He certainly considered the papacy to exemplify the antichrist. As far as Holy Orders, he still believed that pastors should be ordained, and so do traditional Lutherans to this day. He retained two of the sacraments, and believed that, though the Eucharist was not a “sacrifice” that only an ordained person should preside over a valid celebration.
For us, certainly, but his concept was that the church was still catholic even with the changes he felt should be made. He believed there should only be one Church, and that what he perceived as abuses, once removed, the Church Catholic would be more pure.
That is my point. He did not choose to leave. From his point of view, the authorities had drifted from the true gospel (left the church). This is why he threw the Bull of excommunication into the fire. From his point of view, it had no validity, since the person who wrote it left the faith, and became the antichrist.
The Orthodox take the same perspective. They believe the Roman Catholic Church left the faith by adding innovations, such as the filoque.
I was not suggesting that they should. I am saying that, from Luther’s point of view, the pope, cardinals, and bishops had already done this. They abandoned the true gospel and replaced it with heresies.
Unfortunately I think a lot of people do dispute this. There is a serious myopic view that all the blame falls upon the Reformers, and many do not look to see what it was they felt needed reform.
As do I my brother!