Monsignor John A. Radano Speaks At CSS

A Review of Catholic Studies Fall Lecture

Emily Kiemele

The College of St. Scholastica welcomed Monsignor John Radano, a clergy member, on Nov. 16 to orate his lecture: Lutheran and Catholic Relations 500 Years After the Reformation: Where Are We Now?

Dr. Kevin Vaughan, director of Catholic Studies here at Scholastica, opened by introducing Radano and giving a brief synopsis of his impressive biography. Vaughan noted that a large portion of efforts made recently in the Christian community have been to “restore mutual respect in community.”

There were three main parts of Radano’s lecture: a swift introduction, addressing where the relationship is at now, and furthering with where the relationship plans to go.

Radano reminded listeners that the reformation began when Martin Luther made his 95 thesis known to the Roman Catholic church in 1517. He noted that since then, it has been “500 difficult years” of mutual misunderstanding, exclusion, and hatred between Lutheran and Catholic sides, and that this separation has been inherited as tradition on both sides.

A new era of healing began 50 years after the first Lutheran and Catholic dialogue. Radano instructed that communication between the two sides has been “fruitful,” starting with observations of both sides and moving into willingness to discuss differences. An important event of this discussion was the “Joint Declaration of on the Doctrine of Justification,” in 1999 — Radano was in attendance. The dialogue between the two sides takes place in a variety of nations, which gains a larger worldly perspective, and takes Luther and his concerns very seriously.

Radano reported both on the common ground between the two sides and also where Lutherans and Catholics continue to disagree. The most obvious agreement between the two is the acknowledgment of a triune God, a Christian concept depicting the Holy Trinity as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Other agreements include recognizing Christ as the church’s foundation, the saving Gospel message is core of the Church, apostolic word, and that the word of God is indefectible, meaning it is preserved and protected.

Unresolved areas include whether or not the church is holy or sinful (Catholics believe the Church to be holy, and Lutherans acknowledge the Church’s sinful nature), who can become ordained (Catholics, along with some traditional Lutheran synods, allow only men; while some Lutheran denominations allow both men and women), and who may receive the Eucharist, or Holy Communion. Radano said that dialogue regarding these topics often produces “excellent theological results.”

As Martin Luther believed, and both sides admire, theology is not an academic pursuit, but rather a search of self. Radano pushed the importance of asking ourselves what the question of God means for our lives, could the problems of the world be solved with an increased love for God, and lastly, where do we stand before God? In the question segment, in which five individuals spoke, Radano also expressed the importance of energy from followers of both Lutheranism and Catholicism to works ecumenically, along with leaders of both participating in dialogue together.

Overall, the lecture was very informative with many beautiful ideas for religious unity. In a world so often divided over religion, it was refreshing to hear of successful efforts of bringing people together. The lecture truly reflected Scholastica’s five core values, and was important for community members to hear as we strive to improve our community.