Martin Luther

Could God have allowed Martin Luther’s scandal be a catalyst for change in the Catholic Church? It seems to me that any clergy, not matter how high, that condones or even ordered, as in this case, the death penalty for Lutherans, would seem to be seriously theologically and morally wrong. This contradicts teachings today. Even Jesus condemned retaliation, even to those that teach about Him yet are not part of the His disciples.

Patience is a virtue. So is charity.

Yeah, it’s possible.

Bringing good out of evil is God’s job description.


The important thing to remember still is that the Catholic Church is the Church of Jesus Christ Himself. The lutheran church is the church of martin luther.

Right, but one correction.

The Lutheran Church is the church of the followers of Martin Luther. Luther did not intend to create a new church. He just ended up following his followers. That’s my assessment from what I know so far. The book is not closed on this opinion yet. I’m researching his story a little deeper.

Catholics on this blog can’t resist taking potshots at Lutherans, the head of the Lutheran Church is Christ. At the time of Martin Luther, the Catholic Church/Western Church was broken. The Church needed to be reformed, but Rome would not listen, up to Luther, they burned earlier reformers. Some of the Catholics on this blog should contact Pope Benedict and get some input on Luther from him. Remember as it has been said of Tetzel " As soon as a coin in the coffer rings / the soul from purgatory springs."

Just as the pope is the human face of the Catholic Church, Luther is the face of the reformation. People need an officer to focus on.

It’s too bad Lutherans no longer have an officer.

Well, this was the point of my thoughts posted here. Persoanally, I see Martin Luther as a victim more than as a heretic. He wasn’t the only one guilty of heresy. Many of the leaders wearing the collar were just as guilty from my resources. However, there is one truth, not multiple truths. I believe many from Rome exagerated the importance of things that were and are not Church teaching. In fact, they tipped their hat to going ahead with killing anyone that was a heretic, whether in good conscience or not. The point is that I know it was the culture of the time, but it still went against Christ example. Christ gave the authority to the Church, not individuals. But the conglomerate of the Church is, from my understanding of history, abused that authority for selfish gain, even if it was simply self-preservation. There is not difference between a leader of a country giving the okay to takes someone’s head off or slamming the axe themselves. Therefore, Church leaders that promoted that are guilty of some pretty bad things from my understanding.

Okay, now Lutheran’s, if Christ is the leader, should go by a different name that Luther as the founder. That is why Catholics accuse Lutheran’s to as they do…in part. There is only ONE TRUE CHURCH, not multiple ones, which implies multiple truths. And since the Catholic Church’s leaders are in charge, Luther had no right to superimpose his authority over that of the Church’s. But, I suspect that God intended to use Martin Luther to force the had of the Church into reform. The consequences of the Church not reforming would have reaped far worse consequences in my opinion. But, I’m no authority as we all know.

I’m merely trying to be impartial to the situation in order to rake over the multiple ecclesial communities out there. All Christians should go back to Rome, so to speak, in order to start from there to work out differences. No one should break off from anyone. That should have been implied if not out right stated in scripture, which I believe it to be the case.

As Oprah said (about her fame and fortune): these things happen to you, not because of you.


The difference between Luther and me, as well as many of us reverted Catholics, is that we had a real chance to learn the when, where, why, how, from our mistakes and resources to help us. Luther, like many priests of recent years, did have these resources, particularly from charitable sources. They were expected to follow blindly, even in the midst of heresy.

I think Lutherans were labelled by Catholics. You know, like Calvinists, Arians, Nestorians, Muhammedans, Pelegians, etc., etc.

There are plenty of Lutherans on this board that disown plenty (if not most of what Luther) may have said.

Plenty of Catholics disown what many popes have said. The difference? The blessing of infallibility!

I believe that is true. The problem with infalibility, if there is any at all, is that it is simply not understood by the masses. It is only when the papacy, in conjunction with the bishops, declare teachings on the matters of faith and morals. But we also believe that he has final authority as the Vicar of Christ. Someone has to be the mob boss. Beyond that, his guess as to whether the Dallas Cowboys or the Ranger will win is just a good of guess as mine. :smiley:

Well now, I think you touched upon something here.

There was never intended to be a Lutheran ‘church’. It was a reform within the Roman Catholic church. There was, of course, a Lutheran party, or faction of Roman Catholics before anyone was excommunicated. No one intended to form a new church, they had hoped (originally) to reform the old church (for which they received monumental hostility and opposition from over the mountains). This would not have been the first reform the Roman Catholic church ever underwent, besides some less well known movements there was a major one called the Gregorian reform led by monastics 500 years earlier.

In fact, there was a colossal failed reform attempt just before Luther burst upon the scene, and it fizzled out in the (usually overlooked) Council of Lateran V, because corrupt churchmen opposed any attempts to change the system, then proceeded to elect one of the most corrupt Popes that could be found in that day and age.

