Catholics and Lutherans Prepare to Commemorate 2017
Saint Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church, called Lutheranism "that wretched sect".
Celebrating an Apocalyptic Plague
Catholics and Lutherans Prepare to Commemorate 2017
Fifth Centenary of the Protestant Revolt
Note: This is a repost of a CFN piece from 2006. We re-present it in light of news that newly-elected Pope Francis, a man who has always been a proponent of Vatican II's ecumenism, may plan to "celebrate" the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Revolt along with Protestant sects. According to Rome Reports on April 8: "Pope Francis welcomed the president of the Evangelical Church in Germany, Nikolaus Schneider, in his first papal audience with a Protestant leader and his wife... both spoke about the martyrs as a bond between Christians, as well as the upcoming anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, and the possibility that both Churches will celebrate it together."
by John Vennari
Chapter 9 of the Apocalypse opens with Saint John’s terrifying vision:
“And the fifth Angel sounded the trumpet; and I saw a star fall from Heaven upon the earth, and to him was given the key to the bottomless pit.
“And he opened the bottomless pit: and the smoke of the pit ascended as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun was darkened, and the air with the smoke of the pit:
“And from the smoke of the pit, there came out locusts upon the earth, and power was given to them, as the scorpions of the earth have power.” (Apoc: 9:1-3)
Devout Catholic Scriptural commentators for the past 500 years have seen in this vision a prediction of Luther and his Protestant Revolt.
Father Herman Bernard Kramer, in The Book of Destiny, explains, “Luther did truly open the pit and let loose against the Church all the fury of hell. Therefore modern interpreters almost universally see in this fallen star, Luther.” Father Kramer references the eminent Scriptural commentator, Cornelius a Lapide as making this point.
“The whole description of the locusts”, Father Kramer explains, “fits down to the last detail the kings and princes who established by force the heresy of the 16th Century.” He continues:
“When Luther propounded his heretical and immoral doctrine, the sky became as it were obscured by smoke. It spread very rapidly over some regions of the earth, and it brought forth princes and kings who were eager to despoil the Church of her possessions. They compelled the people of their domains and in the territories robbed from the Church to accept the doctrines of Luther. The proponents of Protestantism made false translations of the Bible and misled the people into their errors by apparently proving from the ‘Bible’ (their own translations) the correctness of their doctrines. It was all deceit, lying and hypocrisy. Bad and weak, lax and lukewarm, indifferent and non-practicing Catholics and those who had neglected to get thorough instruction were thus misled; and these, seeing the Catholic Church now through this smoke of error from the abyss and beholding a distorted caricature of the true Church, began both to fear and hate her.”
As for Luther, he did “everything to instill hatred of the [Catholic] Church into the hearts of his followers.” Father Kramer explains:
“The princes of Germany eagerly took up Lutheranism to become the spiritual heads of the churches in their domains and to plunder the Church. Their assumed jurisdiction in spiritual matters was usurpation ... In Den-mark, Norway and Sweden the Kings imposed Lutheranism upon the people by the power of the sword and by lying, deceit and hypocrisy. They left the altars in the churches and had apostate priests use vestments and external trappings of the Catholic Church to mislead the people. They crushed out the Catholic faith by terrorism, by making it a felony and treason to remain a Catholic. Each monarch made himself the spiritual head of the church in his kingdom. They had so-called historians falsify history to arouse hatred against the Church in the hearts of the people. They pretended to prove the truth of Lutheranism by false translations of the Bible made by Luther and by others and by still falser interpretations of it. Those princes and kings were the locusts appearing in the vision of St. John. They had the teeth of lions to terrify lukewarm Catholics into submission.”
The Haydock Commentary of the Douay Rheims contains a similar explanation of Apocalypse 9:2:
“Luther and his followers propagated and de-fended their new doctrines with such heat and violence as to occasion everywhere seditions and insurrections which they seemed to glory in. Luther openly boasted of it. ‘You complain,’ said he, ‘that by our gospel the world is become more tumultuous; I answer, God be thanked for it; these things I would have so to be, and woe to me if such things were not’.”
