Why came the Protestant Reformation?
Wittenberg, Erfurt – The term ” Reformation ” relates to that important religious revolt that gave birth to Protestantism. Revolt that originated with Martin Luther (1483-1546), who, in the night of October 31, 1517 , exhibited to the public 95 theses which railed against the Catholic Church .
Why came the Reformation?
First of all it has to be denied what is usually said that the Reformation would be born because of the ” sale of indulgences “. In those years the new Basilica of St. Peter was being built, and to fund the work it was decided to collect throughout Christendom offers for gaining indulgences. In Germany the task was entrusted to a character anything but uplifting, Johan Tetzel .
But beware: this was not the real reason of the birth of the Reformation!
Another myth is the one that Luther wanted only to “reform” the Church . Let me give an example to make myself understood. If I take a precious vase very dusty, one thing would be if you confine the changes to dust it, causing it to return to its original luster, another if I throw it to the ground into pieces and then would pretend to rebuild it at my leisure. “Reformation” means returning to the original form (re-forming);
Well, Luther did not reform but destroyed everything.
Just one example: only two of the seven sacraments he retained: Baptism and the Eucharist (but I should say one and a half, then we’ll see why).
The false myth of the fight against indulgences
Let’s go back to the indulgences. That the Church of the time not sailed in good waters, it is true. It was a very sad time and it was not uncommon to find cardinals and prelates who prefer reading Horace and Seneca rather than the Scriptures. But Luther was far too intelligent not to understand that unholiness of churchmen does not compromise the sanctity of the Church itself. St. Francis of Assisi understood it, certainly wiser than Luther but undoubtedly less educated, and so the monk (martin Luther) who will translate the entire Bible into modern German. He surely understood it when in 1510 he went to Rome, a novice, and he was not scandalized of the corruption in those hallowed halls, and concluded as well as every Christian should be able to conclude: it is one thing the fallibility of men, other the holiness of the Church.
But then, after the posting of the 95 Theses , he began to say that the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) was an “anti-Christ”, and that irrespective of the attitude, worthy or unworthy he had. In short, it is Luther’s own words: “I do not do what I am doing because I am scandalized by Archbishop Monsignor “Tizio” or “Caio”, but because the Church as it is, is not the church of Christ”.
He wrote a letter to Pope Leo X accompanying his treatise on religious liberty:
“I lashed out at ungodly doctrines, and I severely criticized my opponents, not because of their bad habits, but because of their wickedness.”
About the second myth (that Luther wanted only to reform the Church ), just look at what the German monk did. He abolished:
The ministerial priesthood,
The primacy of Peter,
The temporal power.
He said the salvation comes only through faith, and it is not a real justification but an apparent one (Grace does not make man righteous but really pushes God to consider man righteous when in fact he is really not),
The free interpretation of the Scriptures. (that’s is my limited understanding of the Scriptures, that is my faith)
He denied the existence of Purgatory .
He reduced the sacraments from seven to two: Baptism and Eucharist ;
But, as it has been said before, I should say one and a half, because of the Eucharist He refused the concept of transubstantiation to accept just the one of consubstantiation.
In simpler words: the Eucharist, according to Luther, the host would not turn only in the Body of Jesus, but, next to the host substance, there would be the substance of the body of Jesus. This entailed the impossibility of worship Blessed Sacrament because the worship was directed not only to the Body of Jesus but also the host to and this would entail an act of idolatry.
It is clear how this Lutheran theory constitutes the opportunity for his followers to totally deny the real presence of Jesus in the consecrated host.
“When the mass will be overthrown, I am convinced that we will have overthrown with it Papacy (…). I declare that all brothels, murders, thefts, murders and adulteries are less evil than the abomination which is the Mass of the Popes “(Martin Luther)
The real motives of the Reformation of Luther
Finally Luther brought substantial changes to Christology. Thus, Luther was not driven by what we usually call: corruption of the Church, “sale of indulgences” and other. There were additional motivations. Given that it is common wisdom in Christians to know how to distinguish between the Christian holiness of the Church and sinfulness of men of the Church, you notice that if all that it is claimed Luther did, that he only did what he did because he was outraged by the corruption of the Church of the time (and very often that it is being said for ecumenical reasons), to pay the price is the same Luther’s memory. In this case, in fact, Luther would appear as a character whose intelligence and theological preparation is far from being interesting. So what were the real reasons that led Luther to act that way? It seems that they can be reduced to at least three: Cultural, philosophical and psychological.
“These idiots asses (Catholics) do not know but the temptations of the flesh (…). In reality, the remedy to these temptations is easy: there are still women and young girls… “ (Martin Luther)
Cultural reasons (refusal of authority)
The cultural reason tells us that Luther was the son of his times; times of success of Humanism and Philologism as “signs” of an obvious anti-authoritarianism. Humanism relates to a vast cultural and spiritual movement that arose in the early 1400s in Italy, focusing on the study and human enhancement. Philologism refers to the critical study of texts includes the study of the sources and their analysis. The Lutheran abolition of the Primacy of Peter, and the Magisterium of the ministerial priesthood are clear signs of this rejection of the concept of authority .
