Lying About Luther

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Martin Luther

 “If we punish thieves with the yoke, highwaymen  with the sword, and heretics with fire, why do we not rather assault these  monsters of perdition, these cardinals, these popes, and the whole swarm of the  Roman Sodom, who corrupt youth and the Church of God? Why do we not rather  assault them with arms and wash our hands in their blood?

Martin Luther, June 25, 1520

 

One of the really terrible things about ecumenicalism as it is commonly practiced is the usual deep air of mendacity about it.  Case in point:

 

 

Over the past 50 years, especially with the impetus provided by the Second Vatican Council, those divisions between Catholics and Lutherans have begun to heal and the pace of concrete efforts toward restoring unity has quickened, retired Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes of New Orleans told a recent ecumenical gathering at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Kenner.

“The international and national dialogues between Lutherans and Catholics in the last 50 years have yielded significant truth,” Archbishop Hughes said, prompting Catholics “to revisit the person and motivation of Martin Luther” in advance of the 500th anniversary in 2017 of the publication of Luther’s theses.

“His genuine desire to promote renewal in the church cannot be denied,” Archbishop Hughes said. “The personal struggle that marked his life was severely complicated by the way in which authorities in Rome, during the papacy of Pope Leo X, treated him. A helpful place to begin is to note the need for both faith and repentance.”

Bishop Michael Rinehart, head of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, said there was “a spirit of ecumenical hospitality right now that we need to enjoy while it is happening.”

“Luther did not want to leave,” Bishop Rinehart said at the March 25 gathering. “He was bold, he was blunt, he was vulgar and mistakes were made, but he really didn’t want schism. He wanted to reform the church he loved.”

Go here to read the putrid rest.  Where to begin?  As early as 1520 Martin Luther was preaching that the Pope was the anti-Christ:

“We here are of the conviction that the papacy is the seat of the true and real Antichrist…personally I declare that I owe the Pope no other obedience than that to Antichrist”

 

Here are some of the milder things said by Herr Doktor Luther in regard to those Catholics who followed the Pope instead of Pope Luther:

What is the whole papacy but a beautiful false front and a deceptively glittering holiness under which the wretched devil lies in hiding? The devil always desires to imitate God in this way. He cannot bear to observe God speaking.

If he cannot prevent it or hinder God’s Word by force, he opposes it with a semblance of piety, takes the very words God had spoken and so twist them as to peddle his lies and poison under their name. (What Luther Says, II: 10007)

Since the papal church not only neglects the command of Christ but even compels the people to ignore it and to act against it, it is certain that it is not Christ’s church but the synagogue of Satan which prescribes sin and prohibits righteousness. It clearly and indisputably follows that it must be the abomination of Antichrist and the furious harlot of the devil. (What Luther Says, II: 1019)

Let him who does not want to be lost and go to the devil be on his guard with all diligence and earnestness against the papacy and its doctrine, and let him never again accept even the most insignificant and smallest part of the papacy’s teaching, no matter what it may cost him. Let him flee from the papacy and its following as from the devil incarnate himself, and let him by no means be silenced by the sweet, slippery words of hypocrites or be persuaded that yielding and conceding something for the sake of peace is a matter of little consequence and that the bond of love should not be disrupted for the sake of something trifling (as they represent and rationalize this to be). Come now, there is assuredly no joking in this matter; eternal salvation and eternal damnation are involved. (What Luther Says, II:1019-1020)

Can anything more horrible be said than that the kingdom of the papists is the kingdom of those who spit at Christ, the Son of God, and crucify Him anew? For they do crucify Christ…in themselves, in the church…and in the hearts of the faithful…Therefore let everyone who is honestly given to piety flee out of this Babylon as quickly as possible…. For so great are its impurity and its abomination that no one can express them in words; they can be discerned only by eyes that are spiritual. (What Luther Says, II: 1020)

My dear pope, I will kiss your feet and acknowledge you as supreme bishop if you will worship my Christ and grant that through His death and resurrection, not through keeping your traditions, we have forgiveness of sins and life eternal. If you will yield on this point, I shall not take away your crown and power; if not, I shall constantly cry out that you are the Antichrist, and I shall testify that your whole cult and religion are only a denial of God, but also the height of blasphemy against God and idolatry. (What Luther Says, II: 1069)

What kind of a church is the pope’s church? It is an uncertain, vacillating and tottering church. Indeed, it is a deceitful, lying church, doubting and unbelieving, without God’s Word. For the pope with his wrong keys teaches his church to doubt and to be uncertain. If it is a vacillating church, then it is not the church of faith, for the latter is founded upon a rock, and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it (Matt.16:18). If it is not the church of faith, then it is not the Christian church, but it must be an unchristian, anti-Christian, and faithless church which destroys and ruins the real, holy, Christian church. (Luther’s Works, vol. 40, Church and Ministry II, The Keys, p.348)

All this is to be noted carefully, so that we can treat with contempt the filthy, foolish twaddle that the popes present in their decrees about their Roman church, that is, about their devil’s synagogue (Rev.2:9), which separates itself from common Christendom and the spiritual edifice built up on this stone, and instead invents for itself a fleshly worldly, worthless, lying, blasphemous, idolatrous authority over all of Christendom. One of these two things must be true: if the Roman church is not built on this rock along with the other churches, then it is the devil’s church; but if it is built, along with all the other churches, on this roc, then it cannot be lord or head over the other churches. For Christ the cornerstone knows nothing of two unequal churches, but only of one church alone, just as the Children’s Faith, that is, the faith of all of Christendom, says, “I believe in one holy, Christian church,” and does not say, “I believe in one holy Roman church.” The Roman church is and should be one portion or member of the holy Christian church, not the head, which befits solely Christ the cornerstone. If not, it is not a Christian but an UN-Christian and anti-Christian church, that is, a papal school of scoundrels. (Luther’s Works, Volume 41, Church and Ministry III, Against The Roman Papacy, An Institution Of The Devil, p.311)

