Some differences between Catholics and Lutherans on Baptism, Eucharist, Priesthood

In a comment elsewhere, someone wondered about differences between Catholics and Lutherans.  HERE

I cannot go into deep detail about these differences.  Books can be written about each point, and have been.

Here are my lunch break reflections while the US Bishops are having lunch during their annual meeting.

Keep in mind that I am a former Lutheran convert to the Catholic Church.  I was validly baptized as a Lutheran.  I rejected the Lutheran catechism and instruction when I was 7 years old because I couldn’t square their message about corruption with the beauty of the music of Mozart.  After a vaguely Christian time and a pagan period I was brought into the Church formally in 1982 following private instruction lasting a couple years and involvement in the choir at St. Agnes in St. Paul. My longer story is elsewhere. I made my Profession of Faith according to the traditional, longer form, as found in the Rituale Romanum HERE, publicly during a Vespers service, kneeling in the sanctuary before the Blessed Sacrament exposed.  I renewed my Profession of Faith before I was ordained to the diaconate and to the priesthood at the hands of St. John Paul II.

We Catholics believe all that is contained in the teachings of the Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the revealed and defined teachings of the Scriptures and the Magisterium.  God teaches us these things through the Church and we are bound to give assent to them with mind and will.  As we say in the Act of Faith, I firmly believe the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because God has revealed them, Who can neither deceive nor be deceived.

Catholics believe that Christ instituted seven sacraments.  They are outward signs, instituted by Christ, which confer grace.

Lutherans believe in only two sacraments for sure, Baptism and Eucharist, with a possibility of Penance.

They believe different things about the effects of those sacraments.

Insofar as Baptism is concerned, Lutherans believe that, through Baptism, God declares that a sinner is just, counts a sinner among the just, by reason of the imputation (covering of the sinner) with the merits of Christ. The sinner remains corrupt in sin, but the “alien” (i.e., from outside of the sinner, from Christ) merits of Christ cover him over and make him to seem justified. This is a once and for all time event. There are other issues too, concerning grace and works, grace and freedom of will, justification by grace or by faith alone, etc. That said, Baptism conferred by Lutherans is valid despite differences in belief in the effects of Baptism. Some Protestants think that Baptism is only an outward, public sign of one’s inward faith, and that it does not forgive sins or renew us interiorly.

Catholics believe that justification takes a person out of the state of Original Sin and into a state of being an adopted child of God through the action and graces and merits of Christ. Justification is ongoing together with Sanctification, by which the person is renewed. Justification and sanctification are conferred through Baptism, which forgives sins and makes us sons of God and members of the Body of Christ, the Church. The Holy Spirit, infused into us with baptism, justifies and sanctifies us. With the indwelling of the Holy Spirit comes sanctifying grace, which can be lost through sins that are deadly to the spirit, mortal. This state can be regained through the normal means of the Sacrament of Penance (and certain other ways).

As far as the Eucharist is concerned, Catholics believe that, with the consecration by a validly ordained priest (Lutherans do not believe in sacramental ordination that confers an ontological character – rather, every man is his own priest), bread and wine are changed in their substance into the Body and Blood of Christ even though the outward appearance and characteristic accidents of bread and wine remain for our human senses. After this change of substance, trans-substantiation, Christ is truly present in the Eucharistic species, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. So long as the outward accidents remain and the species are recognizable as, in their accidents, being bread and wine, they are still the Eucharist and Christ is truly present in them, even in very small quantities of the Eucharistic Body and Blood. When the Eucharistic species are destroyed or significantly altered in their outward accidents, they cease being the Eucharist and Christ is no longer present in them. Furthermore, we Catholic believe that the celebration of the Eucharist represents and renews and makes present again both the Last Supper of the Lord during His Passion as well as the Sacrifice of Cross on Calvary. The celebration of the Eucharist is Christ’s atoning, propitiatory Sacrifice, which, though it occurred at one fixed point in time, is renewed and made present again through the actions of the priest, who acts as alter Christus. Mass is the true, real, renewal of the Sacrifice in an unbloody way that once took place in a bloody way, historically, on Calvary. This is done through the actions and words of the ordained priest.

