Father Augustinus Sander of the benedictin monastery Maria Laach, currently responsible for Lutheran-Catholic dialogue at Cardinal Kurt Koch's Dicastery for Christian Unity, has written a fundamental contribution on worship in Lutheranism in the latest volume of the handbook "Gottesdienst der Kirche" (2022, pp. 110-147).

Sander distinguishes between Lutheranism of the first phase, the confessiorian Lutheranism of the confessional writings (Confessio Augustana, Melanchthon), the confessional Lutheranism of the 17th/18th centuries and the Protestant Lutheranism of the Union (with the Calvinists) of 1817. This development leads to a continuous thinning out of the sacramental-liturgical substance and has permanently changed the perception of what is considered "Lutheran" today and can supposedly refer to Luther.

This creeping process is most clearly illustrated by a case study: the detailed and highly remarkable description of Lutheran services in Eisenach and Wittenberg by the former Benedictine and Reformed theologian Wolfgang Musculus ("Mäuslin") in 1536, when in very early Lutheranism. Here one can see from the liturgical practice how strongly early Lutheranism was indeed connected to the Catholic tradition and wanted to remain so.

Sander knows how to present in a few pages the central importance of worship and liturgical office in the early days of Lutheranism and the gradual transformation, thus countering the widespread error - not only in Catholic circles - that Luther and the first generations of Lutheranism pursued an abolition of (ordained) ministery and (real) sacrament.

The 40 pages of reading replace an entire lecture cycle of ecumenical theological history. Rich literature references are given for this.



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