These arrogant and unlearned papists can’t govern the church because they write nothing, they read nothing, but, firmly saddled in the pride of possession, they cry out that the decrees of the fathers are not to be questioned and decisions made are not to be disputed, otherwise one would have to dance to the tune of every little brother. For this reason the pope, possessed by demons, defends his tyranny with the canon “Si papa.” This canon states clearly: if the pope should lead the whole world into the control of hell, he is nevertheless not to be contradicted. It’s a terrible thing that on account of the authority of this man we must lose our souls, which Christ redeemed with his precious blood. Christ says, “I will not cast out anybody who comes to me” (John 6:37). On the other hand, the pope says, “As I will it, so I command it; you must perish rather than resist me.” Therefore the pope, whom our princes adore, is full of devils. He must be exterminated by the Word and by prayer. (Luther’s Works, vol.54, Table Talk, No.441, p.330)

I guess one can argue that Luther was not truly interested in schism, but was rather interested in extirpating all Catholics who believed differently than him.  For that purpose he made his new church completely subservient to the local German rulers and made use of the secular power against those who opposed him.

Wishing to have good relations with non-Catholic Christians is quite laudable and in general I support it, especially since most of my relatives are Protestant and fine people.  However, Bishops lying about the past is not the way to go about it.

 

 

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40 Comments

  1. It is typical of modern Catholic education, especially in the English speaking world, that most Catholics know little or nothing about the so-called “reformers”, many of whom were more reprehensible that Pope Alexander. Borgia had nothing on Henry Tudor.

    Luther was an anti-Semite and a crazy man. I say this as my best friend is a (non-observant) Lutheran. His father was a Lutheran pastor. His mother played the organ at their church. My great grandfather Gustav Anderson was born in Sweden, grew up in Denmark, married my Catholic great-grandmother and stayed Lutheran all his life. His funeral service in Charleroi, Pennsylvania was attended entirely by Catholics.

    Ecumenism should have begun with Eastern Orthodoxy, not Protestantism. The Orthodox have a sacramental priesthood and the Holy Sacraments (Mysteries).

  2. Rehabilitate the thugs and demonize their prey!

    I have experienced that for many years. It is simply
    the way things are and it is not about to change,
    as most who profess orthodoxy, for the most part,
    do not care to support true reform. We all are
    comfortable with our particular dalliances. For the
    Orthodox among their favorites is adultery and
    “wink and nod” penitential marriages. Balderdash!

    It is a monumental struggle to remain Catholic.
    Many times I have wanted to “chuck it all” but
    there is no place else to go. ALL else are one type
    of adultery or another. I am not at all surprised at
    how many are losing their faith, thinking, perhaps
    that this will improve things. I do not think those
    who leave for another “lover” will end up doing
    what in the long run works for real good. But, I
    certainly can relate to sufficient discontent and
    solidly grounded alarm enough to continue to
    face, on an almost daily basis, my own desire to
    walk away from Catholicism. I just know that,
    should I, I would have to reject God, entirely,
    which, at least yet, I am not prepared to do.

  3. On Nov. 25, 1521, Luther wrote to the Augustinian monks in Wittenberg: “With how much pain and labor did I scarcely justify my conscience that I alone should proceed against the Pope, hold him for Antichrist, and the bishops for his Apostles. How often did my heart punish me and reproach me with this strong argument: “Art thou alone wise? Could all the others err and have erred for a long time? How if thou errest and leadest into error so many people who would all be damned forever?” “When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it; for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay” (Eccles.5: 4-5).

    Luther broke all his vows.

  4. Fundamentally, Luther’s theology removed the accountability for sin. As a result, sin and evil flourished. The same sad results invariably followed his doctrines wherever they have taken root. In Switzerland, France, Sweden, Denmark, Britain, and in the United States, there has been a general decline in public morality and virtue. A simple review of the histories of each nation will amply corroborate this assertion. And an examination of the daily news media will suffice to show the rampant decline of morality in the United States.
    Atheistic materialism is not only condoned by the political leadership but is broadcast on network television, screened in Hollywood movies and is created on Madison Avenue.
    The majority of our current political leadership, duly elected by the will of the American people, have supported and defended the wanton destruction of over fifty-one million innocent victims on the altar of abortion. U.S. foreign aid to third-world countries is usually predicated on the sterilization of the populace.
    Deviant sexuality is flaunted in gay-pride parades and pornography is sold openly. The state and federal prison populations are overflowing and the criminal justice system is overloaded.
    Abortion, usury, divorce, drug abuse, child abuse, gang-warfare, drive-by shootings, murder, theft, white-collar crime, racial and religious hatred, euthanasia, etc., are all indications of the failure of the Protestant gospel — the “reformed” gospel that presupposes everyone will go to heaven, no matter what choices he or she makes, as long as a verbal declaration of allegiance to Christ has been made; the gospel that Christians can make individual evil choices yet retain a proper moral orientation.

  5. I saw it when I was stationed in West Germany in the early 1970’s. One berg was Catholic: big Catholic church. One a few miles away was protestant: big heretic house.

    I had thought he was co-opted. I was wrong.

    I am not a historian. My belief is that the reformation added to various dynastic/hegmonic motives and increased the profusions of bloodshed and warfare. Not saying they wouldn’t have fought it out without the religious strife motive.

    I think the local magnates and princes jumped on Lutherism as a motivator/excuse for civil wars against the HRE. Same same England vs. Spain in the Low Countries. Afcter Luther many wars were both dynastic/hegemonic/political and religious.

