I just don’t get the whoopdeedoo about Luther this year in the Catholic Church.

I received a note from priest friend.  He included a PDF of an article to be published.  Here is the synopsis:

Synopsis: A close analysis of Kasper’s book on Mercy reveals a powerful embrace of Luther’s theology of grace and mercy. But Luther had no moral theology since, in his eyes, human beings are incapable  good, and God’s mercy replaces his justice. Beneath a panegyric to divine mercy, Kasper’s persistent theme is a diminution of divine justice against which mercy is revealed and illumined.  The result is a trivialization of God’s mercy, the enormity of Christ’s sacrifice, man’s freedom of moral choice and participitation in his own salvation, and by necessity, thereby, his dignity.  

Look.  I’m a former Lutheran. When I was in seminary, we had to read Kasper’s Christology books, the best Lutheran Christology I ever read!

In his book on Mercy, Kasper pretty much says what the Council of Trent anathematized.

I just don’t get the whoopdeedoo about Luther in the Catholic Church.

In the Lutheran churches (not real churches according to the CDF because they don’t have Apostolic Succession, etc.), I get it completely.  If they want to celebrate Martin Luther, great!

But… should we?

There are many things I don’t understand about this.

Another thing I don’t get is why lots of women and many Jews are not upset by the big celebration of Martin Luther.  Just read Luther, for heaven’s sake!   Why are not feminists upset?  Where are the women, for pete’s sake?  Is this an example of what McCarthy describes in The Grand Jihad?  The enemy of my enemy is my friend?  Luther didn’t say exactly kind things about Jews.  Where are they with this?   I don’t get it.  Pope Francis used an analogy the other day about Syrians and camps and lots of people were upset.  Read Luther on our Jewish elder cousins someday.

I don’t see why we are suppose to celebrate the shredding of Christendom.

I know about the blah blah about things in the Church that needed reform in the 16th c and following, and even today.  I’m a convert, remember?

Am I getting this wrong?  Where am I wrong?


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  1. Ocampa says:

    I have a Jewish friend who is prone to ranting. One of his rants is about how if there was no Luther, there would’ve been no Hitler. I don’t know near enough to restate the points here, but suffice it to say that in his opinion, Luther’s anti-semitism was a huge influence on German culture in general and Hitler in particular.

    As for the feminists, they’re real opposition is to Catholicism. They’ll support the most misogynistic religion in the world (Islam) to oppose the religion that truly redeemed women and men and dignifies both by showing them their role in the world. So it’s no surprise they’ll support someone like Luther, when his main claim to fame is disrupting the Church in the way no one had before. Feminist ideology is not a hatred of men, or patriarchy, or clericalism, but of God the FATHER and Jesus the SON.

  2. “I just don’t get the whoopdeedoo about Luther in the Catholic Church.”

    I’m with you! It turns my stomach in knots. Of course right now there is a lot of whoopdeedoo, mostly a lot of doo, going on in the Church right now that I just can’t agree with. My consolation is that God is in charge; He never sleeps. O God, please clean up the mess!

    [As I said elsewhere, if Lutherans want to celebrate 2017, hey! That makes sense (unless we consider that the main praxis reasons for their split are resolved). I am happy to talk with Lutherans, have a beer with Lutherans, exchange view with Lutherans. But I don’t want to celebrate Luther. Is that so strange?]

  3. iPadre says:

    Nope, you don’t get it wrong at all. We are blessed the you converted and are a priest of Jesus Christ. I will never celebrate Luther. He was clearly a heretic, a nut, and he is responsible for destroying the faith of many innocent people. Did he have some points. Of course he did. The Church made, or should I say some people in the Church made mistakes. But that is not a good reason to leave your Mother in any age.

  4. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    It’s because when it comes to their Catholicism, too many within the Catholic Church, including some persons among the laity, some theologians, and some among the clergy, are more interested in being “hip” and “cool” in the eyes of the world and in their own eyes, than in embracing the perennial teachings of Jesus Christ. In other words, in addition to wanting to maintain our membership in the Catholic Church, we *want* the world, the flesh, and the devil, just as it might be argued Herr Luther did.

