Luther no longer a Heretic?


Is the Church going to “lift” the excomm. of Luther or his status as a heretic? James White will have a field day if this is so!!!


Doubtful. Why? What makes you ask, anyway?



I forget the source, but I read recently that some media outlet made a big deal of an informal gathering Benedict XVI is having with his former students. Apparently the topic will be Luther. The media outlet ran a headline akin to “Pope to reconsider Martin Luther.”

First, the media love to sensationalize anything the Pope does.

Second, an informal academic style chat is hardly a theological critique, nor is it discussion of the orthodoxy of perhaps the most well-known heretic.


Realize: of his 95 theses, the Church has embraced almost all of them. (92, IIRC)

His excommunication was for leaving the church, and his later heretical statements (and rejection of the canon of the bible).

While God may forgive him, his Anathema is based in the anathemas of the early Councils.


Realize: of his 95 theses, the Church has embraced almost all of them. (92, IIRC)

Which three are rejected?


Yeah, I’d like to read about this.


I’d have to check, and don’t have references to hand.

A man can be both a heretic and have valid complaints that lead the church to reform. Luther’s disobedience was profound, but his insights into the church’s problems were quite valuable. (In short: Right message, wrong mode of delivery).

Luther had many good things amidst his writings. That he went on to embrace other heresies… not so good.

#8 is an english translation.

There are some which are true, but have errors in the parentheticals.

Ex: 26 claims in a parenthetical that the pope lacks the power of the keys. (This was and is a heretical view, even to the Orthodox who hold that all the bishops have the power of the keys.)

76 is still not accepted:
76. We say, on the contrary, that the papal pardons are not able to remove the very least of venial sins, so far as its guilt is concerned.

5 is downright wrong:
5. The pope does not intend to remit, and cannot remit any penalties other than those which he has imposed either by his own authority or by that of the Canons.
The Pope, as heir to Peter, can bind and loose; What he holds bound on Earth is held bound in heaven, and what he holds loosed on earth is loosed in heaven… so this limitation to the canons and his own restrictions can not be logically true.

But, since I don’t read German, I can not verify from this translation… But it is in accord with several others.

Luther rails against indulgences. (I’d forgotten that the 95 were specifically about indulgences. He also called for several other reforms, including married priests, most of which the church later (sometimes V I, sometimes VII, a few at earlier councils) adopted. I suspect the Luther of the writing would be proud of the reforms, but not the time taken to get there; the later protestant Luther, changed by his own rejection of the church, might not be.




Check it out… I found an 1984 interview with cardinal Ratzinger (currently Pope), and in this interview, he gives his thoughts about Luther and his theology, speaking even on his excommunication Anyway, read it for yourself. It’s long.

To sum it up, Ratzinger says that Luther’s excommunication ended with his death.


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