  6. As we all say, so many times, ideas have consequences. Apparently the Lutheran states have progressed down the road of logical consequence of their thinking.
    .
    The Church protected and carried forward the ancient Scripture, canonizing it and in this way protecting it from editing. These Scriptures, known and used by Jesus and His apostles, were not so esteemed by Luther that he could accept them as Authoritative. He not only asserted himself over the papacy, but also over the Scrpture. To suit himself.

  7. The first civil war inaugurated under Luther’s system occurred in 1525-26. The war had grown out of the revolutionary principles embraced by the Reformers and was headed by Protestant preachers. They pillaged, ravaged, massacred and burned everything that fell into their hands.
    .
    In 1528, the Lutherans, under Philip of Hesse, took up arms to subjugate the Catholic princes who had opposed them. Actual hostilities were temporarily postponed by the payment of a large sum of money to Philip by Catholic rulers.
    .
    After the Diet of Augsburg in 1531, the Protestants formed the League of Schmalkalden and formally resolved to go to war in order to support and extend their doctrines. In Switzerland, the Protestant provinces under the leadership of Zwingli attacked the Catholic provinces with utmost ferocity. It was in one of these bloody battles that Zwingli, a so-called follower of the Prince of Peace, fell with sword in hand in the act of slaughtering his fellow countrymen.
    .
    Although Luther in the beginning declared no means but persuasion should be used in the propagation of his teachings, from this time on, he gave his support and authority to military coercion. In 1545, one year before his death, Luther again incited his partisans to take up arms against the Pope and all that presumed to follow the Catholic faith.
    .
    In Switzerland, the fruits of the Reformation were even more radical and thorough than among the Germans. Like the German reform, dissension, civil unrest, rape, violence and bloodshed also characterized its progress. Both also were indebted to the support of the civil authorities. The Reformation arrived with the thirteen Swiss provinces united in peace. But its arrival sowed dissension among them and plunged them into a fierce and protracted civil war, which threatened to destroy personal liberty. The consequences of this attempt to subvert the national faith were disastrous. The harmony of the Swiss republic was destroyed. The conditions of anarchy and civil war lasted for twenty years.
    .
    Catholics were not the only ones who felt intolerance in Switzerland. Protestants were also persecuted if they had the misfortune to believe either more or less than their more enlightened brethren. It was necessary to conform to whatever what was considered orthodoxy at the time. The Anabaptists, in particular, were hunted down with ferocity, which is almost inconceivable today. The favorite mode of punishing them, especially at Berne, was by drowning. This manner of execution was considered the most appropriate because it was only baptizing them in their own way! Another common method of punishment was perpetual imprisonment with only bread and water for food.
    .
    As the Reformation spread from country to country through Europe and Scandinavia, the same brutalities were sanctioned and committed. The Protestant leagues of the sixteenth century were nothing more than warlike organizations instituted and perpetuated for the purpose of spreading the doctrines of the Reformation by arms. Everything was accomplished under the pretext of religion, while the spirit of the entire affair was in direct opposition to the merciful teachings of the Prince of Peace. It was in this spirit Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Karlstadt and others urged their followers to take up arms and pursue all who were in opposition to them with fire and sword.

  8. T Shaw wrote, “I think the local magnates and princes jumped on Lutheranism as a motivator/excuse for civil wars against the HRE”

    Another very powerful motive was the great wealth of the religious houses, which the Reformers declared should be dissolved. At the time, the religious orders across Europe enjoyed rather more than a quarter, but less than a third of total rental incomes. Rulers sold or granted them away to titulars or lords of erection and, needless to say, once such a huge transfer of wealth had taken place, the purchasers and their innumerable dependants had a vested interest in preserving the Reformation settlement.

    One of the most striking examples is Albert Frederic of Brandenburg, the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights. He converted to Lutheranism in 1525 and converted the order’s lands into a personal duchy under the Polish Crown. The King of Poland, Sigismund the Old was his uncle. This established the fortunes of the House of Hohenzollern, when East Prussia (Ducal Prussia) was united with the Electorate of Brandenburg. As late as 1815, they were still secularising church lands and acquired the Electoral Archbishoprics of Mainz, Trier and Cologne in the Rhineland.

  9. St. Robert Bellarmine; “The Protestant revolt is a punishment from God because of the sins of priests.”

    St. John Eudes; “The most sure sign that God is thoroughly angry with His people, is when He allows them to fall into the hands of a corrupt clergy.”

    Pope St. Pius V; “All the evils of the world are due to lukewarm Catholics.”

    Answer? Prayers. Too often from well intended philosophical Catholics do I read “prayer isn’t enough.” Baloney! They, all of us, need to increase our efforts in prayer.

    St. Therese, the lil’ flower said: “Prayer moves the hearts far better than words ever can. I know it by experience. Prayer is an Invincible Weapon!”

    Lukewarm Catholicism from Bishops is a sign of the times. Pray for strong leadership for our Holy Church.

  10. Martin Luther abandoned the Real Presence of Jesus Christ coming down to us on the altar at Mass. The priest, acting “in persona Christi” repeating Jesus Christ’s words anew at the Consecration of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ is bringing the living and real presence of Christ to us, here and now, in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. In the Sacrament of Penance, again the priest acts “in persona Christi” saying the words of Christ, for real, here and now.
    .
    Martin Luther abandoned the Holy Church and the Sacraments and went looking for God on his own and failed miserably. Luther’s salvation through faith alone, without works, is an example of his loss of the truth of man and God. Man freely accepts the gift of Faith from God and this acceptance is the works of man, and act of man’s free will, an act of religion, and act of freedom of religion. Faith and works are needed to have salvation. God will not force any one to heaven. The devil is a good example of free will abused.
    .
    It might be said that Luther’s half truth, the definition of a heresy, has impacted our freedom of religion. Luther, having missed the point of man, himself included, accepting his faith from God and having a loving relationship with God, and that this act of free will, man choosing to serve and love God is an expression, an act of religion between God and man’s soul, often ignored and rejected in the secular and government affairs.
    .
    Government constituted by and through man’s soul is swallowing humanity whole by rejecting the existence of man’s soul. Look behind the smoke and mirrors and see that government is comprised of men with souls. The soul denied makes of man a beast of burden without a human soul, a race of slaves. The soul, denied makes of the human being, a demon, lower than the animals; animals that are innocent and do not have reason with a rational, immortal human soul. This is what becomes of atheism. This is where Luther’s rejection of the Holy Church and the Sacraments is bringing us.

