The Catholic bishops of Germany are praising Martin Luther, calling him a “Gospel witness and teacher of the Faith” and lamenting that the Church hasn’t given him an “adequate hearing.”
In a report released August 9th by the German Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Gerhard Feige, chairman of the German Bishops’ Ecumenical Commission, asserts that “theological differences have been “re-evaluated” and that “the Catholic Church may recognize today what was important in the Reformation.” He regrets that the Reformation through the centuries has been seen “in a negative, derogatory light.”
In a 206-page report, “The Reformation in Ecumenical Perspective”, Bishop Gerhard Feige of Magdeburg, chairman of the German bishops’ ecumenical commission, said the “history of the Reformation has encountered a changeable reception in the Catholic Church, where its events and protagonists were long seen in a negative, derogatory light”.
“While the wounds are still felt to the present day, it is gratifying that Catholic theology has succeeded, in the meantime, in soberly reconsidering the events of the 16th century,” he said in the report, published this week by Germany’s Bonn-based bishops’ conference.
Bishop Feige said the “history and consequences” of the Reformation would be debated during its upcoming 500th anniversary, but added that there was consensus that previous mutual condemnations were invalid.
“Memories of the Reformation and the subsequent separation of Western Christianity are not free from pain,” Bishop Feige said. “But through lengthy ecumenical dialogue, the theological differences rooted in the period have been re-evaluated – as is documented in the work presented by our ecumenical commission.”
Are the German bishops daring to question the Church’s denunciation of Martin Luther? Are they accusing the Council of Trent of having been “derogatory” after it rightfully refuted Luther’s errors for the greater liberty of God’s people? If there is one figure in Church history who could be called derogatory, it is Martin Luther. Consider his own words about the Catholic Church:
“We too were formerly stuck in the behind of this hellish whore, the new church of the pope… so that we regret having spent so much time and energy in that vile hole. But God be praised and thanked that he rescued us from the scarlet whore.” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 41, p. 206)
Again Luther says:
“I can with good conscience consider the pope a fart-ass and an enemy of God. He cannot consider me an ass, for he knows that I am more learned in the Scriptures than he and all his asses are.” (p. 344) “The papal ass wants to be lord of the church, although he is not a Christian, believes nothing, and can no longer do anything but fart like an ass.” (p. 358)
We seem to have forgotten that Luther was a raving heretic who was driven by the devil to tear the Faith asunder in Europe. His definition of “repentance” was to reject Catholicism, evidenced by his hateful words against the Mass:
“It is indeed upon the Mass as on a rock that the whole papal system is built, with its monasteries, its bishoprics, its collegiate churches, its altars, its ministries, its doctrine, i.e., with all its guts. All these cannot fail to crumble once their sacrilegious and abominable Mass falls.” (Martin Luther, Against Henry, King of England, 1522, Werke, Vol. X, p. 220.)
Luther also contributed to the mass murder of 70,000-100,000 peasants during the German Peasant War (1524-1525), which his Reformation helped to spark. Consider the following from Luther:
“To kill a peasant is not murder; it is helping to extinguish the conflagration. Therefore let whoever can, smite, slay, and stab them secretly or openly, remembering that nothing can be more poisonous, hurtful or devilish than a rebel…. On the obstinate, hardened, blinded peasants let no one have mercy, but let whoever is able, hew, stab, and slay them like mad dogs.” (Erlangen Edition of Luther’s Works, Vol. 24)
In 1526 Luther justified his killing of the peasants, saying,
“I, Martin Luther, have during the rebellion slain all the peasants, for it was I who ordered them to be struck dead.” (Erlangen LW, Vol. 59, p. 284)
Luther furthermore blasphemed Christ, thus revealing his deficit of faith. For instance, he said,
“Christ committed adultery first of all with the woman at the well… Secondly with Mary Magdalene, and thirdly with the woman taken in adultery.” (Luther’s Works, American Edition, Volume 54, p. 154, Concordia Publishing House)
As for his teaching on salvation and justification, the man was a theological crackpot who called humble contrition “hypocrisy” and who insisted that Jesus died on the cross so that we may sin freely without the fear of eternal punishment. Consider Luther’s own words:
“Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly… No sin will separate us from the Christ, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day.” (From Luther’s letter to Philip Melanchthon, August 1, 1521, LW Vol. 48, pp. 281-282)
Each one of Luther’s charges against the Catholic Church were irrational and false. For instance, he accused the clergy of “selling indulgences” in the confessional, which is not true. When penitents came to confession it was common at that time for priests to administer a penance in the form of having them place money in the Church’s treasury, because funds were needed to complete the Basilica of St. Peters in Rome. We might say a Peter’s Pence was being raised, which should have excited praise, but this infuriated Luther because he couldn’t tolerate the idea of funding the “papal pig” and his palace.
If Luther had all the classic markings of a Freemason, it was precisely because he was an honorary member of the Rosicrucian Freemasons, which would explain why he rejected six books of the Bible and why he spearheaded his heinous revolt against Christ which led half of Europe away from the Christian Faith.
Did it not occur to the German bishops that Luther, far from having deserved an “adequate hearing” as a “Gospel witness and teacher of the Faith,” seems more likely to have been possessed by Satan? Certainly he was Lucifer’s pawn, tearing and breaking, and ripping the Church to pieces, because he disagreed with Christ. It was for reason that Pope Leo X dubbed Luther “the wild boar loose in the vineyard.” He was the classic hypocrite and Pharisee, constantly “justifying” himself and accusing everyone of what he himself was guilty of. What could be said of the worst pagans and infidels of history would especially apply to Luther: he had no “faith” or “grace.”
The Catholic Church committed no fault in its response to the so-called Reformation five centuries ago, which means that no apologies are due. The papal condemnation of Luther in 1521 was truly the work of the Holy Spirit, and remains binding upon the faithful to this day. Any attempts to exonerate or “reevaluate” Martin Luther incurs the guilt of serious sin.