    That’s the hip way to be in the Catholic Church nowadays, Father. One foot in the Church, one in the world (that is, wanting “the world”* in the sense of being in the thrall of an overweening attachment to material wealth, power, and prestige in a way that prompts the victim to *pick and choose* among Jesus’ words in the Bible and the Church’s historic interpretation of them, and often *to reject* inconvenient teachings from among these.)

    When we act in this way, we’re no longer truly Catholics; we’re heretics of the hipster doofus** variety. One might call the heresy: Western Hipster Doofusism. And too many uninformed Catholics listen to us when we go wrong in this way.

    Please pray for me, a sinner. And offering praise and thanks to God for His mercy in providing faithful Catholic priests, bishops, Catholics and theologians to listen to, and also in rescuing me from the pit of ignorance and corruption which I have knowingly and willingly entered into numerous times, I must remind myself “there but for the Grace of God, go I.”

    * the world itself as God originally created it is good, as Genesis tells us. But the good things of this world, may be misused to conflict with the will of God for us, and then we enter into corruption.
    ** hipster doofus was coined by Larry David, co-creator of and writer for _Seinfeld_.

  5. mo7 says:

    Where are those groups you’ve mentioned regarding Luther? Luther isn’t the enemy and pecking at him gets them nowhere. The true Church is the common enemy to be defeated. Evil has a really keen way of keeping it’s eyes on the prize.

  6. You’re not wrong! It is appalling how the Roman Catholic Church is fawning over the 500th anniversary of the rending of the Church in much of Europe. I am dismayed but sadly it seems that lately, since the abdication of B16, these things aren’t unexpected.

    [I believe Benedict met with Lutherans on their own turf! However, he also had the CDF issue a clarification about Catholic doctrine of justification and sanctification immediately when the joint statement of some Catholics and some Lutherans was released.]

  7. rmichaelj says:

    I hope I am wrong, but I fear this is seen as a way to bring Lutherans in, much the way the Novus Ordo was “supposed” to bring in protestants to the Church.

    Personally, I am in a place where this stuff is ignored (not denounced as it deserves, but ignored). I give a prayer of thanksgiving for this, and a prayer for those poor souls who have to deal with this nonsense with no place to escape to. God, of it be your will, send us holy priests!

  8. Suburbanbanshee says:

    He,was not as bad as Mohammed or even Calvin, but seems like a meaner guy than Arius. We should learn about him, but that is about it.

  9. anilwang says:

    I get why. Pope Francis is from Argentina where evangelicals have made major gains on the Catholic Church. Even in the U.S. The second biggest “denomination” is former Catholics and about half become secularists and the other half become evangelicals. If you look at an average Evangelical and compare with an average Catholic in the Americas, from the outside the average Evangelical dedicates time to read the Bible, attend services at least once a week, evangelize, and be part of the Evangelical community whereas this is not the case of the average Catholic. So something is lacking in American Catholicism that Evangelicals have and from what I hear, European Catholicism is in a much state.

    Of course, we on this blog know “lex orandi lex credendi lex vivendi” and how the Spirit of Vatican II has attacked first “lex orandi” which in turn flowed into an impoverished “lex credendi” and resulted into an impoverished “lex vivendi”. The way to fix Catholicism is to return to lex orandi and let that flow into the others. For instance, how can someone understand purity of body if one don’t understand consecration, and how can one understand consecration if our worship and our sanctuaries are man-centered and “multi-use” so nothing is completely dedicated to God?

    But “Spirit of Vatican II” devotees like Pope Francis and Cardinal Kasper, see “lex orandi” and “lex credendi” as being the enemy of “lex vivendi” because Evangelicals have had to abandon both because when every man is his own Pope (in Protestantism), a unified “lex orandi” and “lex credendi” is impossible. What they don’t see is that Evangelicalism is slowly slipping into secularism, and in every generation of Evangelical accepts things as good that the previous generation would denounce as evil.