  11. Luther didn’t start out trying to form his own church. He just didn’t see the consequences of pulling on a thread. As Chesterton would say, the faith is a romance, a perfect balance in the truth, surrounded by all of history’s grotesquities that started with the smallest error. You can’t tweak the balance between faith and works without overturning the altar, even if you had no intention to do so. It’s impossible for man to attain that perfection of balance known as the Deposit of Faith, but fortunately we have the Holy Spirit to do it for us.

    So I can sort of understand the desire to bridge the gap between the Church and Luther. But it’s a different exercise than “baptizing” Aristotle. Aristotle didn’t rebel against baptism. Luther wasn’t in need of baptism, but confession.

  12. Pinky: I like your name. “Aristotle didn’t rebel against baptism. Luther wasn’t in need of baptism, but confession. ”
    .
    Luther was in need of acknowledging and accepting the priest “in persona Christi”, the ordained priest “in person Christi” and as “alter Christi.” Whatever the Pope has done is forgivable in Confession. The Pope’s job, and the Bishops’ job, the priests job is the bringing the Sacraments of Holy Eucharist and Penance to the Church. Martin Luther separated himself from the church by not living that truth. What does it prosper a man to gain the whole world and lose his immortal soul? Of course, Luther may have repented before his death.

  13. Michael Paterson-Seymour: “Another very powerful motive was the great wealth of the religious houses, which the Reformers declared should be dissolved.”
    .
    Everything the church has, the church holds in trust for all future generations. It is the authority of the Church who identifies the virtues of charity and generosity in giving to the poor, but the gift is of all persons, present and future generations, for this is their trust and possession. The truth and the wealth of the Catholic Church belong to all generations now and forever. The Church has forever, the Church Triumphant, the Church Militant and the Church Suffering in purgatory, the Church gives of these gifts to the needy. The state is finite and so you see the corruption.

  14. It is typical of modern Catholic education, especially in the English speaking world, that most Catholics know little or nothing about the so-called “reformers”…
     
    Penguins Fan

    Very true. In my humble and abecedarian opinion, any bishop who hasn’t already begun preparing all the priests, deacons, catechists, and apologists in his diocese to spread the truth about Luther’s apostasy and the Protestant break with Christendom is already late. 2017, the 500th year since Luther posted his 95 theses is less than 3 years away. The secular media, atheists, and Protestants are already prepping the battlespace. There is no excuse for our bishops to be taken by surprise.

    Fundamentally, Luther’s theology removed the accountability for sin. As a result, sin and evil flourished.
     
    Victor R. Claveau, MJ

    Yes, and this should be explained from every Catholic pulpit. Or ambo. Or the space in front of the altar where wireless-microphone-toting priests of the orders of Phil Donahue and Oprah Winfrey prefer to homilize.

    I think the local magnates and princes jumped on Lutherism as a motivator/excuse for civil wars against the HRE. Same same England vs. Spain in the Low Countries.
     
    T. shaw

    Very much so. Lutheranism was an excuse to loot houses of God and for the State to co-opt the Church and fuse her to itself, undoing a millenium of work by the Church to separate the two in obedience to Christ’s teaching to render unto Caesar what is Ceasar and unto God what is God’s.
     
    Monasteries and churches were great benefactors of the poor. They not only fed the poorest but also provided paid work that upheld the dignity of the able poor. They did the work that today’s Welfare State politicians claim to do. Looting churches and monasteries then taking church lands took away–to use the modern parlance–the social safety net of the poor. This was devastating to the poor and led to the deaths of many; the Little Ice Age was well under way at the time.
     
    Luther spread heresies that harmed both religious and secular life. The moral and social damage he did to what was once Christendom continues to reverberate throughout the world today.
     
    Catholic ignorance of history has allowed Protestants to get away with twisting history in many ways, including claiming that it was brave Protestants who pried apart Church and State while those meanie Catholics were always scheming to fuse them together.

  15. I can’t let this go without mentioning the Kulturkampf. When Germany became a unified country, the Prussian Lutheran Protestant Kaiser slammed law after law discriminating against German Catholics. This has to be the reason why my mother’s German ancestors – the Deckers – left Frankfurt for the United States in the second half of the 19th century. The schmuck Kaiser had these words for Poles (Germany helped carve up Poland in the late 18th century) – “They are a bunch of dogs who should just die.” The Kulturkampf reached into occupied Greater Poland, restricting the use of the Polish language, severely restricting the rights of Poles and of Catholic worship.

    I read a column written by a priest a short time ago that was about Luther. I wish I had it now. Luther, before he left the Catholic Church, was a man obsessed about sin. It was Luther who wrote that man is a “dungheap”.

    I find it ironic that Luther created the notion of “sola scriptura” but he changed Scripture to fit his own preconceived ideas. Luther removed books from the Bible as well…then called it the sole source of Christian faith.

    The Catholic Church has never taught that man is a dungheap. Fallen, yes, but mankind is not animal crap.

    Luther was a megalomaniac. Luther showed the way for Henry Tudor to seize the lands that were held by the Catholic monasteries.

