CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 18 November 2017

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Vatican stamps for Reformation

VATICAN (SE): The Vatican is putting its stamp on the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, or at least putting the two historical events with significant anniversaries being marked this year on a stamp.
 
The Vatican Philatelic and Numismatic Bureau is releasing two postage stamps on November 23, one for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and the other for the 450th anniversary of the birth of St. Francis de Sales (1567 to 1622).
 
The stamp commemorating the Reformation, which will have a face value of €1 ($10), shows a crucified Jesus in the foreground over the timeless, golden background of the German city of Wittenberg, where Martin Luther is said to have posted his 95 Theses that are regarded as the starting point of the Reformation on 31 October 1517.
 
“Kneeling on the left and the right of the cross respectively are Martin Luther holding the bible, the source and objective of his doctrine, and Philip Melanchthon, a friend of Luther, who was one of the greatest protagonists of the Reformation, holding the Augsburg Confession, the first official presentation of the principles of Protestantism,” the Vatican office says.
 
The stamp marking the birth of St. Francis de Sales on 21 August 1567 is valued at €2.55 ($25.50).
 
The Vatican Philatelic Office says, “Francis de Sales lived his ministry with the firm desire to save the Church of Rome from the Calvinist Reformation… by the love of God he brought many faithful who had separated back to the Catholic communion.”
 
The stamp depicts him in a stained glass window holding a writing plume, which is to represent his selection as being the patron saint of journalists, authors and writers.
 
Pope Francis has been at pains to make the anniversary of the Reformation a high profile event and has from the beginning always presented it as a celebration and a positive experience for the Church and the ecumenical movement.
 
However, of late, some high profile criticisms have emerged, including one from the superior general of the Augustinians, the congregation of which Luther was a member, calling him a disobedient son who lacked respect for the proper authority of his superiors, thus doing enormous damage to the Church.

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