Lutherans believe that anyone can celebrate the “Lord’s Supper” (some few Lutherans call it “Mass”) though some are called by the community to preside in the central role. The Lord’s Supper is not the Sacrifice renewed. Lutherans do not believe that the substance of bread and wine change, transubstantiation. They think that Christ is present together with the bread and wine for as long as Christ is needed to be there, a kind of “consubstantiation”. (Some Lutherans don’t like that term, but I’m not getting into that fight.) That is to say, that for Christ to be present, there must be institution, distribution and reception.  If it is not received, Christ isn’t present.  Once no longer needed there for reception, Christ is no longer present and there is left merely bread and wine. They believe Christ is truly present, when required for reception, but not in an enduring way. Luther used the image an iron that is heated and then it cools again: the iron and the heat are there together and then only the iron is there.  However, some Lutheran churches are starting to reserve their eucharistic species and even to adore what they reserve, even kneeling outside their eucharistic communion services.  An interesting development as they become more “sacramental”.  Furthermore, the Lord’s Supper is a memorial merely. It does not renew the Sacrifice of Calvary or the Last Supper, but rather commemorates them. Lutherans believe in a priesthood of all believers. There is no sacramental priesthood or consecration of the Eucharist or sacramental absolution of sins or conferral of confirmation. Matrimony is not a sacrament, nor is anointing. Lutherans have two sacraments, Baptism and “Eucharist”. Their baptism is valid because water is poured on the skin while the Trinitarian form is pronounced. Their “Eucharist” is not the Eucharist. They do not believe it is a sacrament in the sense we do and there is no valid priesthood to confect it, etc. They do not believe, as Catholics do, that sacraments are outward signs instituted by Christ Himself that confer grace. For Lutherans, they are outward signs of realities that are taking place.

Also, I recall when I was younger that, at the Luther Northwestern Seminary in my native place, they would annually have their Lutheran form of “Mass” in Latin.  Yes, there are/were such things.

Lutherans, in a way, look on their confession of sins as a sacrament. Luther referred to “penance” as a sacrament in the Large Catechism. Some Lutheran prayerbooks have a rite for penance. But they do not believe that the action and words of the one who hears that confession and pronounces words of forgiveness are sacramentally effective, as when the Catholic priest gives absolution.

This isn’t everything that can be said about differences between Catholic and Lutheran beliefs.  Books are written about each aspect I touched on.  But this is a start for those who know very little about them.

However, if you are a true Lutheran, you don’t believe what the Catholic Church believes about Eucharist and Priesthood.  Not believing what we believe, you cannot receive Communion in the Catholic Church.  If you believe what the Catholic Church teaches… then you had better become a Catholic in order to be true to yourself.

I would also say, if you are Catholic but you don’t adhere to Catholic teaching, you are in serious trouble, particularly if you have been properly instructed and you choose against Catholic teachings.

The Second Vatican Council issued a spiritual warning in Lumen gentium 14.  Here it is via the Catechism of the Catholic Church when addressing the issue of salvation outside the Church (846ff):

How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it(LG 14).

I quoted LG 14 via the CCC to show that what LG 14 contains isn’t obsolete.

If you are not Catholic, but you have come to believe what the Catholic Church teaches, and you refuse to enter the Church by your own will (not because you are afraid, etc.), you are in serious peril for your eternal soul.

If you are Catholic, but you pick and choose what to believe among those teaches that you are bound to accept, you are in serious peril for your eternal soul.

So, convert if you need conversion.  That might mean for some of you Catholic who won’t submit to the Church’s teachings… don’t put others in peril by your lack of submission and your heresy.  We would prefer to see you come around and believe, and the door is always open to you, but otherwise… get out.

Moderation queue is ON.  Helpful comments might be welcomed.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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33 Responses to Some differences between Catholics and Lutherans on Baptism, Eucharist, Priesthood

  1. Charles E Flynn says:

    Your story is the best evidence I have seen that a seven year old has reached the age of reason!

  2. MarkJ says:

    I will be forever indebted to God for the experiences I had at the Lutheran church I attended in college. It was an effective “halfway house” for my transition from my Baptist roots to the fullness of the Catholic Faith. Lutheranism opened my mind and heart to the merits of infant baptism, to the formal Creeds, and most importantly to the beauty and worth of Liturgical worship. [I remember the congregation singing in 4 part harmony.] I’m at home now in the Catholic Church, thanks in part to what our Lord showed to me in my temporary home along the way.