    The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and the Lutheran Church Wisconsin Synod still profess the tenet that the Pope is the Antichrist. Almost 500 years after Luther went heretic, after seeing the labors of Henry Tudor, Napoleon, Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Castro, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein…..and these “ecclesial communities” LCMS and LCWS still profess the Pope to be the antichrist.

    Forget ’em. Protestantism is a spent force. Protestantism caved to artificial birth control and later almost each and every silly leftist piece of drivel to come down the pike.

    The Lutherans of today had nothing to do with Luther’s deeds or words, but they follow a man who really didn’t reform anything.

  16. This is an excerpt from one of my books.

    Luther, Melanchthon and Calvin

    Were an impartial biographer to sum up the characteristic traits of the three prominent innovators of the sixteenth century, Luther, Melanchthon, and Calvin, he would present to us three widely different characters. In Luther he would portray a man of fine native talents, and of good natural instincts, feelings, and tendencies, a fair scholar, but of strong passions, great ambition, and love of admiration, and a brain and nervous system in the highest degree excitable and sensitive. He would trace his modest and blameless career as a monk of the convent of Erfurt, and commend him for his unaffected piety and devotion to his duties. He would follow him to his new and strange arena of controversy and strife, analyze his ferocious and obscene tirades against friend and foe. He would hold him up to the gaze of the world as a habitual believer in and seer of fantastic visions, ghosts, and fiends, a contender with Satan as well as with lessor adversaries. He was a vow breaker, a vindictive and unscrupulous opponent, and an instigator of civil wars and bloodshed. A candid biographer of this era would deplore the obvious transformation, which occurred in Luther’s mind and express sympathy for his relatives and friends. If he were reliable, he would be compelled to depict Luther’s years as an Augustinian monk as relatively peaceful. During these years, he was reasonably mentally sound, content and healthy. Contrast this period with Martin Luther the Reformer. A period of abnormal and perverted intellectual and moral traits, which distressed him during the entire period of his continually changing innovations.
    .
    He would represent Melanchthon as a noble, warm-hearted, and pious Christian, a ripe scholar, an ardent friend, but an enthusiastic, credulous, visionary, fond of novelty, and so constituted as to be readily blown about by every wind of doctrine, and dominated by wicked and designing men.
    .
    In Calvin he would present us with a perfect type of cold-hearted selfishness, cruelty, cunning, and ranting hypocrisy. He would make known to us his thrilling powers of eloquence, his high classical attainments, his polished diction, and his snake-like fascination over his rapt audiences. At the same time be would tell us of his terrible blasphemies against his Maker, and of his atrocious Puritan doctrines. He would bring before us a man who had the impious temerity to declare God the author and creator of all the sins, crimes, and evils of the world, and that men are merely passive and impotent instruments in His hands.” He would place before us a heart of stone-cold, unsympathetic, impassible, Satanic. He would not depict Calvin as an insane man, but as one consummately talented, selfish, heartless, and unscrupulous. He would display to us a perfect type of the Puritan. The theological tenets of this man have exercised a dominant influence over nearly all of the Protestant sects of the world down to the present time.
    These are the characterizations of the men who took it upon themselves to destroy the Catholic Church.

  17. If you do any research on the Protestant Revolt in England under Henry VIII and his Protestant successors you will find how devastating this was for the peasants.
    Before the “Reformation” there were monasteries on the average of every eight miles throughout England. The traveler or poor could always find shelter for the night, food for their bellies, and a kind word to lift their spirits and save their immortal souls.
    .
    These monasteries were bequeathed farms, and large tracts of lands, which were then divided and rented to the poor as sharecroppers, with the purpose of them eventually owning the land.
    .
    Crime was rare as there was no need to steal when one could find respite at a monastery.
    .
    Henry VIII and his minions, and later Cromwell destroyed this system.
    .
    “Good Queen Bess”
    .
    On May 5th 1570, in a Bull entitled Regnans In Excelsis, Pope Pius V declared “Elizabeth, the pretended Queen of England and the servant of crime” to be a heretic, and aider and a protector of heretics and releasing all her subjects from any allegiance to her.
    During the years 1577 and 1603, Good Queen Bess, Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603), had put to death 183 of her Catholic subjects. Of these, 123 were priests, one was a friar not yet ordained and 59 were lay folk, three of them women.

  18. As a former Lutheran, I’m disgusted at the way some of our clergy are white washing Luther. These men should know better! However the whitewash they’re doing doesn’t begin to equal the one that the Lutherans have been doing since 1517. The average Lutheran will never hear the truth about Luther from his pastor or any Lutheran publication. I only started to learn the truth when I saw a story about an Anglo-Catholic group (in a Lutheran newspaper!) They had books on church history that I ordered. The stuff they had on the Reformation was devastating. The Luther of pious myth wasn’t the real Luther. The real Luther was a madman! I quit the sect of Marty, and a year later, I was attending Catholic services, and later became a Catholic.

  19. Stephen,
    Most people know very little about Martin Luther, and how and why he was so successful. The overwhelming majority of contemporary books written about Luther glorify him.
    .
    For those interested in learning more about Luther I would like to recommend the following:
    .
    Fr. Hartmann Grisar, the foremost biographer of Luther, published a six-volume work in 1913, and a one volume abridgement was published in 1930 by B. Herder Company and in 1950 by The Newman Press.
    .
    Msgr. Patrick F. O’Hare wrote “The Facts about Luther” in 1916, and was published by TAN Books in 1987. I believe this is still in print.
    .
    Another recommendation on Luther is Marcy, E. E., Christianity and its Conflicts. New York: D. Appleton and Company. 1867.
    .
    A couple of good books on the Protestant Reformation are:

    Cobbett, William. A History of the Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland. New York: Benziger Brothers. 1930.
    .
    Daniel Rops, Henri. Protestant Reformation. New York: E. P. Dutton, & C0. Inc. 1961.
    .

