That darn Pope is such a sourpuss because he does not jettison everything Catholics believe in some naive gesture of ecumenism toward an ecclesial community that probably won’t even be around in a hundred years. He will never be appointed that “honorary spokesman” for Christianity if he keeps this up.

I swear, I laughed out loud when I read this article. I sincerely hope that this is just bad reporting and that Lutheran in Germany aren’t this dumb.

PARIS – Pope Benedict will honour the 16th century Protestant reformer Martin Luther on his state visit to Germany next month, but Roman Catholic officials are warning Lutherans not to expect breakthroughs on issues dividing them.

During the Sept 22-25 visit, the German-born pontiff plans to stress ecumenical co-operation, meet Protestant leaders and tour a monastery in Erfurt where Luther once worked and prayed. He will also address the German parliament in Berlin.

The visit has prompted calls from Protestants for him to allow joint communion services and grant their churches full recognition. The tone is mostly positive — one theologian even suggested making him “honorary spokesman” for all Christianity.

But senior Catholic clerics have begun warning Protestants not to get their hopes up too much.

“Hopes about this visit have gone wild,” Rev. Hans Langendoerfer, secretary of the German Bishops Conference, said in Monday’s edition of the weekly magazine Focus.

“There’s talk Pope Benedict could grant the Protestants a new status or could just say ‘OK, let’s completely change those rules about communion services. It doesn’t work that way.”

Catholic Bishop Joachim Wanke of Erfurt said last week that Benedict’s meeting there with Protestant leaders in the St Augustine Monastery could foster closer ties, but also ruled out any breakthroughs on basic differences.

It is just a piece of bread after all, what is the big whoop? Right?

Ugh. Since the author of this silly piece does not directly quote anyone who holds these silly hopes and dreams, I hope that he just made them up or at least exaggerated. If not, Luther must be writhing in pain in a purgatory that doesn’t exist (if he is lucky) for listening to the silliness that passes for Lutheranism these days.

All that said, it must break the Pope’s heart to know that he will not be appointed honorary spokesman for Christianity. Guess he will just keep having to cling to those keys.