  3. scotus says:

    How many people are aware that the Vatican is preparing to commemorate (yes, commemorate) the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. There is a long Vatican document explaining it.
    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/lutheran-fed-docs/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_2013_dal-conflitto-alla-comunione_en.html [I’m busy that day.]
    This document provides a new, Luther-friendly, version of how the Protestant Reformation came about. It also provides an analysis of how Luther’s ideas compare to the Catholic faith. As I haven’t read that part I am unable to comment on it.
    Anyway, we have three things to consider: Luther’s (often changing) ideas, The Catholic Church’s never-changing teachings and the hotchpotch of ideas found today among the many Lutheran churches.

  4. Clinton R. says:

    We have seen in the post Vatican II years overreaching attempts by the Church to rehabilitate Martin Luther. Why? I have no idea.He was far from saintly, and often crude and for sure anti-Semitic. Some see Vatican II as Luther’s victory over the Church from beyond the grave. The Church certainly has become more Lutheran than the Lutherans have become Catholic. The 1999 Catholic/Lutheran document on grace and the upcoming co-celebration of the Reformation in 2017 illustrates this development. There have been many attempts, such as Pope Francis’ off cuff remark recently, that have seemingly blurred the line between the Catholic Church and the various Protestant denominations. This despite St. Paul admonition against the division of the Church, as seen in his 1st Letter to the Corinthians; “Now this I say, that every one of you saith: I indeed am of Paul: and I am *of Apollo: and I of Cephas: and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” 1 Cor 12:13 St Paul clearly is speaking against the notion of denominationalism.

    It is a wonderful story Father relates of his conversion to the True Faith. I pray very much for the conversion of Lutherans, all Protestants, and all men outside of the Catholic Church to hear God calling them home. Division is not of God, but of the evil one. Disregarding doctrinal truths for a desire at Christian unity has not borne good fruit. True ecumenism is to be members of the one Church Our Lord founded upon St. Peter. This is what St. Paul encouraged when he wrote of “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” (Eph. 4:5) Let us hope and pray for more conversion stories like Father Zuhldorf’s.

  5. frjim4321 says:

    “I rejected the Lutheran catechism and instruction when I was 7 years old because I couldn’t square their message about corruption with the beauty of the music of Mozart.”

    That’s rather cool.

  6. Gregg the Obscure says:

    I wasn’t as quick on the uptake as Fr. Z to leave Lutheranism so young.

    One of the great paradoxes that hit me was that two Sundays each month (outside of Lent) we would sing “Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin”, which clearly contradicts Luther’s “simul Justus et peccator est”.

    I do miss the quality of music that existed in Lutheranism in the 70s and 80s.

  7. jhayes says:

    Scotus, the document ends with a list of “imperatives.”

    “The first imperative: Catholics and Lutherans should always begin from the perspective of unity and not from the point of view of division in order to strengthen what is held in common even though the differences are more easily seen and experienced.”

  8. pelerin says:

    Interesting to learn of the differences between Lutheranism and Catholicism. I wonder why Lutheranism never flourished in England whereas there are still many other different Protestant sects here – Plymouth Brethren, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Free Churches etc.

    I have never actually knowingly met a Lutheran and consequently never given any thought as to how they differ from Catholics.

  9. scotus says:

    Just came across this comment on the ‘WattsUpWithThat’ climate website:
    Dawtgtomis November 17, 2015 at 11:37 am
    I quit being a Lutheran over the guilt programming, but it took liturgical inclusion of having caused climate change to wake me to the cult nature of the “Holy Saviors of Gaia”, whence I took my leave.
    Heck, I wasn’t quick enough. Looks like this particular post is now superseded.

  10. anilwang says:

    There is a simpler way to express the difference.

    Catholics believe EVERYTHING that the Catholic Church teaches or will teach.

    Lutherans (or other protestants) believe what the denomination THEY CHOSE teaches EXCEPT those doctrines THEY DISAGREE WITH.

  11. Pnkn says:

    Ah, and I also am I convert to Catholicism from a staunchly Lutheran family upbringing.
    The great good news is that the pastor who confirmed me was of a long lineage of Lutheran pastors – and he broke and went Catholic.
    But one of the sad aspects of Lutherans is their insistance that people need to think for themselves and not blindly follow some religion’s (not necessarily Christian denomination) doctrine.
    This implies that any convert cannot think for themself and that anyone raised in a religion other than Lutheran Christianity has no ability to think for themself. Yet clearly anyone who left the Lutheran Church did so because they thought for themself and rejected the teachings of which ever Lutheran faction that they were raised in.