  20. Philip wrote, “St. Robert Bellarmine; “The Protestant revolt is a punishment from God because of the sins of priests.” St. John Eudes; “The most sure sign that God is thoroughly angry with His people, is when He allows them to fall into the hands of a corrupt clergy.” Pope St. Pius V; “All the evils of the world are due to lukewarm Catholics.”
    No doubt there was much t hat called for reform. The history of the first Protestant martyr in Scotland, the Lutheran Patrick Hamilton, is instructive. He was born in 1504, the second son of Sir Patrick Hamilton of Kincavil and Catherine Stewart, daughter of Alexander, Duke of Albany, second son of King James II. As a younger son, some provision had to be found for him, so, in 1517, at the age of 14, he was appointed Abbot of Fearn Abbey, a house of Premonstratensian canons regular in Ross-shire, once known as “the Lamp of the North” and which he never visited. In any event, most of the canons were non-resident, drawing an annuity from the revenues of the house. This gives some impression of the state of the Scottish Church at the time and of the religious orders, in particular. King David’s four great border abbeys, Kelso, Jedburgh, Melrose and Dryburgh were in ruins; their abbots were lay Titulars and the monks non-resident.
    Much of the income of the religious house came from the parishes. Of the 924 parishes, all except 262 had been annexed permanently, by grant of the patrons, to abbacies and other religious institutions, which came in place of the rector and, as such, drew the teind or tithes; while the spiritual duty was performed either by a member of the establishment or a stipendiary substitute or curate, paid a salary or, at times, by a vicar, having right to vicarage teind.
    Hamilton’s income as abbot enabled him to pursue his studies at the Universities of Paris, where he encountered Luther’s teaching and at St Andrews. At St Andrew’s, he studied under John Mair, who, in Paris, had taught both John Calvin and St Ignatius Loyola.
    Hamilton was tried and burned in 1528. In the event, it was Calvin’s doctrines, rather than Luther’s that prevailed in Scotland.

  21. Ernst,
    Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531), the Swiss Reformer, was quite different from Luther. Luther had been a monk and a priest; Zwingli, a mercenary solider and political activist. Luther was a biblical theologian by training; Zwingli was a Christian humanist. Luther stressed justification by grace through faith and the persistence of sin in the believer’s life, even after justification; Zwingli, though never denying justification by grace through faith, stressed moral and social transformation. Luther was pessimistic about Christianizing the state; Zwingli sought to fuse Church and State in Zurich.

    The major dividing line between Luther and Zwingli, however, concerned the sacraments. Zwingli drew from his military experience to explain the sacraments. He argued that the Latin term sacramentum meant “oath.” From this he concluded that the sacraments (he counted only Baptism and the Eucharist as sacraments) are signs or pledges–oaths–of God’s faithfulness to his people. Later, Zwingli began explaining the oath-nature of the sacraments in terms of God’s people’s pledge of fidelity to the community of the Church. In neither case, though, did Zwingli understand the sacraments as efficacious signs or as really communicating what they signify. They were at best signs of our association and identification with the Church. It was the Word of God proclaimed that was the source of the Christian life; the sacraments merely provided an opportunity publicly to demonstrate one’s faith.

    Nowhere is the difference between Luther and Zwingli regarding the sacraments clearer than in their views of the Eucharist. While Luther denied transubstantiation, he nevertheless affirmed a form of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Zwingli rejected such a notion. For him, the Eucharist was a mere memorial of Jesus’ death, a ritual sign Jesus left his Church by which to remember his act of self-surrender. The bread and wine of the Eucharist did not change in their being; at best, they changed in their significance because of the context in which they were received.

    Luther and Zwingli disagreed vehemently regarding Jesus’ words at the Last Supper. Luther understood “This is my body” to refer to the Real Presence. For Luther, “is” meant “is,” so that when Christ had said “This is my body,” he meant to affirm that something had happened to the Eucharistic elements. Zwingli, on the other hand, understood “This is my body” to mean “This signifies my body.” He didn’t believe anything happened, other than a change of meaning in the minds of the congregants.

    The disagreement between Luther and Zwingli represented a first major division among the various wings of the Reformation. Calvin would later disagree with both Luther and Zwingli on the nature of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. But for Luther, it meant backing away somewhat from his idea that the Bible was perspicuous to the average reader. Scripture, it seemed, was plain to every man–provided he was a trained exegete and agreed with Luther.

    Disagreement over the Eucharist posed a major problem for the Reformers, so much so that notables such as Luther, Zwingli, Bucer, Melanchthon and Oeclampadius met at Marburg in 1529 to iron out their differences. But the factions could not reach final agreement and the division among them resulted in substantial political setbacks, as the Catholic Emperor Charles V was able to exploit the differences among the Reformers.

    In the end, Zwingli’s contribution to the Reformation was cut short, as was his life. He was killed at the Battle of Kappel (1531), with the army of Zurich’s defeat due in large measure to German Lutheranism’s refusal to support it. And that, partly the result of the disagreement between Luther and Zwingli at Marburg.

  22. Christ, Luther and Zwingli in one painting
    .
    Christ is present in the Holy Sacrament of the altar. There have been numerous heretical teachers who have denied the Catholic doctrine of Our Lord’s presence in the Holy Eucharist and have given various interpretations to his words: “This is My body; this is My blood.” Consequently the Council of Trent declared that Christ is truly, really, and actually present in the Blessed Sacrament. He is present in the Holy Sacrament truly, consequently, not as it were in an image. He is, moreover, really present and not merely so in a spiritual sense. Finally, He is actually present and not only by the actions of his grace. An artist once conceived the idea of refuting those erroneous doctrines by means of his brush. He painted a picture wherein Christ was portrayed seated at the Last Supper and on the same canvas were Luther and Zwingli. Beneath the picture he inscribed these words: Christ says: “This is My body.” Luther says: “This will become my body.” Zwingli says: “This symbolizes my body.” Which of the three is right? This brief description is more convincing than a multitude of arguments.