One can argue whether Father Martin was an heretic in his later years (Lutherans certainly would not think so), people often are driven to extreme arguments under stress and duress (one can see that in heated threads on internet forums), and I think the Lutheran faction of Roman Catholics and the Papacy swung away from one another by degrees, leaving no possibility of holding a broader consensus or middle ground. But we can see that there has been a recent joint statement on Justification, which implies that the RC and the Lutheran faction of Roman Catholics (of those days) were not so far apart as we may have been led to believe by all the old rhetoric after all.

Had things turned out differently we might have seen a Roman Catholic religious order called Lutheran, just as we today have ‘Dominican", Franciscan’, Augustinian’ etc. named after their founders or inspirers.

Luther’s choice of a name would have been the Churches of the Augsburg Confession. But in deference to Catholics who would be typing all that just to stick a pin in us five centuries later, he announced ex cathedra that we would henceforth be known as Lutherans. After all, we would not want to be the reason for Catholics suffering from writer’s cramps.


In truth, the Pope himself declared that those who followed Luther would be known as “Lutherans.”

From the Papal Bull Decet Romanum Pontificem:

. . .Martin himself—and it gives us grievous sorrow and perplexity to say this—the slave of a depraved mind, has scorned to revoke his errors within the prescribed interval and to send us word of such revocation, or to come to us himself; nay, like a stone of stumbling, he has feared not to write and preach worse things than before against us and this Holy See and the Catholic faith, and to lead others on to do the same.

He has now been declared a heretic; and so also others, whatever their authority and rank, who have cared nought of their own salvation but publicly and in all men’s eyes become followers of Martin’s pernicious and heretical sect, and given him openly and publicly their help, counsel and favour, encouraging him in their midst in his disobedience and obstinacy, or hindering the publication of our said missive: such men have incurred the punishments set out in that missive, and are to be treated rightfully as heretics and avoided by all faithful Christians, as the Apostle says (Titus iii. 10-11).

III. Our purpose is that such men should rightfully be ranked with Martin and other accursed heretics and excommunicates, and that even as they have ranged themselves with the obstinacy in sinning of the said Martin, they shall likewise share his punishments and his name, by bearing with them everywhere the title “Lutheran” and the punishments it incurs.

Nowadays, however, we Lutherans don’t fear that we incur any punishments for being Lutheran.

As far as continuing to use the name “Lutheran,” I imagine it was a case of people turning what was intended to be a slur into a badge of honor.

Sort of like, “*Roman *Catholic”. :wink:


The Church and it’s teaching are perfect and infaliable and have always been. If Catholics don’t adhere to what Catholicism teaches, they are only catholic by a false pretense no matter how high up they are, they are seperate from the Church. It doesn’t “contradict teachings today” it has contradicted teachings that were always there.

A breakaway group formed and denied God’s Church more for their own evil than for theological good (research any of the older heads of protestantism) and has trapped millions of people over the years in a multitude of heresies. It was entirely the work of satan.

My family hasn’t exactly enjoyed being second class citizens, being denied work, starved because of greed and hatred and in fear of being caught in another mass genocide for not renouncing their Catholicism. It is true that God does turn evil things to his advantage, that would apply more to all of the suffering that protestism has caused to people and the graces that they have gained by remaining faithful, than for people to see how evil their current leaders were, we have the words of life and our own consciences for that.

Have you not heard “two wrongs don’t make a right”? God can make good come out of any evil, but that is His will above the offenders. It’s a testament to Him, but would still be better if it had never happened.

Regardless of whether the Church needed to be reformed or not (it did), the theological novelties of Martin Luther had no basis in the historical Church. And if the Lutherans on here think that Pope Benedict XVI somehow supports Martin Luther in toto, then they are seriously mistaken. The Pope knows that when Christ prayed for unity he meant it. He also knows that the logical consequence of Protestantism is atheism for society. If Luther was indeed restoring the true Gospel in Germany, then it would not be a country that is abandoning its Christian heritage.

i think once the Bible was able to read and owned by many people, a reformation of some kind would have happened sooner or later anyway, whether it was Martin Luther or someone else. i am not saying that the Bible should not have been printed in different languages and for the common people to read, but it was a temptation for some to want to interpret the Holy Scripture their own way and not want to conform to what the Catholic Church taught. it is sad to see now how many different Christian churches their are now.
i wish we were all united under one Church.

First, I don’t think anyone here has said, or in fact believes, that Pope Benedict supports Luther “in toto”. What has been said is that he has a strong understanding of Luther and Lutheranism, and a much more positive opinion of him and us than some Catholics here and elsewhere who bash him unmercifully.

The Pope knows that when Christ prayed for unity he meant it. He also knows that the logical consequence of Protestantism is atheism for society. If Luther was indeed restoring the true Gospel in Germany, then it would not be a country that is abandoning its Christian heritage.

The logical consequence of protestantism is atheism? Sorry, the logic escapes me.
Regarding Germany, even today it is still majority Catholic. And the exact same problem you site regarding Germany is a problem in other historically Catholic countries as well.
As I said, the logic escapes me. :shrug:


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