  12. Charles E Flynn says:

    From Are you ready to celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation?, by Reverend Know-It-All. There are sequels, and the good reverend may not be finished with the topic:

    Luther, The Humble

    Martin had a pretty high opinion of himself. He once said, “St. Augustine or St. Ambrose cannot be compared with me.” (Ref. Erlangen, Vol. 61, pg. 422). Luther added a word to the text of Scripture on which he and much of the world have based an entire religious philosophy. In St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, (3:28) we read “For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.” Martin translated it to read, “a person is justified by faith ALONE.” The word “alone” doesn’t appear in the text.

  13. William Tighe says:

    “I wonder why Lutheranism never flourished in England …”

    No doubt, if Henry VIII had decided to force Lutheranism on England (as King Christian III did on Denmark, Norway and Iceland in the years after he became king in 1536) he could have done so, but Henry VIII always detested Luther and detested also “Sola Fide,” and although when pressed by the threat in the late 1530s by the possibility of a joint Habsburg/French invasion he allowed Cranmer & Co. to negotiate with the Wittenberg theologians, as soon as the threat receded he broke off the discussions.

    That said, the native English dissenting movement which we call “Lollardy” appears to have bequeathed two things to many of those Englishmen attracted to Protestant ideas: a tradition of “moral legalism” and a rather “low” view of sacraments and sacramental efficacy, both of which pointed towards Zurich and Zwingli (and to Zwingli’s successor in Zurich, Heinrich Bullinger) rather than to Wittenberg and Luther. (Even when, beginning in the 1560s, the influence in England of Calvin and Geneva began to rival that of Zurich and Bullinger it was largely in the areas or predestinarian thinking and moral rigorism: English Calvinists proved, for the most part, to be largely indifferent to Calvin’s sacramental thinking, which aspired to be a kind of via media between Wittenberg and Zurich.) There was a kind of “Lutheran-like” grouping of clergy and theologians in England in the last decade of Henry VIII’s reign, with Archbishop Cranmer seemingly among them, but Cranmer himself later testified that around 1546 he was won over, privately, to the “Zurich side” – and many others followed him after Henry VIII’s death in January 1547.

  14. William Tighe says:

    Perhaps a long comment which I posted yesterday here:

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/pope-cracks-door-to-lutheran-communion/

    may be of some interest, and not wholly irrelevant to the question:

    The term “consubstantiation” has been applied to describe Lutheran ideas about the eucharistic presence, but most informed Lutherans reject this, seeing it as an instance of precisely that sort of “philosophical reason” which Luther found so objectionable in the Catholic “canonization” of the term “transubstantiation.” One classical Lutheran formulation is that Christ’s Body and Blood are present “in, with, and under” the bread and wine, thus signifying disagreement with both the Zwinglian/Reformed view that the bread and wine are symbolic tokens of Christ’s (absent) Body and Blood and the Calvinist/Reformed view that the bread and wine are instruments or implements through which Christ’s Body and Blood are “spiritually” (but not “physically”) and “mentally” (but not “orally”) conveyed to the worthy (i.e., elect) recipient. Christ’s eucharistic presence is, thus, for orthodox Lutherans, a bodily presence, received orally, and by the worthy (to their consolation and benefit) and unworthy (to their judgment and condemnation) alike.

    There is, however, and ambiguity here in the phrase “in, with, and under,” in that “in” and “under” were Luther’s preferred terms, while “with” was Menanchthon’s; and some have seen in Luther’s terms a stress on the identity of Body and Blood with bread and wine, and seen in Melanchthon’s a stress on their distinction – and Melanchthon may have been moving towards Calvinism (or at least towards Calvin) at the time of his death in 1560 (and certainly in the intra-Lutheran theological struggles of the latter half of the 16th Century many Melanchthonian Lutherans did embrace Calvinism).