  23. Luther saw the seeds of the Reformation he initiated grow to fruition and he was appalled. He wrote:
    .
    “Our evangelists are now sevenfold more wicked than they were before the Reformation. In proportion as we hear the gospel, we steal, lie, cheat, gorge, swill, and commit every crime. If one devil has been driven out of us, seven worse ones have taken their place, to judge of the conduct of princes, lords, nobles, burgesses, and peasants – their utterly shameless acts, and their disregard for God and his menaces. Under the papacy, men were charitable, and gave freely; but now under the gospel, all alms giving is at an end, everyone fleeces his neighbor, and each seeks to have all for himself. And the longer the gospel is preached, the deeper do men sink in avarice, pride, and ostentation. The peasants, through the influences of the gospel, have become utterly beyond restraint, and they think they may do what they please. They no longer fear neither hell or purgatory, but content themselves with saying, “I believe, therefore I shall be saved” and they become proud, stiff-necked mammonists, and accursed misers, sucking up the very substance of the country and the people.”
    .
    There can only be one truth. The teachings of the Catholic Church never change. Every Reformer then and now believes that he is right and all others before him were wrong. You had Lutherans and Calvinists, Baptists and Anabaptists, Episcopalians and Presbyterians, all contending among themselves, each declaring the other in error. In actuality, all were in error to one degree or another.

  24. I would recommend reading “From Conflict to Communion” where the Lutherans apologized for Luther’s calling of the pope the antichrist: “The awareness of the dark sides of Luther and the Reformation has prompted a critical and self-critical attitude of Lutheran theologians towards Luther and the Wittenberg Reformation. Even though they agree in part with Luther’s criticism of the papacy, nevertheless Lutherans today reject Luther’s identification of the pope with the Antichrist (229)”.

    Although I think the entire document is important, it’s good to read at least paragraphs 231 – 233, which puts a lot of the pain of our divisions in perspective: “When Catholics and Lutherans remember together the theological controversies and the events of the sixteenth century from this perspective [sins against Christ’s prayer for unity], they must consider the circumstances of the sixteenth century. Lutherans and Catholics cannot be blamed for everything that transpired since some events in the sixteenth century were beyond their control.”

    Sound bites are nice to get the blood boiling, but the details of what’s actually being said help serve to clear up a lot of this animosity. Let’s take a breath and actually read the documents that the bishop cited when recently speaking.

  25. St Thomas More said of the Lutherans that “they love not to fast, unless it be breakfast and eat fast and drink fast…”

  26. Penguins fan,
    Actually, there is no evidence that Martin Luther ever specifically said that the soul of a forgiven man is like a “snow-covered dung heap.”
    .
    However, in his “Disputation Concerning Justification” (1536) Luther states:
    .
    I said before that our righteousness is dung in the sight of God. Now if God chooses to adorn dung, he can do so (Luther’s Works, Vol. 34, page 184).
    .
    In that same document Luther adds:
    .
    All the justified could glory in their works, if they would attribute glory to God with respect to themselves. In this manner they would not be dung, but ornaments (Luther’s Works, Vol. 34, page 178).
    .
    The picture is similar to your quotation but not an exact match. Although I cannot say with certainty that Luther spoke the words you quote, I can suggest that they do catch the sentiment Luther frequently proclaimed.

  27. Mr. Claveau,

    You are far more educated in this matter than I am. I remember readng a quote about Luther calling man – not necessarily the soul of a forviven person – a “dungheap”, without remembering the exact quote or the circumstances. I know that with Luther’s notion of faith alone, he dismissed the Sacrament of Penance.

    Columbus’ discovery of the New World, the missionary work of the Franciscans and the Jesuits, and especially Our Lady of Guadalupe brought millions more into the Catholic Church than Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Knox and Henry Tudor brought out.

    I do not intend to be mean to Lutherans of today, although the LCMS and other Lutherans who still hold to the Pope being the Antichrist are not worth bothering with.

  28. PBS within the last year aired a series on Luther. I did not watch it. If any one has,
    I would be interested to know their opinion in light of the discussions above.

  29. Penguins fan,
    For info on Luther’s teaching on the Sacrament of penance go to:
    http://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2008/08/24/luther-on-sacrament-of-penance/
    .
    Certainly, the Church has brought many millions to the saving grace of Christ since the Protestant Revolt. Yet, I can’t help but think of the millions of souls lost because of the influence of the Protestant innovators of the 16th century.
    .
    The prominent idea of all the Reformers was the overthrow of the Catholic Church. To accomplish this, every evil passion was invoked, the truths of Christianity were set aside and warlike organizations were established. The question was not, What is truth? But what does the Catholic Church teach? And all the power of the Reformers was arrayed against the latter. This purely biased idea has dominated all the crusades of the Protestants down to the present time. Although the immediate result of the Reformation was the dividing of Christendom into innumerable sects each hating the other, the hatred of Catholicism was common to all. In the midst of their fiercest struggles, they could always pause for the moment and combine their forces to strike a blow against the ancient Church. On this one point—hatred of Catholicism—the sects have always been together.
    .
    .Jesus calls us to perfection (Matt. 5:48), which is almost impossible to achieve without the grace of the Sacraments instituted by Christ.
    .
    Catholicism is a Faith to be lived; not simply a set of rules that can be followed or set aside by capricious whim. Catholicism emphasizes individual sanctity, i.e., that we are called to image Christ in all things. Catholic moral theology asks the question: How do I live in a way consistent with all the truths of the Faith? The educated Catholic realizes that it is necessary to see moral norms as truths, not rules. The gospel of Christ calls us to nothing less than Christian perfection (Matt. 5:48). A perfection, which is impossible to attain without the efficacious grace of the sacraments instituted by Christ and perpetuated by his Church. Christ must live in us! When the true gospel message is rejected or diluted the results will always be disastrous.
    .
    The greatest evil is the idea that all I have to do to be saved is to “accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.”