    IMO, Evangelicalism will not exist in 100 years.

  10. padredana says:

    You are not wrong good Father, you are right. It is a scandal that so many Bishops and Priests are celebrating the protestant revolution.

  11. John Grammaticus says:

    You’re not wrong Father, however most of the Church is simply mad.

  12. Clinton R. says:

    I don’t get it either, Father. Why would popes, bishops, and any of the faithful give Martin Luther any credence whatsoever? The man turned him back on God, the Church and his sacred vows that he made at his ordination. Thanks to Luther’s revolt, Europe was torn asunder and the effects of this are still felt today. But as we all are aware of, the zeal for ecumenism at any cost has pervaded throughout the Church like an English fog, and over the last 60 plus years, popes and prelates have become inebriated by it. In a related story from Fr. Paul McDonald’s blog, it appears Pope Leo III’s declaration of the nullity of Anglican orders has now come into question, sadly. Ecumenism at any cost.


  13. Cafea Fruor says:

    I don’t get it either. Isn’t celebrating Luther & the reformation a little like a saying to a spouse who left you, “Hey, let’s celebrate the anniversary of our divorce!”?

  14. bibi1003 says:

    I wonder if celebrating Luther is Pope Francis’s weird way of promoting ecumenism, which is soooo much more important than proclaiming and defending the One True Church. I don’t understand him. Or worse, maybe I do.

  15. aliceinstpaul says:


    Are you using a rhetorical device here? Because I think you understand perfectly. The goal is to undermine the Catholic Church.

    One set of people who is hoping to undermine the Church always claims they are doing it for the Church–If the Church is more ecumenical, more modern, more feminist, more SjW oriented, etc., then we’ll come join it, they say. Of course they never do join it. (Another set openly bashes, of course.)

    But the goal isn’t to have the Church flourish. The goal is to remove the Church’s influence from the world. Raising up Luther is another way to diminish the Magisterium.

    If you’re asking why would authentic Catholics participate in this, the answer is the Evil One has confused them. They wrongly think this is being ecumenical, being open to their Christian brethren. Many are so misled and ignorant of history and theology that they don’t know who Luther really was.

    But I cannot tell you wish of those lauding Luther are really ignorant and which are intentionally undermining.

    We are to be innocent as lambs and clever as foxes.

  16. Ellen says:

    My parish isn’t having any celebration of Luther. Come to think of it, neither is the local Lutheran Church. And you are dead right about Luther’s attitude toward women. I’m very far from being a feminist, but I was shocked at his vitrol toward women. And as for his attitude toward the Jews – I don’t even want to go back and re-read it.

  17. Phil_NL says:

    The only Catholic response that I consider suitable is a special collection, destined to replace the doors of certain German churches (perhaps Catholic in name only, but Catholic nevertheless), so that they are made of steel rather than wood.

    Then whomever wants to do so can bring a nail and try to affix theses, for all I care.

  18. DMorgan says:

    Agreed. I just do not get it either. Some of our Princes are abdicating what it means to be Catholic. I can think of only one reason for this, a global “church of Nice” where relativism rules the day.

  19. QuietContemplative says:

    “Why are not feminists upset? Where are the women, for pete’s sake?”

    Already in power, Father, already in power. They got enough of the Lutheran church to acquiesce to their ideas and demands, thus, why bite the hand that feeds? It’s stuff like this that makes me want to go find a cave to crawl into and just pull a rock over the entrance until… well… yeesh, does there have to be an until? The MREs will last a good long while. Joking aside, the seeming betrayal of Christ’s mission and Church so often committed by His appointed shepherds is incredibily confusing and disheartening, but I’m certainly not the first to express that, to you or in general. Thank you for what you do, in vestments and out. Your blog and the bishops and priests you support and link to are a very real boost to morale.