    There was another difference between Luther and Melanchthon as regards the Eucharist. Luther believed that it was the recitation of the Words of Institution at the “Lutheran Mass” that effected the consecration of the bread and wine into Christ’s Body and Blood. He was uncertain – since he believed Scripture never addresses the matter – whether this “transformation” was permanent in its duration, or temporary. Hence his opposition to reserving the Eucharist, even for viaticum, and his dislike of even carrying the consecrated eucharist from a Mass to the sickbed (he preferred a bedside abbreviated celebration); he did, however, believe that it was legitimate and laudable to adore Christ present in the bread and wine during the Mass itself; and he himself did this to his dying day. Melanchthon, by contrast, believed that the Words of Institution were not consecratory, but an address to the communicants, and that Christ’s presence “in, with, and under” the bread and wine only occurred as each piece of bread and each quantum of wine entered the mouths of individual communicants, and not otherwise (i.e., the bread and wine used in the service but not received by communicants were not, and never had been, united “with” Christ’s Body and Blood).

    To make a long story short, even though Melanchthon’s views on these matters were generally, although not explicitly, reprobated in the intra-Lutheran conflicts of the late 16th Century, they triumphed in practice in 17th-century “Lutheran Orthodoxy” and largely inform the contemporary communion practices of both liberal and conservative Lutheran bodies today. Refusal to adore the eucharistic elements (even between the Words of Institution and the administration of communion – as Luther both praised and advocated), returning unreceived consecrated communion wafers to the “breadbox” after the service, and pouring unconsumed consecrated wine back into the bottle – both to be consecrated anew at the next communion service – and believing that the “sacramental union” of the Body/bread and Blood/wine occurs only at the moment of communion, and that but fleetingly, and only for those elements that are consumed, all reflect the sacramental triumph of Philip Melanchthon over Martin Luther in Lutheran churches.

  15. Matt R says:

    Pelerin, Henry VIII attacked Lutherans, for which he was awarded the title “Defensor fidei” by the pope. He, with at least some help from men like Thomas More, wrote a tract, “Defense of the Seven Sacraments” against Luther’s teachings. But this left English Protestantism open to the Calvinism that Cranmer, Edward VI and his regents would support.

  16. William Tighe says:

    I wrote, above:

    “That said, the native English dissenting movement which we call “Lollardy” appears to have bequeathed two things to many of those Englishmen attracted to Protestant ideas: a tradition of “moral legalism” and a rather “low” view of sacraments and sacramental efficacy, both of which pointed towards Zurich and Zwingli (and to Zwingli’s successor in Zurich, Heinrich Bullinger) rather than to Wittenberg and Luther.”

    In the Reformed/Calvinist world, 16th-Century English (and to some extent, Scottish) theologians made two original contributions: (1) Sabbatarianism (Sunday as “the Christian Sabbath”) which only subsequently spread throughout the European Reformed/Calvinist world, and (2) Covenant Theology (which one historian has characterized as smuggling good works as contributing to salvation in through the back door after being ejected from the front door through the Reformed version of “Sola Fide”), two notions which played a major part in Lutheran anti-Reformed polemic from the late 16th Century onward – both of which may be viewed as fruits of the Lollard impact on early English Protestantism. Lollardy was present in 15th-Century Scotland, as well as, of course, its native England.

  17. William Tighe says:

    “But this left English Protestantism open to the Calvinism that Cranmer, Edward VI and his regents would support.”

    No, what they supported was the “Zwinglianism” that was the essence of the Swiss “Reformed” variety of Protestantism. Calvin aspired to a kind of mediating position between the followers of Zwingli and those of Luther, much as Calvin’s mentor, Martin Bucer, the Reformer of Strassburgh, has also attempted. But whereas Bucer reached an ambiguous accord with the Lutherans in 1536, the end result of which was that when Strassburgh and its allied communities in SW Germany were faced with a peremptory demand from the Emperor Charles V around 1548 that they choose between Catholicism and Lutheranism, they chose Lutheranism (and Bucer fled to England, where he lived for his remaining three years of life), Calvin reached an accord with Zwingli’s Bullinger (the “Consensus Tigurinus”) in 1549 (an accord in which Calvin did most of the conceding, particularly concerning “the Lord’s Supper”) which had the effect of swinging Geneva into the Reformed camp. Calvin’s particular theological ideas and emphases had no significant impact on England until the middle of the 1560s, although they were central to the Scottish Reformation from its violent beginnings in 1560 onwards.

