Card. Müller about Luther – Must read!

Let me start with a great quote from what will follow…

Amid today’s confusion, [… many people…] believe the Pope is infallible when he speaks privately, but then when the Popes throughout history have set forth the Catholic faith, they say it is fallible.

And now, a public service announcement. As the stomach turning and ineptly named “Reformation Sunday” approaches, I remind the readership of a book full of great essays.

Luther and His Progeny: 500 Years of Protestantism and Its Consequences for Church, State, and Society, edited by John Rao.

US HERE – UK HERE

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And now…

I spotted at LifeSite a piece, originally at La Nuova Bussola and translated into English, by Ludwig Gerhard Card. Müller about Luther.

Cardinal Müller: Luther’s reform was ‘against the Holy Spirit’

by Gerhard L. Müller

There is great confusion today when we talk about Luther, and it needs to be said clearly that from the point of view of dogmatic theology, from the point of view of the doctrine of the Church, it wasn’t a reform at all but rather a revolution, that is, a total change of the foundations of the Catholic Faith.

It is not realistic to argue that [Luther’s] intention was only to fight against abuses of indulgences or the sins of the Renaissance Church. Abuses and evil actions have always existed in the Church, not only during the Renaissance, and they still exist today. We are the holy Church because of the God’s grace and the Sacraments, but all the men of the Church are sinners, they all need forgiveness, contrition, and repentance.

This distinction is very important. And in the book written by Luther in 1520, “De captivitate Babylonica ecclesiae,” it is absolutely clear that Luther has left behind all of the principles of the Catholic Faith, Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition, the magisterium of the Pope and the Councils, and of the episcopate. In this sense, he upended the concept of the homogeneous development of Christian doctrine as explained in the Middle Ages, even denying that a sacrament is an efficacious sign of the grace contained therein. He replaced this objective efficacy of the sacraments with a subjective faith. Here, Luther abolished five sacraments, and he also denied the Eucharist: the sacrificial character of the sacrament of the Eucharist, and the real conversion of the substance of bread and wine into the substance of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, he called the sacrament of episcopal ordination, the sacrament of Orders, an invention of the Pope — whom he called the Antichrist — and not part of the Church of Jesus Christ. Instead, we say that the sacramental hierarchy, in communion with the successor of Peter, is an essential element of the Catholic Church, and not only a principle of a human organization.

That is why we cannot accept Luther’s reform being called a reform of the Church in a Catholic sense. Catholic reform is a renewal of faith lived in grace, in the renewal of customs, of ethics, a spiritual and moral renewal of Christians; not a new foundation, not a new Church.

It is therefore unacceptable to assert that Luther’s reform “was an event of the Holy Spirit.” On the contrary, it was against the Holy Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit helps the Church to maintain her continuity through the Church’s magisterium, above all in the service of the Petrine ministry: on Peter has Jesus founded His Church (Mt 16:18), which is “the Church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15). The Holy Spirit does not contradict Himself.

We hear so many voices speaking too enthusiastically about Luther, [Do I hear an “Amen!”?] not knowing exactly his theology, his polemics and the disastrous effect of this movement which destroyed the unity of millions of Christians with the Catholic Church. We cannot evaluate positively his good will, the lucid explanation of the shared mysteries of faith but not his statements against the Catholic Faith, especially with regard to the sacraments and hierarchical-apostolic structure of the Church.

Nor is it correct to assert that Luther initially had good intentions, meaning by this that it was the rigid attitude of the Church that pushed him down the wrong road. This is not true: Luther was intent on fighting against the selling of indulgences, but the goal was not indulgences as such, but as an element of the Sacrament of Penance.

Nor is it true that the Church refused to dialogue: Luther first had a dispute with John Eck; then the Pope sent Cardinal Gaetano as a liaison to talk to him. We can discuss the methods, but when it comes to the substance of the doctrine, it must be stated that the authority of the Church did not make mistakes. Otherwise, one must argue that, for a thousand years, the Church has taught errors regarding the faith, when we know — and this is an essential element of doctrine — that the Church can not err in the transmission of salvation in the sacraments.

One should not confuse personal mistakes and the sins of people in the Church with errors in doctrine and the sacraments. Those who do this believe that the Church is only an organization comprised of men and deny the principle that Jesus himself founded His Church and protects her in the transmission of the faith and grace in the sacraments through the Holy Spirit. His Church is not a merely human organization: it is the body of Christ, where the infallibility of the Council and the Pope exists in precisely described ways. All of the councils speak of the infallibility of the Magisterium, in setting forth the Catholic faith. [WATCH THIS!]Amid today’s confusion, in many people this reality has been overturned: they believe the Pope is infallible when he speaks privately, but then when the Popes throughout history have set forth the Catholic faith, they say it is fallible[Sound about right?]