  20. KAS says:

    We were Lutheran when I was a teen. Being me, I was not satisfied with the short quotes from Luther we were given and went looking for a more complete set of his writings. I lost all respect for Luther once I read what he actually wrote. “What a horrid person” was my teenage reaction. I suspect that was just another point that led ultimately to my conversion as well. I’m equally confused and baffled by this weird persistent fawning over Luther by some Catholics. It is so totally illogical that I find myself wondering if it is demonic. Kind of like Catholics who insist that Muslims are all good people and peaceful even in the face of the massive numbers of martyrs killed by Muslims in every generation since that religion began, or those people who insist communism isn’t a bad thing in the face of the millions who died under it. Or the crazy self hatred that leads Catholics to think that GOD is wrong because a few people violated Church teaching at various points in history so the Church must be bad and so they must compromise on Church teaching to show that the Church isn’t bad…. and honestly, not one bit of it makes sense to me. What DOES make sense are the documents, the catechism, the Bible, the writings of the Early Church Fathers and Saints from all ages (Teresa of Avila, Basil, Josemaria Escriva, Thomas Aquinas, John Paul II for a very very very very very very short list). It is the ancient teaching of the magisterium that makes sense–not any of this odd blabbering. Catholicism is true, everything else is not fully true and to try and make a heretic something other than a heretic is to put lipstick on a pig and call it a princess.

  21. Chrisc says:

    I think you get it just fine, padre. If you don’t like the Church’s hard-nosed moral stances, then lets all shout ‘Luther’ as the ecumenical politically correct cover that allows us to show that morality is useless.

    The embrace of Luther is what this papacy is really about, both on the meta-level and on the particular level -whereby mercy trumps justice. period. [Mercy has to be twisted in order to oppose it to justice, properly understood. It is hard for us humans to get the tension right. We do well sometimes to err on the side of mercy. However, to oppose mercy and justice is nuts.]

  22. Aquinas Gal says:

    St Thomas says that mercy is the removal of “any kind of defect” (Summa, I, q. 21, a. 3 and 4)
    Sin is the worst kind of defect, and error is bad too. So mercy has to involve repentance from sin and the correction of error, otherwise it’s not really mercy. We have to bring back St Thomas in order to overcome all these modern errors and heresies.

  23. PTK_70 says:

    Two thoughts:
    1) By making a fuss about Luther, we Catholics are claiming at least part-ownership of the Reformation narrative. In this sense I see the “whoopdeedoo” as a clever PR tactic.
    2) Better that we Catholics “commemorate” Luther than that some Lutheran entity give a parade recognizing Pope St. Pius V. For Lutherans to give a parade recognizing Pope St. Pius V would imply that they “won” the Reformation. But of course they didn’t. Ergo, it’s better that we should acknowledge/commemorate Luther, who became a foil for the purification and development of Catholic doctrine.

    [So… by celebrating or commemorating Luther, with Lutherans, we are saying… we win. Ummmm….]

  24. EoinOBolguidhir says:

    Father, you stole my thunder regarding our elder brothers in belief. I have half a mind to distribute copies of “Von den Jueden und iren Luegen” at every celebratory event. I didn’t often agree with Christopher Hitchens, but he was spot on in his remark that anti-Semitism is surest sign of an odious person.

    AliceinStPaul is exactly correct about undermining the Church. Everyone who hasn’t heard him speak in the past should Youtube some of Yuri Bezmenov’s videos about demoralizing the West. It’s astounding that in our country and our Church we are living with result of the demoralization decades after the Soviets have fallen. Perhaps the Prince of this World fostered Communism only so that it could instill its poison into the veins of the Church before our Lady crushed its head.

    Maybe someone familiar with Neumayr’s new book could tell us how strong the connection between the Communists and our current top-down demoralization really is.

