• 500 years have passed since Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Although there is no proof of the historicity of this, it was an event that changed the history of Christianity and the life of the Catholic Church.

    While the Luther Church is celebrating this anniversary of the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church is in the birth pangs of the aggiornamento ushered by the Second Vatican Council mor than 50 years ago. The two events are not unrelated. The religious wars of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were settled by an agreement on cuius regio huius religio, which gave secular rulers the right to choose the religion of their region. Tolerance was limited.

    By the start of the Second Vatican Council in 1962, the cultural situation had shifted. It was Pope Paul VI who made dialogue the bedrock of how relation between Churches, religion and Church and State should develop. Vatican II, especially with its document of human dignity, commonly referred to as document of religious freedom, strengthened this position. Members of other religions and Churches were invited as observed at the Council, thus further dropping the walls of suspicion.

    Structured dialogue between Catholic and Lutherans started in earnest. Discern Annual Lecture on Luther and the Church is intended to be a move on this path which the Catholic Church and Luther Church have taken. The lecture will be held on Friday, 29th September 2017, at the Old Refectory, at the Archbishop’s Curia, Floriana, at 7:00 p.m.

    • The main speaker of the event is Professor Richard Rex, Professor of Reformation History at the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge. His research interests focus mainly on the interaction between religion, politics, and ideas in early modern England and Europe. His main current project is an exploration of the emergence and impact of the theology and public persona of Martin Luther in the Imperial and European context of the early sixteenth century.

      Prof. Rex is also specialist on the political, social, and intellectual aspects of English religious history from the late 14th to the early 17th century (including John Wycliffe, Lollardy, early Protestantism, and the English Reformation and its aftermath).