Everyone should rush to read what Andrea Gagliarducci contributed in his latest Monday Vatican offering. HERE Using as a springboard a new book in Italian on Luther by Angela Pellicciari, (not in English yet – Amazon USA HERE UK HERE – ITALY HERE) Andrea writes about Martin Luther, Protestantism, and the ongoing corrosion of the Catholic Church through Protestantization.
The push for subjectivity was one of Martin Luther’s arguments in his anti-Roman preaching. Angela Pellicciari writes: “With the elimination of the function of the magisterium, the denial of the priestly order, the exaltation of individual freedom and the rejection of the importance of works to achieve salvation, everyone makes his own decisions. Everyone reads the Bible and interprets it his own way, trusting in the Holy Spirit’s assistance.”
In the end, the risk of the institutionalization of “case by case discernment” is to arrive at the “by Scripture only” (sola fide) notion that Martin Luther promoted. The priest who discerns on a case by case basis puts aside the function of the magisterium and founds his activity on his personal interpretation of the Scriptures. He wields enormous discretionary power, but it is much more a human power than one derived from God.
In his encyclical Spe Salvi, Benedict XVI asks: “How could the idea have developed that Jesus’ message is narrowly individualistic and aimed only at each person singly? How did we arrive at this interpretation of the “salvation of the soul” as a flight from responsibility for the whole, and how did we come to conceive the Christian project as a selfish search for salvation which rejects the idea of serving others?”
Angela Pellicciari responds: “It did so because Luther has misinterpreted as slavery to Rome the universal charism of Peter and his function in defense of the whole Church. As a consequence, “the body has been abandoned”, it seems “in favor of souls, that is, of the most interior part of each of us, which corresponds to our conscience. It is as if soul and body are set one against the other, and each of them goes on its own. As if obedience to conscience is a substitute to obedience to Peter.”
These are still the main themes of our times. Unchaining the faithful from the authority of the Church, Luther gave to princes, the secular power, a fundamental role. He even claimed the authority of the secular power against the Pope, if the Pope makes mistakes. But the Pope’s authority, his sovereignty, is justified by the need for independence from secular power. Only this way – St. Leo the Great explained – can the Church be credible and really free.
Over at Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter), Robert Mickens reacts with panic to Gagliarducci and Pelliciari and, to boot, reports of the ever smaller crowds turning up in Rome for Pope Francis’ events. Mickens is befuddled that anyone in these days of post-Conciliar enlightenment should ever express concerns about the Protestantization of which Gagliarducci and Pellicciari wrote.
What I found especially amusing was Mickens’ efforts to manage expectations about the success of the Year of Mercy, at least in terms of the falling number of pilgrims. For example (my emphases and comments):
Pope Francis’ “revolution” is well underway and gaining momentum. Even if many millions of pilgrims do not come to Rome during the Holy Year, this phenomenon cannot be slowed down.
In fact, the pope does not want huge crowds of people to come to Rome for the jubilee. [So, if they come, they’ll claim it was a big success. But if they don’t come, they’ll claim it was a big success.] He wants them to celebrate the yearlong event in their home dioceses, by being the first pope ever to encourage every diocesan cathedral around the world to have its own holy door. And not just the cathedrals, but also all significant shrines and even chapels in every prison. [If every door is a holy door, then no door is a Holy Door. Let’s just desacralize the whole thing and call it something else.]
So any jubilee flop will be of small consequence, even if supplies a bit of schadenfreude to those who have been lukewarm and even opposed to the way this pontificate has unfolded. [It seems to me that Catholics want every pontificate to be success. That said, neither should we candy-coat everything.]
Mickens is eager to defend everything about Pope Francis, even that which might turn out to be a “flop” (his word). He wasn’t so eager to take up the pen in defense of Pope Benedict’s efforts… or even his person. You will recall the infamous Facebook exchange that resulted in Mickens sacking by the ultra-liberal Tablet. HERE
Anyway… here’s another sample from Gagliarducci:
While everyone is pushing for a “more human Church”, a “more divine Church” is what is needed, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger once observed. This is the issue. The subtle enemy that is Protestantization is always current, and it is perhaps the hidden enemy that the Church must fight above all others.
Take a few minutes to read his whole column at Monday Vatican.
Moderation queue is ON.