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  20. Charlie says:

    When I was a teenager in the town where Fr Neuhaus grew up there were always great debates between the Bishop of that day and Fr Neuhaus’ father who was one of the local Lutheran pastors.And I add a very good preacher.These debates were in the form of tracts that were published by both sides.I recall when in the seminary that one of the Bishop’s tracts was required reading and ‘ought to be memorized’.Battle lines were drawn and in the end the young Neuhaus was ordained a Catholic priest .The rest is history.

  21. Broggi66 says:

    My kids played with a neighborhood boy who attended a Lutheran school. My kids go to Catholic school. One day, the Lutheran boy told my sons that Catholics weren’t Christians and he needed to save them. After I laughed and told my sons we are the original Christians, I was really steamed. Seems there are still quite a few Lutheran churches who still teach this stuff. Hope the Pope doesn’t mind if I don’t get all excited about his Lutheran outreach, I’m not feeling very gracious toward Lutherans.

  22. acricketchirps says:

    I don’t know about Lutherans but I once heard the difference between Catholics and Baptists is that Catholics say hi to one another in the liquor store.

  23. danidunn says:

    After Vatican II, the Church abolished(?) the requirement for abstaining from meat on Fridays outside of Lent. It was believed that people did not need to abstain from meat under the pain of sin but rather they would abstain because their conscience would tell them to abstain from meat.

    Well, we’ve seen how well that turned out. But, we’re still being inundated by calls to follow our conscience. That may be easy for the pope or bishops to do, we can pretty much assume that their consciences have been properly formed. But, many of us people have not had our consciences properly formed and we do need guidance on these matters from Holy Mother Church.

    Like all of us, the woman who questioned Pope Francis about receiving communion with her husband does need to follow her consciences on that matter. I, as a Catholic, bring judgement on myself for receiving communion unworthily. That woman will also bring judgement on herself for receiving communion unworthily.

    Woe to the world, for the hurt done to consciences! It must needs be that such hurt should come, but woe to the man through whom it comes!

    The Pope should have used this moment as a “teaching moment”. I do not think in this instance he was being a good steward of the King’s assets.

  24. Mariana2 says:

    The Lutheran church here in Finland has published a booklet which states that it is the heir of the Catholic Church here. They quite devoutly believe that the Catholic Church somehow went off the rails in about A.D. 100 at the latest, and they, the Lutherans, are what the primitive Curch was.

  25. William Tighe says:

    “The Lutheran church here in Finland has published a booklet which states that it is the heir of the Catholic Church here. They quite devoutly believe that the Catholic Church somehow went off the rails in about A.D. 100 at the latest, and they, the Lutherans, are what the primitive Curch was.”

    The idea that “the Church somehow went off the rails” about A.D. 100 was, at the Reformation, the pet idea of the radical fringe of the Reformation (Anabaptists, anti-Trinitarians, and the like). most “mainline Reformers” tended to date it around 600, right after the pontificate of St. Gregory the Great; and certainly by the year 1000. (John Calvin had a strange liking of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, however.) Luther, uniquely, refused to date “the Fall of the Church,” insisting that right from the beginning the Church was always falling, and always being recalled to “orthodoxy” – at least in the first millennium. Some of Luther’s successors published a vast work of Church History, the “Magdeburg Centuries,” treying to “document” the slow stages by with the Church “fell into error” in conjunction with “the rise of Antichrist” (i.e., the papacy). Cardinal Baronius’ vast historical labors were aimed at refuting such notions.

    The Scandinavian Lutheran churches tend to claim, much like the Church of England, that they are the “heirs” or “reformed continuation” of the Medieval Catholic Church.

  26. I knew something was deeply wrong with protestantism at the age of 10. That was how old I was when I first read the bible (66 book protestant thing that I had at that time) and realized that what the bible actually said and what the protestant preachers were telling me were in direct opposition to each other. When I wanted to ask questions or get clarification I was told to be quiet and that someone so young could not possibly understand. The more I understood the more I realized that protestants lie. They just flat out lie. They know full well their insipid fake religion is a scam.

    I was into reading and so I read the quran and the teachings of Buddhism. I read some of the vedas and the Bagavad Gita. I even started to read a lot of what was written about Shinto though back then there was very little in English and I didn’t know Japanese yet.