  30. Mr. Claveau,

    As you know, some of the souls of Europe were lost due to political pressure – as in the entire nation of Sweden converted to Luther’s church on command of the King.

    Scotland turned against the Catholic Church at various levels. Mr. Patterson-Symour knows much more than I do about this. I have countless relatives in Scotland – McLuckies – and one of them is an Anglican pastor.

    The German people as a whole never embraced Luther. Bavaria remains Catholic to this day, more so than the rest of the country. I believe the Reformation never made it into the Habsburg empire in a major way. I wrote about the Kulturkampf earlier.

    The Jesuits entered Poland in the 16th and 17th centuries and reverted a Catholic nation that had allegedly turned half Protestant.

    With the exception of the evangelicals, Protestantism is today a spent force. Protestantism embraced the culture of the day and put itself at the service of the King/government.

    Martin Luther is one of the most spectacular failures in history. More people should know this and I wonder how many Lutherans of today are aware of what he said, wrote and did. Not many, I am sure. Academia never lets us forget the trumped up Spanish Inquisition (most of the horrors of this was English propaganda) or the Borgia Pope, but the crimes of Henry Tudor and his daughter Bess against Catholics goes largely unknown and untaught, even in Catholic circles. The English suppression of Ireland for centuries was a result of the Reformation.

  31. Penguin Fan, thank you for your comment about the Spanish Inquisition. I only recently learned about the fallacies from a Cuban born friend. Very sad about the English being forced to leave the Church, although there were and are still recusant families there. Young Henry VIII was named by the pope “Defender for the Faith” for his arguments against Luther’s statements. Ironically through the centuries the British kings and queens have used DF next to their names. During King Edward’s and his sister Elizabeth’s reigns many Catholics were martyred. I have always felt that those two should have the prefix “Bloody” rather than their legitimate sister Mary.

  32. Mr. Claveau,

    I say Protestantism – especially the so called mainline Protestant churches, such as the Lutheran Church, the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church and possibly the Methodist Church have been losing members, have struggled to attract clergy, have very little or nothing to say about the culture wars of the West and seem to be more interested in accepting “conventional wisdom” no matter how it violates Christ’s Gospel.

  33. Penguins fan,
    I am in full agreement with your statement. Each of the groups you mentioned supports artificial contraception and abortion, in one way or another.
    .
    Please keep in mind that technically these groups are denominations, not churches. Jesus established only one Church.
    .
    One day a Protestant woman came into my Catholic store to ask questions about Church doctrine.
    .
    I had been an instrument of the Holy Spirit in bringing her husband’s uncle into the Church. As he was known to be very anti-Catholic at the time, his nephew was quite surprised. The uncle brought the nephew in to see me and he was quite taken with my explanations and justifications for Catholic teaching. He, in turn, told his wife about me and she came in to talk.
    .
    During our conversation she mentioned that she was new to the area and was having difficulty finding a church she liked. I remarked, “Yes, I can fully understand the difficulty in finding a church that teaches what you want to hear.
    She spontaneously said, “Yes.”
    I went on, “Wouldn’t it be better if you found a Church that teaches the truth of the Gospel message, rather than what you and others would like to hear.” My comment stopped in her tracks. To make a long story short, the following Easter, the entire family came into the Church.
    .
    Protestantism is comfortable. If you don’t like what you hear, keep looking eventually you will either find what you want or you can start your own store front church.
    .
    It takes intellectual integrity to search for the truth and takes the Sanctifying Grace of the sacraments to live that truth.

  34. Mr. Claveau,

    In the interests of brevity, I called the Protestant sects by the names they use for themselves. I believe the official Catholic terminology is “Ecclesiastical communities”. Even that is a misnomer. as the Latin word for church comes from the Greek “Ekkliesia”. I may have spelled the Greek term wrong. I do know the Spanish word for church, iglesia. its similarity to the Greek is not a coincidence.

    The Church that has done the greatest missionary work, the Church that fought Islam to any sort of positive conclusion, the Church that struggled against Communism the hardest – is the Catholic Church.

    Because of where I live – a Pittsburgh suburb – I am familiar with the Byzantine Catholic Church, the Ukrainian Catholic Church and the Maronite Catholic Church. I have attended the Holy Quorbono of the Syro Malabar Catholic Church in Broward County, Florida (Ft. Lauderdale). There is a Syro Malabar mission here.
    It is interesting to see the similarities in their Liturgies to the traditional Latin Mass.
    There are also lots of Orthodox here, too. I frequent the byzcath.org message board as a lurker, and it is interesting to read the defenses of Orthodoxy where it differs from the Catholic Church.

    The Eastern Catholic Churches have a tradition of a married clergy, and I am cool with that. The Churches of the Byzantine tradition administer Baptism, Communism and Chrismation at the same time (infancy). I’m cool with that, too.
    Yet, the noise from some Orthodox defending the use of birth control and remarriage after divorce are to me the same blatherings that come from certain segments of Protestantism.

    I have paid attention to the public statements made by the Moscow Patriarchate. Far too often, the Russian Orthodox Church has allowed itself to be a tool of the state, as have Protestant “ecclesiastical communities”.

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