  25. iamlucky13 says:

    I’ve not personally encountered any Catholics arguing for Catholics to celebrate Luther. I’m aware Pope Francis attended a commemoration of Luther’s theses, and I heard, although I haven’t seen confirmation of the claim that the Vatican is producing a special Martin Luther stamp.

    I’m not seeing this particular misinterpretation of ecumenism be adopted by ordinary Catholics, however.

  26. Charles E Flynn says:


    You have consulted original sources, and the original sources, in a roundabout way, have set you free.

  27. tcurtisf says:

    Isn’t it heresy to not properly identify and work AGAINST heresy when it presents itself?? The foul fruits of Luther’s “teachings” continue to echo across the centuries. Those in the Church that not only fail to condemn his heresy but promulgate it are guilty of scandal at best… What would St Athanasius say??

  28. ce lathrop says:

    “I just don’t get the whoopdeedoo about Luther in the [Roman] Catholic Church.”

    I’m Orthodox (and a deacon), and I don’t get it, either. I teach at CUA, which is co-sponsoring the Luther conference at the end of this month. I think CUA should be tolerant enough to employ Orthodox clergy but not so tolerant as to “celebrate” Luther. Of course, y’all produced him…..

  29. Viaticum says:

    It seems like some of the same folks who are fans of pointing to Jesus’ prayer “That they all may be one” each January during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity think that celebrating an enormous split in the church is a way of promoting cross-denominational understanding. And then there is the BBC’s classical Radio 3, celebrating “Luther’s revolution” through its “Breaking Free” selections…

  30. Nancy D. says:

    It appears that the same people who want to condone Luther are the same people who want to condone adultery.

    “It is about the marriage” in Heaven and on earth.

    One bridegroom, one bride on earth; One Bridegroom, One Bride (Holy Mother Church), in Heaven.

  31. Lazylyn says:

    The Lutheran church is ‘celebrating’ the 500 years anniversary of Luther. As far as we can tell , ecumenical bodies are using the word ‘commemorating’. I am perplexed – I guess its a way of getting round the problem of the Lutheran church inviting non-Lutherans to a joint service in which some participants are there for one reason and others for another.As a Catholic I find it dishonest really.

  32. JPK says:

    Since we in the mood of ecumenical commemorations, why don’t we celebrate the Holy Roman Empire’s victory over Protestant forces at White Mountain in 1620?

  33. For me, this 500th year concerning Luther is the devil’s way of distracting us from the 100th year of Our Blessed Lady at Fatima. So, I will ignore the Luther thing and concentrate on the Centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima, and on her important messages to the world. Pray the Rosary!

  34. Unwilling says:

    Father, not only in this post (and your replies to comments) are you getting it right. For the past few months I have been sensing a revival of your primordial Catholic intuitions in spiritual profundity.

    [What an odd way to put it, but… thanks… I think.]

  35. Debra_C says:

    Not only do I not get it, it leaves me wondering if half the Church simply no longer believes. There was a *reason* I spent a year in RCIA learning, preparing, and praying. Luther was wrong about practically everything.

  36. ajf1984 says:

    Here’s another thought, inspired by this post and these comments: borrowing a bit (shamelessly) from Lk 18:8–“When the Son of Man Martin Luther returns, will he find faith on Earth recognize the Lutheran church?” That is to say, I am in firm agreement with Father’s points about the odious nature of Dr. Luther’s opinions on a great many things, but by and large, today’s Lutheran is about as far away from Luther as the east is from the west…

  37. Vincent. says:

    Back in Advent 2015 the pastor of a local parish published the following on the parish’s website as his “Pastor’s weekly message”:

    “Martin Luther began the Protestant reformation of the Church because he was studying the Bible and realized how far his church had strayed especially from the teachings of St. Paul. The Second Vatican Council, when it revised the Mass, realized that Martin Luther was correct. That God’s Holy Word was equal to the sacrament of the Body and Blood of Jesus as a way that God is present to us. So, as the bishops revised the Mass, they wanted to make God’s Word as important as the Eucharist. That is why, in many church buildings, the lectern (ambo) from which God’s Word is read and the altar at which the sacrifice is celebrated are placed equally in the sanctuary. ”

