look back at lessons learned by churches since the Reformation 500 years ago. Archbishop Antonio Ledesma of Cagayan de Oro said that despite years of doctrinal dispute, Christians — Catholic and Protestant — find points of unity to strengthen "inter-religious solidarity." "There are visible elements that we can work for, like our common Gospel values," said the prelate in a speech at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila on Nov. 7. He said the demand for Christian unity is motivated by the churches' role to address the needs of the modern world. "We are minority in Asia. It is one of the reasons why Christians must unite to face the challenges that affect all of us," said Archbishop Ledesma. Aldrin Penamora of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches said the "most compelling reason" for Christian churches to unite is their goal "to be in communion with the people." "What divided us 500 years ago is uniting us today," he said, adding that,"it is our faith that tells us to unite to call for the end of all wars." Rommel Linatoc, director of Christian Unity and Ecumenical Relations of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, said activities for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation will be part of the celebration of 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines. "We will be holding activities like this to enrich Christian unity that has to be transmitted and translated down to our Christian communities and formations," said Linatoc. The Protestant Reformation started in 1517 when German monk Martin Luther was excommunicated after pinning his 95 Theses to the door of a church.
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