Of course, 500 years have passed. It’s no longer the time for polemics but for seeking reconciliation: but not at the expense of truth. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?] One should not create confusion. While on the one hand, we must be able to grasp the effectiveness of the Holy Spirit in these other non-Catholic Christians who have good will, and who have not personally committed this sin of separation from the Church, on the other we cannot change history, and what happened 500 years ago. It’s one thing to want to have good relations with non-Catholic Christians today, in order to bring us closer to a full communion with the Catholic hierarchy and with the acceptance of the Apostolic Tradition according to Catholic doctrine. It’s quite another thing to misunderstand or falsify what happened 500 years ago and the disastrous effect it had. An effect contrary to the will of God: “… that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou has sent me” (Jn 17:21).

I, for one, cannot celebrate anything having to do with the Protestant Revolt.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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11 Responses to Card. Müller about Luther – Must read!

  1. mysticalcityofgod2017 says:

    This is very sad. It was the de-formation, not the re-formation. I can’t imagine Our Lord speaking to the heart of Luther saying, “yes, they are bad, go now, let’s start again” He’s guilty of the original sin of pride and disobedience and has taken multitudes with him.

    John 6:65
    And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”
    66
    As a result of this, many [of] his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.
    67
    Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
    68
    Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

  2. Imrahil says:

    It is not realistic to argue that [Luther’s] intention was only to fight against abuses of indulgences or the sins of the Renaissance Church.

    To quote the American President: So true.

    But you have to credit Luther at least with this: He never pretended that to be the case. Not so really in the Theses; certainly not afterwards. You have to credit Protestants, at least well-informed Protestants not repeating everything they hear in the streets, with this: they never claimed that to be the case either.

    “Let noone be mistaken: In doctrine we are better than the Papists; in practice, we aren’t.” (Martin Luther, non-verbatim)

    What this seems to be, on the other hand. is a purposeful illusion brought up by ecumenical enthousiasts, the larger majority of which I should assume to be Catholic. They can’t say “Luther was all wrong”; to even ask the question is (they assume, if unconsciously) to ruin dialogue. They can’t say “the Catholic Church was all wrong”, either; to even ask the question, etc. (though they are less hesitant here these days, originally it was the same, and there are still echoes of that).

    Hence, the fable that Luther wanted to curb some abuses and “did not want the schism”. (Well, if that means he didn’t want the Catholic Church to split from himself, it is true, actually.)

  3. JonathanTX says:

    That is why we cannot accept Luther’s reform being called a reform of the Church in a Catholic sense. Catholic reform is a renewal of faith lived in grace, in the renewal of customs, of ethics, a spiritual and moral renewal of Christians; not a new foundation, not a new Church.

    It is therefore unacceptable to assert that Luther’s reform “was an event of the Holy Spirit.” On the contrary, it was against the Holy Spirit.”

    Using this same metric, much of Vatican II and Catholicism today could be considered against the Holy Spirit.

  4. Kathleen10 says:

    Any organization that:
    abandons or denigrates it’s belief system and practices
    elevates and incorporates the belief system of an alien organization
    has replaced it’s original belief system with a foreign one.
    This is all madness, incoherent insanity. It is no surprise that evil men do it, it is only a surprise that they get as far as they do unimpeded.
    Where, oh where, are the defenders. The world is waiting. Raise them up Lord. Give them a holy boldness and zeal for your church!

  5. Sandy says:

    Of course we will hear from “the other side” with their television program on Luther! I can only imagine the content and do not have the stomach or slightest inclination to watch it. Everyone is on the Luther bandwagon for this anniversary. So sad.

  6. chantgirl says:

    This ex-Lutheran is eternally grateful to God and my parents for bringing my family into the Catholic church when I was young. I might never have received the real Eucharist. I might never have had my sins absolved in the confessional. Many of my children wouldn’t exist. I shudder to think of what my final moments on earth would have been like.

    Luther’s belief that that our sins are covered over like dung under snow makes God an impotent liar. God can neither deceive nor be deceived. He doesn’t pretend to see something that isn’t there, or call evil good. Catholics actually believe that God can transform us into something better than dung hiding under snow.

  7. teachermom24 says:

    Ironically, it was on “Reformation Sunday” in 1998 that I made the definitive turn toward the Catholic Church by seeking out the book the Lutheran preacher was bashing, Not By Faith Alone.

  8. JesusFreak84 says:

    And sadly this will be used by the “catholic” left as an example of why, “Good thing the Pope sacked him, amirite?????!” >.>

  9. jaykay says:

    ” the stomach turning and ineptly named “Reformation Sunday” approaches,”

    Oh God, you mean it isn’t over? So little interest did I have in it, or anything to do with it, that I genuinely wasn’t aware it hasn’t yet taken place, I just had a vague belief it was sometime in October.

    I’m not one much for the conspiracy theory stuff, but I do recall one of them (possibly the one about the deliberate infiltration of the Church – Bella Dodd, maybe?) which said that one of the aims would be to get the Church to feel guilty about its own history. Well, that sure has happened, in spades. And more to come in the near future, it seems, with DeformationFest.

  10. Pingback: MONDAY CATHOLICA EDITION – Big Pulpit

  11. Semper Gumby says:

    God Bless Cdl. Muller.

    Luther had a talent for insults not theology. Today, maybe he’d be a writer for “The Late Night Jihad Show” on Al-Jazeera TV.