A NEWS RELEASE
From National Office of the ELCIC
Winnipeg, April 20, 2005 (ELCIC) - National Bishop Raymond Schultz of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) offers his congratulations to Benedict XVI upon his election to the office of Pope in the Roman Catholic Church:
I add my own prayers to his that God may use his office to bring about mercy and grace for all.
The former Cardinal Ratzinger has been a controversial figure in the world church, as much caricatured as actually known. He recounts his years in the Hitler youth as having taught him to be suspicious of seemingly-progressive secular movements, leading him to dedicate his senior leadership in the church to protecting orthodoxy. How much of that was his own drive and how much was the service of a dutiful servant to the Holy See remains to be seen.
He deplores the pluralism of the post-modern era and sees conformity to orthodox history as a way to keep the church integrated in a climate that enjoys dismantling institutions.
Those in the church who have waited long for greater openness to women, a married priesthood and a more receptive attitude toward other Christians and world religions are disappointed by this election.
Lutherans world wide are grateful for the signing of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification in 1999 and look forward to continued conversation and increased communion with the Roman Catholic Church.
All opinions expressed at this time should be understood as speculation. How Benedict XVI intends to lead will unfold in time. I encourage congregations to pray for this pope so that he may be led by the Spirit to serve the mission of the gospel.