Book: The Facts About Luther


#1

I’m a Catholic. Obviously, I think Luther was wrong. Relevant Radio had a discussion with somebody regarding this book recently (TAN Books, Msgr. Patrick O’Hare).

So I asked and got it for Christmas. It was written in 1916 and DEFINATELY is not done in a tone of ecumenism. The author doesn’t mince words or spare the feelings of anybody with a soft spot for him.

But he does seem to do a pretty good job of citing his sources, and uses primary sources for the most part (I’m only about 15% through it so far).

So far, I’m SHOCKED. I’d always assumed Luther was a well intentioned guy with genuinely sincere faith who went off the rails as an over-reaction to actual corruption and abuses he observed in the church of his day. But so far, I see a proud, two-faced, obstinate sufferer of scrupulosity who refused to take his superiors advice for dealing with his problem (scrupulosity) and instead abused and berated anyone who tried to explain things to him. He appears to have given credence to any ecclesial horror story told to him and calculatedly used the greed and power-lust of the local ‘nobility’ to avoid suffering consequences from the church. This is nothing like I expected to learn!

Obviously, any protestant folks here are going to say this author must be a partisan catholic hack (since Luther is revered as much as a protestant can revere and dead human), but I’m curious to hear the opinions of any catholics who have read this book or have some scholarly knowledge of the period.

P.S. TAN threw in another book on the origins of the reformation by Hillaire Belloc, but I haven’t touched it yet.


#2

For a response to O’Hare’s book by a knowledgeable Lutheran, take a look at these cites:

beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2006/04/defending-ohares-facts-about-luther.html

beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2006/04/defending-ohares-facts-about-luther_29.html


#3

James Swan really despises that book.


#4

Yeah, he does, doesn’t he? Still, it seems that Swan has made some points that O’Hare’s sources are questionable at times. Personally, I don’t know enough about Luther to know one way or the other, but Swan’s comments at the links shown above are certainly fascinating reading.


#5

Yes. Swan makes some valid points, yet he has his own bias–as we all do.


#6

Hmm, a well known critic of catholicism. Interesting, but not exactly surprising.

Any critiques from catholic sources? Or secular ones?

The book surely is written with an invective not commonly seen in today’s culture (but one St. Jerome would have identified quite well with!). But 1916 was a different world, and I think I can forgive that a bit. It’s also clearly meant to be a popular book, not a historical text as I HAVE noticed that not every quote is footnoted and it is often easy to miss the difference between quotes of Luther and the authors summary/opinion of what Luther said.

P.S. Is it just me, or does anybody else get highly turned off when authors like Swan (Karl Keating does it too in Cath & Fund) use [sic] constantly in their quotes to highlight typos and mispellings? I know it is academically acceptable, but to do it constantly seems childish (haha! You can’t spell/type).


#7

I’m no expert, but this older thread at the Envoy Forums, which is mostly an argument between Art Sippo and James Swan, refers to many books and views of Luther that you could look into further.


#8

Pshew! I got as far as page 4 of the Swan/Sippo thread before it degenerated into a furball.

Gross Summarization:

Sippo: O’Hare is OK, but flawed. Better to read work by two other catholic contemporaries (I forget the names already).

Swan: Those guys’ analysis of Luther is Freudian psyhcobabble dreck! Read these protestant biographers instead! Or this one by a catholic exNazi. Or this one by a catholic who doesn’t seem to notice anything wrong with Luther’s life or work.

Sippo: My authors present impeccable sources for their troubling revelations about Luther.

Swan: Yeah, but their analysis of his psyche is questionable. Let’s stick with my authors who don’t discuss all those embarassing issues yours raises…

Swan seems a smooth debater, but Sippo never seemed to take him to task for his authors’ apparent failure to deal with the ‘less than virtuous’ aspects of Luther’s life and writings. What I got out of all that was that I better go back and get those two author’s names because Swan either wasn’t able or failed to actually attack their actual findings on Luther, just their analysis of his psyche.

Edit: Rix, Grisar and Denifle in that order. The latter two having questionable analysis, but no serious attack on basic scholarship and research.


#9

It isn’t hard to give credence to the ‘less than virtuous’ descriptions of Luther if you read him in the original german. He doesn’t mince words. He is crude and rude to those he doesn’t like. No polish. His translators definitely clean him up quite a bit.

MarysRoses


#10

I am a convert to Catholicism and during my conversion I had a Priest show me this book. I found it to be very fascinating. I remember thinking “this is the guy who started the Protestant Reformation?” How could anyone follow such a crazy man, yet millions of people have split off from the Catholic Church over the last 500 years because of this man. Forget analyzing Luther, just read his own words. The filth that dribbled from his mouth is amazing. When a person tells you that he can sin as much as he wants doing horrible things and that he can still go to heaven??? I don’t have the book, only borrowed but I wish I could wrtie some the statements Luther wrote word for word, but they probably would be censored.

The best ammunition a Catholics can use in a debate with a Protestant is Luther. His is the source/Founder of all 30,000 Protestant Denominations around the world and he was off his rocker.


#11

I haven’t read that book, but I have two CD sets by Ken Hensley called “Luther: The Rest of the Story”, and also “John Calvin: Inside the Protestant Mind”. These are both very good CD’s. Ken used to be a Baptist Minister in southern California, before he converted to the Catholic Church. He lost everything to become Catholic. Both CD’s explain how the reformation came about, and how it affected both men, and how they affected the reformation. The one on Luther is more apologetic in nature, and the one on Calvin really explains what the Protestant thinking was and still is. They are sold by St Joseph Communications.
Ken really talks about how Martin Luther’s relationship with his father affected his attitude and relationship with God, and led him to believe that he could never please God, which led to sola fide.
Each Cd set is 3 CD’s.
Neither series is too critical on these men, though it does cover sola scriptura and sola fide.


