Should a Catholic Celebrate Martin Luther?

In the aftermath of Pope Francis’ visit to Lund, Sweden last October 31 to kick-off a year-long commemoration of the 500 years anniversary of the Lutheran Revolt, we ask: Why would a Catholic celebrate Martin Luther when his entire revolt was based on hatred of the Catholic Faith?

Luther Attacks the Mass

Upon the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the most sacred action of the Church, Luther showered vulgar contempt.

He said that no sin of immorality, nay even of “manslaughter, theft, murder and adultery is so harmful as this abomination of the Popish Mass.” He further snarled that he would have “rather kept a bawdy house or been a robber than to have blasphemed and traduced Christ for fifteen years by saying the Masses.”

In his pamphlet The Abrogation of the Mass, aimed at destroying the Mass, Luther wrote:

I am convinced that by these three arguments [that he had made previously] every pious conscience will be persuaded that this priest of the Mass and the papacy is nothing but a work of satan, and will be sufficiently warned against imagining that by these priests anything pious or good is effected. All will now know that these sacrificial Masses have been proven injurious to Our Lord’s testament and that therefore nothing in the whole world is to be hated and loathed so much as the hypocritical shows of this priesthood, its Masses, its worship, its piety, its religion. It is better to be a public pander or robber than one of these priests.

The great St. John Fisher, who lived at the time of Luther, expressed horror at Luther’s impiety: “How can one be calm when one hears such blasphemous lies uttered against the mysteries of Christ? How can one without resentment listen to such outrageous insults hurled against God’s priests? Who can read such blasphemies without weeping from sheer grief if he still retains in his heart even the smallest spark of Christian piety?”

Perversion of Scripture

A key tenet of Luther’s revolution is belief in the “Bible Alone”. In Luther’s system, there is no Church commissioned with Divine authority to teach in Christ’s name, but there is only the Bible as the single source of Divine Revelation. Luther taught this despite the fact that the tenet of “Bible Alone” is nowhere found in the Bible – thus promoting a principle that is non-Biblical.

At the same time, Luther manifested contempt for Scripture by altering texts to fit his own ideas. Luther rejected good works as a means to salvation. He had the audacity to change the 28th verse of Chapter III of St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans to read, “We hold that man is justified without works by the law of faith alone.” Luther added the word ‘alone’ to the sacred text to bolster his own heretical view.

As is obvious, pride was one of Luther’s chief faults. Boasting of the infallibility and superiority of his own teaching, Luther barked,  “Whoever teaches differently than I, though it be an angel from Heaven, let him be anathema.”

Luther would go on to deny the binding force of moral law: “We must remove the Decalogue out of sight and heart.” And further: “If Moses should attempt to intimidate you with his stupid Ten Commandments, tell him right out: ‘Chase yourself to the Jews’.”

Luther Perverts Morality

Luther, an ordained priest and consecrated Augustinian religious, broke his vow of celibacy and married a nun, also under the vow of celibacy. Luther encouraged many other priests and religious to break their vows and marry.

Luther’s approach was ultimately a surrender to sensuality and worldliness at a time of moral laxity. As Professor Thomas Neil explained, Luther’s appeal to the clergy of his day was successful: “He offered them wives and they wanted wives. He withdrew them from the monasteries and put them in the public square, and they wanted to live in worldly society.”

The eminent convert David Goldstein wrote: “Luther’s writings regarding matters of sex are the opposite of things decent…Too many times through the centuries, immoralities have disgraced the Christian ministry, but Luther has the unenviable distinction of having defended sex sins as ‘necessary’.”

And because Luther taught that man is inherently corrupt, that his sins are never really forgiven but are simply covered by the Blood of Christ provided he make an act of “faith” in Christ’s salvation, he urged his friend Melanchton,  “Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe more boldly still.”

How contrary this is to the true Catholic doctrine that commands us not only to avoid sin, but to avoid the occasions of sin.

Nothing to Celebrate

As Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton, the eminent American theologian, observed, Martin Luther’s alleged Reformation of the Church “consisted in an effort to have people abandon the Catholic Faith, and relinquish their membership in the one true Church militant of the New Testament, so as to follow his teaching and enter into his organization.”

It is thus impossible to concede that a Catholic should celebrate Luther in any way whatsoever. Only those of a Protestant and Modernist mindset will do so. Martin Luther must be neither admired nor imitated. As the Church consistently taught for four centuries, his doctrine and the movement he started is only worthy of condemnation.

The 500th Anniversary of Luther’s destructive revolt should be a time for Catholics to mark the 1917 centenary of Our Lady of Fatima, and to pray and work for the conversion of Protestants to the one true Church of Christ, the Catholic Church.

from Catholic Family News 

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