The Commentary further explains that indeed the sun was darkened since the light of faith was darkened by the widespread heresy of Protestantism. The revered Redemptorist Father Michael Müller elucidates how these Protestant “re-forms” snuffed out the light of true Faith:
“... they dissected the Catholic faith till they reduced it to a mere skeleton; they lopped off the reality of the body and blood of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, the divine Christian sacrifice offered in the Mass, confession of sins, most of the sacraments, penitential exercises, several of the canonical books of Scripture, the invocations of saints, celibacy, most of the General Councils of the Church, and all present Church authority; they perverted the nature of jurisdiction, asserting that faith alone justifies man; they made God the author of sin, and maintained the observance of the commandments to be impossible.”
Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton, the eminent American theologian, rightly observed that 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.”
This is what the Lutheran revolt was, the tearing away of millions of souls from the one true Church of Christ, and probable consignment of millions to eternal hellfire. The Protestant revolt is nothing to celebrate!
What Are They Celebrating?
In the present ecumenical climate, the above-mentioned facts receive little press, since ecumenical Catholics regard these truths as an embarrassment. Much of what saints, theologians and the Church herself taught regarding the errors and dangers of Protestantism are either not mentioned, or explained away as pathetic ignorance of a bygone era. Thanks to Vatican II, the Church has allegedly outgrown its juvenile counter-reformation stance that was based on the ghetto mentality of “no salvation outside the Catholic Church”. The ecumenical Catholic has effectively abandoned the true God of Catholicism to serve the false god of ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue. He incinerates the Church’s anti-Protestant doctrines as burnt offerings to his new deity.
Thus, it is no surprise that a Lutheran-Catholic celebration is being planned for 2017, the fifth centenary of the Protestant Revolt. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (www.ecla.org) filed the following report from the Vatican on November 16, 2005:
“Lutherans and Roman Catholics began planning for 2017 with recognition of their movement toward reconciliation during the past 500 years and with a renewed commitment to continue in that direction. 2017 will be the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, which traditionally began October 31, 1517, when Dr. Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.”
This report followed a meeting of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity held on November 7-8, 2005 at the Vatican. The meeting was called a “Fourth Round” of dialogue, and a seven-member Lutheran delegation was warmly received by Pope Benedict XVI.
Here, the Pope praised the 1999 Lutheran-Catholic Accord and urged further ecumenical dialogue. Yet tragically, this dialogue is not meant to convert non-Catholics to the one true Church of Christ, but to form a pan-Christian co-op of unity and peaceful coexistence. Anyone who believes otherwise ignores the statements of post-Conciliar Catholic leaders who have made clear that the goal of ecumenism is not a “return of dissidents to the one true Church of Christ.” Today’s ecumenism is thus a betrayal of the authentic Catholic Magisterium on the necessity of membership in the Catholic Church for salvation.
At the November Vatican meeting of Lutherans and Catholics, participants were heartened by Pope Benedict’s ecumenical encouragement. Plans are now underway for the “Fifth Round” of international dialogues, and also for organizing a commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with international events.
The fourth round of talks took 10 years to develop the final document “The Apostolicity of the Church,” which will be issued in the fall of 2006, said the Rev. Ishmael Noko, LWF general secretary, Geneva. The conclusion of the fifth round, said the LWF, will probably coincide with the 500th anniversary in 2017.
Archbishop Brian Farrell, Secretary to the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said “Our idea is that the commission would take up at the beginning of its mandate a deep, profound study of what the Reformation meant and what it has meant down the centuries and what it actually means today for both of us.”
We have already seen what the Protestant Revolt has meant to Catholics: a massive attack on the faith so severe that the holiest Catholic commentators identify Luther and his revolt with apocalyptic pestilence.
Luther, the Man
Take for example what faithful Catholics have observed about Luther.
David Goldstein, the zealous Catholic convert from Judaism who was called “a 20th Century Saint Paul,” rightly remarked:
“The father of the first Protestant Church [Luther] changed the 28th verse of the 3rd chapter of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans to make it fit his doctrine that Christian faith minus Christian works is sufficient for salvation: ‘We hold that man is justified without works by the law of faith alone’. To one of his followers who complained that objection was being made to this perversion of the sacred text, Luther gave the cold comfort: ‘If any Papist annoys you with the word (alone) tell him straightway: Dr. Martin Luther will have it so: Papist and ass are one and the same thing.’ (Amic. Discussion, I, 127).”
Goldstein goes on to explain the brutality of the Lutheran revolt: “The soldiers of the princes slaughtered the peasants, pillaged the churches and prevented Catholic worship in public. In this way Lutheranism was made the doctrine of the first Protestant Church — the State Church of Germany (1520).”