#12

manualman: P.S. Is it just me, or does anybody else get highly turned off when authors like Swan (Karl Keating does it too in Cath & Fund) use [sic] constantly in their quotes to highlight typos and mispellings? I know it is academically acceptable, but to do it constantly seems childish (haha! You can’t spell/type).

  :yup:                 :yup:                  :yup:

#13

Yes, I read about Luthers upbringing and how his father was horribly abusive, and how he was never good enough for him. He entered the Catholic seminary at 16, basically to get away from his homelife, (don’t think his mom was very good to him either). This idea that Luther had of not being good enough for his dad made him think that he wasn’t good enough for the ultimate dad, (God). So with this being the case how does one get to heaven? Luther mulled over this for years and was completely tormented by this question. He didn’t understand how works played into salvation, so he invented his own theology. This is the basis of Protestant belief. I was born and raised Baptist and was stubborn enough to admit many times I would never become Catholic. Then when I began to study theology I first started by tracing the roots of my Baptist upbring. They ultimately go back to Martin Luther as all Protestans do. Then I Studied what Luther believed and how he came to his conclusions. It wasn’t long before I converted Catholicism. Luther had major mental issues that come out in his works and statements. To not see this is to deny the obvious.


#14

Jared123: The best ammunition a Catholics can use in a debate with a Protestant is Luther. His is the source/Founder of all 30,000 Protestant Denominations around the world and he was off his rocker.

I doubt this would work for some people I know. My mom left the Roman Catholic Church because of some bad experiences and was “born again.” Whenever I watch EWTN or talk about Catholicism with her, she gets tense. She does not hold Luther to have anything to do with her personal faith as she doesn’t even accept his teachings (she considers Catholicism and Lutheranism to be “man-made”:wink: ). I had a good conversation with her recently about the experience she had at her parish and that most parishes are not like that one. I find this to work the best with her. Other people just don’t realize how connected Luther is to their (____________ denomination) Protestant faith.

Prayers and petitions,
Alexius


#15

Your probably right, the average “born again” Christian (which is a misleading term since we are not born again) probably wouldn’t connect the dots to Luther. But the one Universal Church, which is the Catholic Church was united until the early 1500’s. Then a Catholic Priest named Martin Luther decided that he would clean up the Catholic Church. This was a great idea since there was much corruption within the Church at the time. If Luther would of stopped at that he would now be revered as a Saint. But Luther took it a step farther and invented his own theology and eventually religion. It wasn’t long before others said “hey, Luther isn’t correct it’s really suspose to be like this.” Now we have 30,000 different Protestant (The name Protestant comes from the word “Protest” of which they were protesting the Catholic Church), which can all trace back to Martin Luther. I don’t know what Church or denomination your mom belongs too, but they are not in line with the Magesterium of the Catholic Church, hence they are protesting the Church just like Luther did 500+ years ago.


#16

Not exactly. The Anglican Church started because Henry VIII broke off from the Catholic Church after he was unable to get an annulment. Originally, Anglicans were similar to Catholics, only the king not the pope was the church leader. After the death of Henry VIII, when Cromwell came to power, the Anglicans became much more Protestant in nature. But Luther had nothing to do with the split that Henry VIII started.


#17

Jared: re: your study of religion. I’m very impressed. There need to be more people, generally, willing to put in the effort to learn about their religious beliefs.

I guess I’ve run across plenty of people lately who say they are “spiritual” but have a problem with saying they have religious thoughts and ideas.


#18

I guess you would be right on this. Luther is known as the Father of the Reformation because he began his break off from the Catholic Church in 1517 and was the first to do so. King Henry the VIII was in 1534. Luther may of not of had a direct hand in forming the Anglican Church but one has to wonder if King Henry VIII was embolden by Luthers actions.


#19

Jared123: Your probably right, the average “born again” Christian (which is a misleading term since we are not born again) probably wouldn’t connect the dots to Luther. But the one Universal Church, which is the Catholic Church was united until the early 1500’s. Then a Catholic Priest named Martin Luther decided that he would clean up the Catholic Church. This was a great idea since there was much corruption within the Church at the time. If Luther would of stopped at that he would now be revered as a Saint. But Luther took it a step farther and invented his own theology and eventually religion. It wasn’t long before others said “hey, Luther isn’t correct it’s really suspose to be like this.” Now we have 30,000 different Protestant (The name Protestant comes from the word “Protest” of which they were protesting the Catholic Church), which can all trace back to Martin Luther. I don’t know what Church or denomination your mom belongs too, but they are not in line with the Magesterium of the Catholic Church, hence they are protesting the Church just like Luther did 500+ years ago.

Currently, neither one of my parents belong to a church. They attend a Presbyterean church, but neither one would claim to be Presbyterean (esp. because of the Calvinistic view of predestination). They both realize the “Reformation” began with Luther, but I think they see no where else to go. They won’t go to a Catholic Mass because of what I said before and they won’t become Orthodox because of the liturgy. My dad attends the Divine Liturgy with me sometimes, but he’s not fond of the worship :frowning: (surprisingly enough, I convinced him that icons are not idols with little trouble and he even bought me my first one!) I try to exolain that the liturgy is not made to make people “comfortable,” but rather to properly glorify God:) …I continue to try:thumbsup: .

Prayers and petitions,
Alexius:cool:


#20

I don’t think so, because England did not allow Tyndale’s version of the Bible to be published. Tyndale was a Lutheran. Although, later on, the KJV pretty much kept most of Tyndale’s translation, but this was after Henry VIII was dead and the Anglican Church was distinctly more Protestant in nature.


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