    I had attended that parish twice before and left dissatisfied since in one homily he praised the 5 precepts of Buddhism and in another praised the preaching style of “black Baptist preachers” and put down traditional forms of Catholic prayer and preaching. I had decided this parish was not a good fit for my family to leave it alone and not return. (Not to mention the tabernacle being an a “Eucharistic Chapel” just off of the entrance way, which made it difficult to spend some time in quiet preparation or thanksgiving before and after mass due to the noise.)

    After reading what he had to say about Luther, I decided that was enough and wrote him a long, respectful letter letting him know why I having recently moved to the area I decided that I could not bring my family to his parish. I laid out a whole case which included quotes from Luther, challenged his understanding of the Second Vatican Council and asking this pastor why not highlight true Catholic reformers, among other things. I attempted to refute his “Pastor’s weekly message” point by point. In closing my letter I asked him “If these religions are so great, why be Catholic, why take the Catholic Church and the challenge of her teaching seriously?” and invited him to contact me to discuss further. I never received a response from this pastor.

    I did send a copy of this letter to my bishop, along with another letter addressed to him (my bishop) regarding a problem with another parish (At that second parish I was told to go elsewhere for confession since I asked for a screen, which they don’t have, and told the sister in charge of the parish she didn’t seem too welcoming especially in the Year of Mercy, when she gave me push-back about my request.) The bishop respond to me in writing, but wrote regarding my letter to the pastor at the first parish that he didn’t need to address it since I took care of it myself… ¯_(?)_/¯

  38. Sonshine135 says:

    This is yet another example of the heresies of Indifferentism and Unitarianism. Talk to 1 out of 2 people who profess to be Catholic and ask them why Catholicism is any better than any other Christian religion, and they will respond something like this:

    “It’s not….We all believe in the same God….Their views are as valid as ours…They are nice people, and I am nice, so…yeah, we are all good and going to heaven, along with the Jews….since Vatican II.”

    So therein lies your answer. The modernists have redefined Catholicism to very base elements like niceness and forgiveness, while they have forgotten everything else that makes Holy Mother Church what she is. For example, being nice, doesn’t make one a Christian, but receiving the Sacrament of Baptism does. Being forgiven by God is great, but that also has to occur in the Confessional with our God as well as with our Brothers and Sisters whom we have offended. All the while, they forget that Muslims and even Atheists can be loving, forgiving, and ethical. It simply doesn’t make one Christian.

  39. JerseyGirl says:

    The pews were half filled with mostly women, both Lutherans and Catholics. The ex Catholic Lutheran minister came out of the sacristy and sat in the celebrant’s chair. She gave a glowing speech about Luther. It was all I could do to listen politely for 45 minutes. I spent most of the time staring at the crucifix. When it was opened to questions a parishioner stood up and said how thrilling it was for her to finally see a woman at the altar. Her comment was met with wild applause. If I had any doubts before I went to this commemoration sponsored by the local ecumenical group of mostly former Catholics, they were dispelled by the satisfied smirk on the Lutheran minister’s face.

  40. PTK_70 says:

    I think Lazylyn identified the key distinction: between acknowledging/commemorating on the one hand, and celebrating on the other. I just don’t see the harm in acknowledging or even commemorating Luther……Lutheranism is dead. Mainline Protestantism is dead. Does anyone seriously think that mainline Protestantism is a force to be reckoned with in today’s world? Does anyone seriously think that mainline Protestantism will rise from the ashes to once more challenge the Holy Catholic Church? Nowadays, the relative few who are left in their pews deserve our pity and outreach. We could use them in our pews, after all! Any residual disdain – the fruit of yesteryear’s acrimony – should, by the grace of God, be allowed to disappear.

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