Goldstein further points out that Luther denied the binding force of the moral law: “We must remove the Decalogue out of sight and heart” (De Wette, IV, 188), and again, “If Moses should attempt to intimidate you with his stupid Ten Commandments, tell him right out: ‘Chase yourselves to the Jews’ (Works, Wittenberg, ed. V 1573).”
Luther, an ordained priest and consecrated religious, wantonly broke his vow of celibacy to God, and married a nun, also under a vow of celibacy. Of Luther’s debased teachings, Goldstein observed:
“Luther’s writings regarding matters of sex are the opposite of things decent. Only in Socialist free-love writings have we seen commendation of them. There Luther’s lewd writings have won for him distinction as the ‘classic exponent’ of ‘healthful sensualism’ (Bebel, Woman, p. 78, NY, 1910). 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’.”
One of Luther’s ultimate disgraces was his giving permission to Phillip Land-grave of Hesse to have two wives at once. The license was signed by Luther, Melancthon, Bauer and five other Protestant preachers.
Thus it is lunacy for our Church leaders to plan to celebrate the 500th anniversary of a man who spent his life debasing Christian revelation. Yet it is not surprising. We saw similar madness in 1983, when a high Catholic Churchmen praised Luther for his “deep religiousness,” thus voicing unqualified public esteem for a man whose warped religious views led him to reject the true Church, deny his priesthood, and teach that the Mass was an abomination worse than the most loathsome brothel.
Where There is No Hatred of Heresy, There is No Holiness
Forgotten in this ecumenical maelstrom is the fact that Protestantism is heresy, and heresy is a sin. In the objective order, it is a mortal sin against Faith that sends souls to hell for eternity. The revered Father Frederick Faber explained that heresy is “the sin of sins, the very loathsomest of things which God looks down upon in this malignant world. ... It is the polluting of God’s truth, which is the worst of all impurities.”
Thus, Father Faber observed, “where there is no hatred of heresy, there is no holiness.”
Likewise, Saint Alphonsus Liguori spoke of the duty to fight heresy because it kills our souls and the souls of others:
“Heresy has been called a canker: ‘It spreadeth like a canker.’ (2 Tim. 2:17) As a canker infects the whole body, so heresy infects the whole soul — the mind, the heart, the intellect and the will. It is also called a plague; for it not only infects the one contaminated with it, but others who associate with him. Truly the spread of this plague in the world has injured the Church more than idolatry.”
But for today’s Catholic leaders, the heresy of Protestantism is no longer a problem. Have these leaders no love of Catholic doctrine? If they did, they would publicly oppose the Protestant heresies that disfigure it. Have they no love of souls? If they did, they would not pretend that a Protestant can be saved by remaining in his own man-made religion that teems with errors against the express teaching of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
None of this matters to ecumenists like the Vatican’s Bishop Brian Farrell who looks ahead misty-eyed to 2017, and requests profound study of “what the Reformation meant and what it has meant down the centuries and what it actually means today ...” Yet he need not embark on yet another profound study, since one of the greatest Popes in history made it clear what the Reformation means. Blessed Pope Pius IX rightly recognized Protestantism in all its forms as “a revolt against God, it being an attempt to substitute a human for a divine authority, a declaration of the creature’s independence from God.”
This revolt against God has had profound consequences.
Consequences of the Lutheran Revolt
The great Catholic historian Hilaire Belloc points out that heresy does not only affect the individual, but has a negative social impact. Belloc reminds us that man has to live and arrange his life according to a Creed, some system of beliefs. And if his creed be distorted away from the truth revealed by God, he will pattern his life accordingly. Thus when large masses of people fall into heresy, and live accordingly, it will change the entire structure of their society away from the Divine Program of Our Lord. It will create an environment that is not conducive to live the life of sanctifying grace, a society where evil is institutionalized.
For example, thanks to the Protestant heresy, we have legalized divorce in society. Thanks to the Anglicans at Lambert in the 1930s, we have legalized contraception.
Thanks to Protestantism in general, as the eminent Father Denis Fahey points out, we have the inordinate rise of the power of the State. This is because the Protestant does not look at his “church” as an authority established by Christ to teach and govern all men. According to the Protestant, Christ never founded such a Church. Thus, for the Protestant, the highest authority on earth is the State. This had the immediate result of increasing the power of princes and rulers in Protestant countries, which gave rise to State Absolutism, and even what was called “the Divine Right of Kings”.