Luther, a day responding to his mother who had asked him if she had to change his religion, said, “No, stay Catholic, because I do not want to deceive, nor betray my mother”
Philosophical reason (triumph of nominalism)
Let the philosophical reason . The times Luther marked the triumph of so-called Nominalism ( denial of the universal values ) which was the extreme importance given to reason where facts and ideas were put on the same level. This nominalism would have determined the birth of Protestantism as a root cause as a cause reagent.
Nominalism as Root Cause: the rationalism that came out of nominalism facilitated the emergence of subjectivism (no universals is impossible metaphysics and, without metaphysics, is only possible subjectivism ).
Nominalism as Reagent Cause: the reaction to the skepticism of the nominalistic rationalism easily led to trust in faith alone, that is to Fideism; and in fact, Protestantism is firmly convinced fideist.
Psychological reason (lack of vocation)
And finally the psychological reason . Luther, in fact, had not the vocation nor the monastic life or to the priesthood; hence his unhappiness. A very accepted theory says that when he was at the University of Erfurt, he fought a duel with a friend, Gerome Bluntz, killing him. So he entered the monastery of the Augustinians just to escape justice. He himself says:
“I became monk in order not to be captured. If I had not done it, I would have been arrested. But that was impossible, since the Augustinian order was protecting me.”
This absence of vocation made him neurotic and unhappy. It is said that during his first Mass, at the moment of the offertory, was about to escape and was detained by his superior. We might ask: but if somebody choose the wrong vocation, is it possible that the Lord still gives sufficient grace to go on? Certainly. The problem for Luther was another one: that he would not become docile to Grace. When a person abandons everything and betrays the truth, it is always because he has firstly abandoned prayer.
Luther himself wrote in 1516, before the turning point in his life:
“I rarely have time to pray the Breviary and celebrate Mass. They’re too stressed from the temptations of the flesh, the world and the devil.”
Because of that he believed to find the solution of his unhappiness in his Letter to the Romans (1:17):
“The just shall live by his faith”.
For salvation is necessary no effort of will but to surrender blindly to faith in the Lord (fideism).
Voluntarism and Fideism in Luther
“Protestantism is a parasitic plant that lives of Catholicism juice. When we are done with the Catholic Church, it (protestantism) shall die by Itself, or, if there will be the need, we will finish It up with a kick of our boot “. -Letter Of Michelet to Eugene Sue-
In Luther therefore is present both Voluntarism and Fideism.
Voluntarism: To give a vocation that you do not have
Fideism: Totally deny any contribution of the will.
Two entirely different errors, but, because they are errors, they are from a common origin.
The hypothesis of a diachronic succession of voluntarism and fideism in Luther is confirmed in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, a contemporary of Luther, who mailed the spirituality of his order (the Jesuits) in clear anti-lutheran perspective. St. Ignatius writes:
“There are three times or circumstances to make a good and healthy choice.
The first one is when God our Lord moves and attracts the will so that, without doubting or able to doubt, the devout soul follows what has been shown, as St. Paul and St. Matthew did in following Christ our Lord.
The second one: when you receive a lot of clarity and understanding by way of consolation and desolation, and for the existence of the discernment of spirits.
The third one is the time of tranquility. Man, considering before the fact that he was born, is to praise God our Lord and to save his soul, and in desiring this he chooses as means a state or a way of life within the Church, to be helped in his service to the Lord and in the salvation of his soul. It is time of tranquility where the soul is not agitated by various spirits, and uses its natural powers freely and safely. ” Therefore, St. Ignatius says, it is very important not to mistake one’s vocation having the sole purpose to give glory to God.
Isn’t this also an allusion to the experience of Martin Luther?
Source: Corrado Gnerre – QuiEuropa
Luther is in hell
Vision of the Blessed Mary of the Sacred Heart Séraphine
In 1883, Sister Maria Serafina Micheli (1849-1911) was beatified in Faicchio in the province of Benevento in the diocese of Cerreto Sannita 28 May 2011, the foundress of the Sisters of the Angels, was going to Eisleben, Saxony, the birthplace of Luther.
The future Blessed, noting the great hoopla was not interested in knowing the reason for this unusual animation, his only desire was to find a church and pray to be able to make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament. After walking for a while, she finally found one, but the doors were closed.
She knelt on the steps for Serenity Prayer. As it was in the evening, she had not noticed that it was not a Catholic church, but Protestant. While praying, the angel appeared, who said to him.
“Arise, because it is a Protestant church”
Then he added:
“But I want you to see where Martin Luther was condemned and the pain he suffered as a punishment for his pride.”
After these words, she saw a terrible abyss of fire, where they were cruelly tortured countless souls. In the bottom of this hole there was a man, Martin Luther, which differed from the other: it was surrounded by demons that forced him to kneel, and all armed with hammers, they tried in vain , to shove a big nail in the head. Religious thought, if some of the people had seen this dramatic scene, they would not have made honors and other commemorations and celebrations for such a character.
Later, when the opportunity arose to remind his sisters live in humility and in secret.
She was convinced that Martin Luther was punished in hell especially for the first deadly sin of pride.
Pride is a deadly sin, brought him open rebellion against the Roman Catholic Church.
His behavior, his attitude towards the Church, and his preaching were crucial to encourage and bring many souls to eternal ruin and wrong.
Blessed Marie of the Sacred Heart Séraphine