Martin Luther and Catholic Theology Conference

Home / News-events / 2017 / Press-release-martin-luther-and-catholic-theology-conference


In 2017 we will commemorate the 500th anniversary of that key date in European history which marks the beginning of a long period of Reformations which divided western Christianity along confessional lines. The figure of Martin Luther is, of course, central to this story both in its historical unfolding and its later legacy.  We are all too aware of the polemic and counter-polemic which followed on all sides, and which resulted in a succession of “religious wars” across Europe culminating in the Thirty Years’ War (1618-48) which, at its heart, was fueled by many other concerns other than doctrinal division. Nonetheless, the effects of the sixteenth-century Reformations were long-lasting and, for centuries, polemical literature, exchanged between all parties highlighted contested theological issues and perpetuated cultures of mutual suspicion. Happily, in more recent decades, in large part thanks to the ecumenical movement, Christians of all confessions are more inclined to focus on what unites them rather than what has separated them these past five hundred years.

In preparing to commemorate that significant anniversary in 2017, St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, is hosting a major international conference on “Martin Luther and Catholic Theology. Remembering the Reformation: What have we learned? What have we yet to learn?” which will take place on Friday 15th – Sunday 17th May. See

Our intention is not only to look at the theological legacy of Martin Luther and its contemporary relevance, but, more specifically, to examine the reception (or otherwise) of Luther within the Catholic tradition and among Catholic theologians. The aim of the conference is to continue the journey beyond mutual polemic and caricature towards a more nuanced picture of Luther and Catholic theology. Indeed Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has shown how Catholics can have a sympathetic reading of Luther while not denying our theological differences. For him, the important thing to keep in mind is our common ground as Christians. We are honoured to welcome a very distinguished gathering of scholars of international standing to Maynooth to reflect on the theme of Martin Luther and Catholic Theology, both in his own day and in more recent Lutheran-Catholic dialogue.


For media enquiries, contact:

Prof. Declan Marmion, Professor of Systematic Theology

Prof. Salvador Ryan, Professor of Ecclesiastical History