As the secular Kings and leaders gained temporal power due to Protestantism, the Social Kingship of Christ went into decline.
Protestantism: The Death Knell of Christendom
When we pray in the Our Father, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”, we pray for the establishment of the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ, wherein States, governments and social institutions base their laws of right and wrong on what the Gospel teaches is right and wrong and on what Our Lord’s Catholic Church teaches is right and wrong. This is what is called “Christendom”.
The organization of Europe in the 13th Century, despite its various defects due to human foibles, effected the concrete realization of this Divine Plan. Father writes, “The formal principles of ordered social government in the world, the supremacy of the Mystical Body, was grasped and, in the main, accepted.”
However, Father Fahey explains, “The Lutheran revolt, prepared by the cult of pagan antiquity at the Renaissance ... led to the rupture of that order.”
This is the true legacy of Protestantism, the shattering of the Social Kingship of Christ.
First of all, Protestantism rejects the entire notion of a visible Church established by Christ to teach, govern, sanctify and offer worship to the Father in His name. For the Protestant, there is no visible Church, there is only the lone Protestant and his Bible. There is no external ecclesiastical authority that the Protestant must obey for salvation. If the individual Protestant disagrees with his minister’s interpretation of Scripture, he is free to adopt one of his own, and even start his own sect to propagate his Biblical elucidations.
This, in effect, is how all Protestant sects began. Thus, Protestants do not have a Divine Faith received from Heaven through a teaching Church established by Our Lord. Rather, Protestantism is simply rationalism. The individual decides for himself how he will interpret the Bible, or what denomination’s interpretation he fancies the most.
This necessarily leads to indefinite multiplication of sects. “Pushed to its ultimate conclusion,” notes Father Fahey, “this would give rise to as many churches as there are individuals.” Protestantism, by its very nature, begets endless fragmentation. Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is Wisdom itself, would never establish such an unstable system.
This multiplication of sects so scandalized the learned English Protestant Dr. Walton that he applied Chapter 9 of the Apocalypse to Protestantism itself, thus, knowingly or not, agreeing with Catholic exegesis:
“The bottomless pit seems to have been opened, from whence a smoke has arisen which has darkened the heavens and the stars, and locusts have come out with stings, a numerous race of sectaires and heretics, who have renewed all the ancient heresies, and invented many monstrous opinions of their own. These have filled our cities, villages, camps, houses, nay our pulpits, too, and lead the poor deluded people with them to the pit of perdition.”
Father Müller, employing the words of Saint Paul, calls these human sects the “works of the flesh”. As such, they undergo the corruption of the flesh. One of the first consequences of the doctrine of private judgment — the individual deciding for himself how to interpret Scripture — is a kind of deification of man, which is the main tenet of Freemasonry: the autonomous man decides for himself all things without reference to a teaching Church operating in God’s name
Father Fahey quotes the Protestant writer, Herman, who explains the humanistic manner in which Protestants believe:
“It matters little that we [Protestants] are in agreement with Catholics about certain points of Christian doctrine. What is distasteful to us in the Catholic Church is not what Catholics believe, but above all, the way in which they believe. The great difference between Rome and ourselves is that we cannot brook a faith which is not an autonomous conviction.”
Father Fahey thus observed, “the autonomous man, who decides on his own authority what he will accept of the Gospel God Himself came to deliver to us is already well on the way to self-deification.” And, as mentioned, the deification of Man is the foundation doctrine of Freemasonry.
There is no doubt that Freemasonry is the product of Protestantism. Father Michael Müller said as much with the statement: “The main spirit of Protestantism, then, has always been to declare every man independent of the divine authority of the Roman Catholic Church and to substitute for his divine authority a human authority.” On the same point, we again quote Blessed Pope Pius IX who called Protestantism “a revolt against God, it being an attempt to substitute a human for a divine authority, a declaration of the creature’s independence from God.”
In short, the French Revolution, that based itself on the Masonic deification of man, is the direct result of the Protestant Revolt. The godless secularism, religious indifferentism and moral license that spawned from the French Revolution can look to Protestantism as its true father.
This is the torrid legacy our churchmen will celebrate when they uncork their best champagne at the 2017 party. I wish I could be there when they toast the star that fell from Heaven, give three cheers to the darkened sun, and drink to the health of the smoke from the bottomless pit.
“That Wretched Sect”
Saint Teresa of Avila called Lutheranism “that wretched sect,” and established her first Carmelite foundation of nuns at Avila to help “cure this terrible evil” by bringing “some comfort to our Lord.”