    Of course all that changed the very first time I experienced a Catholic Mass at 13. Sure, inside protestantism the bible makes no sense and it is no wonder why so many protestants eventually become atheist. But having read the bible (even if it wasn’t a complete bible) I was totally blown away by the Mass. Suddenly the Bible made sense. It all worked. It was real. We weren’t just accidents bumbling along just trying to do the best we could. Lord Jesus isn’t just some character you read about in a book.

    So of course I had to become a Catholic. God didn’t really give me a choice in the matter. And I trust the Catholic Church to teach me right. I don’t always understand everything. How can protestant baptisms or marriages be valid? I couldn’t tell you but the Church says they are and I have to accept that. Why do priests bring in garments that are ugly or tambourines that sound like the death cry of weak nail? I don’t know but I don’t go to Mass for that. I really wish I didn’t have to put up with that stuff but even if I have to suffer through all that to get to Jesus then I’ll do it. Whatever he wants. He wants me to kneel, then I kneel. He wants me to repent, then I repent. I’m there for Him.

    But seriously, if the Pope is going to suppress or abolish something, please make it tambourines.

    Side questions, is it ok to wear ear plugs during Mass? If I stand out the front door and listen to Mass on the speaker system does that still count? It’s just those tambourines are physically painful. I know a lot of other Christians in history went through a lot worse to attend Mass but I’m actually worried about losing my hearing.

  27. The Cobbler says:

    They all say Mozart makes kids smarter, but I don’t think they realize the full scale of it…

  28. KateD says:

    My children love Lutheran Satire, and it is usually such good stuff that I let them watch it fairly liberally. The other day we came across a video where they claimed the Pope is the Anti-Christ. ACK! I had no idea they held those beliefs! I’ve heard various Christians float that idea, but I usually think of them as members of the Church That Just Popped Up Over There by the CrossRoads, with a whacky array of contradictory beliefs which morph into something else the minute the uneducated minister gets a whiff of new idea….I didn’t suspect it was part of an established Protestant denomination.

    Broggi66: My little boy has had a best friend who is a Jehovah’s Witness. They are constantly trying to convert each other. It’s hilarious to listen to. This little boy is from a family where both parents were raised Catholic. Who knows, sometimes it takes a child to lead the parents to their faith.

  29. The Masked Chicken says:

    “They all say Mozart makes kids smarter, but I don’t think they realize the full scale of it…”

    If you want to make kids sharper, you have to push in the tuning barrel, wherever that is on a kid.

    Seriously, for you parents who think that taping an ipod to your tummy while pregnant will make your child into another Einstein, back when that paper first came out I realized that it wasn’t Mozart that was doing it. It was clear from the paper (if anyone bothered to read it), that any sort of heavily patterned music would do it – any Classical or baroque composer would work. They found the opposite effect with Rock music, which is pretty much free-form.

    The Chicken

  30. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Seriously, for you parents who think that taping an ipod to your tummy while pregnant will make your child into another Einstein…”

    Sorry. I’m kind of naive about you humans…I don’t think taping an ipod to the husband’s tummy while his wife is pregnant will really have any effect on the fetal development…at least before the child is born. I suspect it might have deleterious effects, as in bad dreams or worse, if the child hears music coming from his father’s tummy after he is born :)

    The Chicken

  31. KateD says:

    Well, Chicken, you know what they say: if it ain’t baroque…..

  32. The Masked Chicken says:

    Ah, the Baroque…that takes me Bach a few years…

    I knew this was going to be a strange day. I woke up with the idea of writing a series of Catholic murder mysteries. I could see it…The Chicken Presents…I think I could cut a swarthy silhouette just like Hitchcock. The first book starts with the abbot sputtering as he reads the back cover, “but, you can’t have a murder without a body…”. Ah, quick, name that heresy…

    The Chicken

  33. The Cobbler says:

    I’ve always more or less assumed that Mozart was just standing as representative of Bach, Beethoven and a few other greats as well as himself.

    Fun fact though: When I hum random music to my little ones, it tends to end up following a lot of the classical patterns of tone and structure even though I’m just making it up as I go. I think it’s a combination of trying to keep it happy on the whole and trying to come up with something that’s almost purely enjoyable, rather than, say, coming up with music to fit a particular mood or scene or to sing lyrics to.