Pope Francis visited Sweden this week during the celebration of the Reformation’s 500th year to promote “efforts to heal the 500-year-old rift between Catholics and Protestants” (Wall Street Journal, October 30, 2016). While the Pope praised some of Martin Luther’s actions (which led to the split between Catholics and Protestants), he focused on “moving beyond the controversies and disagreements” and illustrated the need for unification. The Pope and Bishop Younan, president of the Lutheran World Federation, also “signed a statement indicating that intercommunion between the churches remained a goal for the future” (ibid.). Vatican spokesman Greg Burke explained in a briefing before the Pope’s trip that Catholics and Lutherans are “no longer defining themselves in opposition to each other.” Leaders in both churches hope “the Pope’s visit to Sweden will help Catholics and Lutherans move further down the path to the restoration of full communion” (Catholic Culture, October 27, 2016).
The Bible has long predicted that an end-time church known as the “mother of harlots” (Revelation 17:5) will boast, “I am forever—the eternal queen… I will never be a widow or suffer the loss of children” (Isaiah 47:7-8, NIV). Since the split in 1517, there have been many signs pointing to the mother church recovering her children. In recent decades there has been a major push for a return of Protestant denominations (harlot daughters) to their “universal” mother—Catholicism. This topic is more fully explained in our telecast “The Harlot of Revelation 17.”