“Thus,” said Saint Teresa, “being all of us employed in interceding for the champions of the Church and the preachers and theologians who defend her, we might, to our utmost, aid this Lord of mine Who is attacked with such cruelty ...”30
One can only imagine how Saint Teresa of Avila would react to Catholics joining with Protestants to celebrate the fifth centenary of the Lutheran revolt.
But who cares what Saint Teresa thinks. For ecumenical Catholics, dancing on the graves of the saints is a necessary ritual of their new religion.
1. Father Herman Bernard Kramer, The Book of Destiny, (Originally published in 1955, republished by Tan Books, Rockford IL, 1975), p. 223. It is worth noting, that it took Father Kramer over 30 years to write this book. on the Apocalypse.
2. (Cor. a Lapide, p. 201, Note 1 ma), Ibid.
3. Ibid. pp. 223-4.
4. Kramer, p. 224.
5. Ibid., pp. 223-4.
6. The Douay-Rheims New Testament with a Comprehensive Catholic Commentary Compiled by Rev. Fr. Geo. Leo Haydock (Republished by Catholic Treasures, 1991), p. 1637.
7. Father Michael Müller,C.SS.R., The Catholic Dogma [New York: Ben-zinger Brothers, 1888], p. 35. The following quotes from Luther himself demonstrate Luther’s perverse doctrine: “God’s commandments are all equally impossible” (De Lib. Christ, t. ii., fol. 4). Ibid., p. 36.
8. Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton, “The Council and Father Kung”, American Ecclesiastical Review, September, 1962.
9. On the web at: http://mail.wfn.org/ pipermail/wfn-editors_wfn.org/2005-November/003241.html
10. Cardinal Kasper, Prefect of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said, “Today we no longer understand ecumenism in the sense of a ‘return’, by which the others would be ‘converted’ and return to being ‘Catholics.’ This was expressly abandoned at Vatican II (Adisti, February 26, 2001). English translation quoted from “Where Have They Hidden the Body?”, by Christopher Ferrara. See also Iota Unum, chap. 35, where Professor Romano Amerio demonstrates that converting non-Catholics to the one true Church is not the aim of today’s practice of ecumenism. Most troubling of all is the statement from Pope Benedict XVI: “On the other hand, this unity does not mean what could be called ecumenism of the return: that is, to deny and to reject one’s own Faith history. Absolutely not!” – Pope Benedict XVI’s Address to the Ecumenical Meeting: Cologne, August 19, 2005. (Posted on Vatican web page.)
11. David Goldstein, Campaigners for Christ Handbook, [Boston: Catholic Campaigners for Christ, 1931], p. 197-8.
12. Ibid., p. 197.
13. Ibid., p. 198.
15. Ibid., and also Fr. Müller, p. 37.
16. Sadly, it was Pope John Paul II who praised Luther for his “deep religiousness”. See “Pope Praises Luther in an Appeal For Unity on Protestant Anniversary”, New York Times, November 6, 1983.
17. Of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Luther said that no sin of immorality, nay not even “manslaughter, theft, murder and adultery is so harmful as this abomination of the Popish Mass.” He said further 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.” Luther, by Hartman Grisar, S.J. (English translation, Herder), Vol. 2, p. 166; Vol 4. p. 525
18. From Father Faber’s The Precious Blood.
19. St. Alphonsus Liguori, The History of Heresies, English translation taken from the No. 1-2, 2000 edition of Christ to the World (Rome) in its first installment of serializing the book.
20. Quoted from Müller, p. 43-4.
21. Consult Belloc’s The Great Heresies.
22. See Father Denis Fahey, C.S.S.p, The Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World, [first published by Regina Publication in Dublin, 1935. Republished by Christian Book Club of America, 1987]. This theme is developed in Chapter III.
23. Ibid., p. 10.
24. Ibid., p. 12.
25. Quoted from Müller, p. 33.
26. Quoted from Fahey, p. 13.(emphasis added)
27. Müller, pp. 43-4.
29. Saint Teresa of Avila, The Way of Perfection, English Translation by the Benedictines of Stanbrook, [First published in 1911. Republished by Tan Books, 1997] p. 5.
30. Ibid., p. 6.
Martin Luther inaugeratess his Protestant Revolt
in 1517, nailing his 95 thesis to the Castle Church
in Wittenberg, Germany