I think people do this when they don’t understand something, or have been erroneously told certain things and don’t bother to check it out for themselves. I know all Lutherans are not anti-Catholic, I have some very close Lutheran friends. My dear friend married a Lutheran man, and while they were dating, he occasionally came up with an anti-Catholic remark, but soon that stopped, as she was very patient and loving with him. She did not insist on his conversion to the Catholic Church, but did ask him to be a faithful Christian and to attend his church every Sunday. Now, 15 years later, he is still Lutheran, but not anti-Catholic, and they have a strong spiritual life, and he is not adverse to attending Catholic Bible studies and such things. In fact most of our friends are from Cursillo, and now most of his friends are Catholic. It was patience and love, education and a good Christian witness that overcame the anti-Catholicism. I think that is the key to overcoming predjudicial attitudes.
Some Lutherans take the words of the Augsburg Confession to mean that the Catholic Church is still in the same position it was in during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. This is an unfortunate and misguided concept and leads to division in the church catholic, as you rightly decry. It demeans anyone to define themselves as not being someone else. Or, as a Catholic friend of mine put it, “Just because we disagree doesn’t mean either one of us is right.” BTW, these Lutherans don’t think highly of other Lutherans, either. Being one of those “other” Lutherans, I would say you are in good company.
Some of our Christian brother and sisters of all stripes prefer, or at least revel in keeping old wounds open and old battles raging. As oldtimer said, some Lutherans and some Catholics view the other as they were in the 1600’s.
There is also the issue of what is an attack or “anti”, and what is simply disagreement.
For example, I could take it as anti-Lutheran when Catholics say that Lutherans do not have the Eucharist - the true body and blood. I don’t, but some might. Sometimes it depends on the way things are written or said, sometimes the level of sensitivity of the reader, and sometimes some people are just downright ugly and hateful.
To the extent that certain Lutherans by their words caused you pain, I regret that and am sorry for it. That is not how Christ wants us to treat each other. To the extent that there words reflect Lutheranism and Lutherans in a negative light, I am angered and dismayed.
It is not the way I was raised to be.
Here is what the Small Catechism tells us to do. Lutherans who don’t are not being good Lutherans.
The Eighth Commandment.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
What does this mean?–Answer.
We should fear and love God that we may not deceitfully belie, betray, slander, or defame our neighbor, but defend him, [think and] speak well of him, and put the best construction on everything.
I go along with what Jon said, but I think I can add a bit from my perspective.
There was (an is) a strain of Lutheranism which strongly identifies itself with what it isn’t, i.e., Roman Catholic. When I was going through confirmation class – fifty-odd years ago – our pastor made certain that we understood that the Catholic Church was absolutely wrong in its practices. He had nothing good to say about it.
That attitude permeated my thinking for many years until our oldest child was about to enter kindergarten. She had attended preschool at our Lutheran church where many of her classmates were from a nearby Catholic parish. My wife, after checking out the local public kindergarten and getting some iffy reports, approached me asking if I would consider sending our daughter to the local parochial school. After I lifted my jaw up from the floor and considered my wife’s desire to have our daughter schooled in a Christian environment, I hesitantly agreed.
Subsequently, all three of our children received at least part of their education in Catholic schools – although all three also graduated from a Lutheran college. Over those years, I began to read extensively about Catholicism and, when I responded to the call to enter the ministry, I took a number of my seminary courses in Catholic institutions by choice. I remain a Lutheran, but one who does not view the Catholic Church as an adversary and one who prays for the day when our traditions will be reunited.
Does it mean to disagree? If so, then The Catholic Church disagrees with Lutheranism on the exact same points and to the exact same degree as Lutheranism disagrees with The Catholic Church - and we are equally “anti.”
Does it mean to have emotional disapproval? Then, we might want to compare the excommunication of Luther by Pope Leo with the non return of that favor (lol), the anathemas of Trent with those of the Lutheran Confessions, etc. AT BEST, it’s a wash. But it’s probably worse from the Catholic perspective. Yes, we can recall The Hundred Years War, etc. But those were pretty two-sided, as my faint recall of European history remembers…
Here’s MY personal opinion of The Catholic Church. Please read it. IF you will and do say MORE positive, affirming things about The Lutheran Church, then I’ll resign to being more “anti” than you. IF you will and do say LESS positive, affirming things about The Lutheran Church, then… I regard The Catholic Church to be a valid and good Christian institution that I hold in very high esteem. I regard her ministers, ministries and Sacraments as all valid. I regard nothing it officially teaches to be “heresy” in the sense of being contrary to Scripture or Tradition. I regard all believers in her as my full, unseparated and in every sense equal brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray daily for God’s rich blessings upon her, her ministries and her Holy Father." Your turn.
Now, I think there are vast misunderstandings among us. Misconceptions get perpetuated because each “side” is only listening to itself, assuming self knows about the other better than the other does. Things just get perpetuated, unexamined, often for generations. People copy and paste something from some website, assume it’s true if it comes from their “side” and never bother to examine it. I’ve been active on ecumenical, interdenominational websites since I was 10 years old (this is the first time I’ve never been active on a “one perspective” site) and it seems we will be addressing these misconceptions until Jesus comes back. “Catholics worship Mary.” “Sola Scriptura means individual interpretation.” Oh, there are MANY strawmen, MANY misconceptions. Some treasure (and need) them, and thus nothing will change it.
Now, I DO have my disagreements with The Catholic Church (or else I would not have left it). These are mostly in the areas of ecclesiology and epistemology (and related issue) but I probably agree with 95% of the 2,875 points in the Catechism (which I very, very carefully studied with Catholic teachers for 5 years). And I don’t exactly disagree with most of the remaining 5% (I just don’t agree). In view of CCC 87, etc., it was MY conclusion that honesty, integrity and sincerity required that I leave. But I have no regrets. I was richly, richly blessed by my years in Catholicism. I simply agree with the views and “heart” of Lutheranism more. My strong sense of the communion of saints, of community, of humility and accountability, my embrace of The Theology of the Cross rather than The Theology of Glory, make me a FAR better Lutheran than I was Catholic. But, again, no regrets. I have MANY Catholic friends, including my best (guy, lol) friend who now lives in Spain. Last time I traveled there, we often attended Mass and I LOVED worshipping with him and his family in beautiful Catholic churches amide my full, unseparated, equal brothers and sisters.
I think that overall, Lutherans and Catholics get along very well. There are some Lutherans that have not kept up with these things and still base a lot of prejudices on things that are no longer true…OR were never really explained to them very well to begin with. In my own life I experience far more anti-protestantism. But, I am surrounded by Catholics many of whom don’t realize I’m not Catholic because I know the liturgy so well (It’s 98% identical to the one I hear in my own ELCA Church on Sundays) So I get to hear what some Catholics have to say when they think there are no protestants around:eek: But they are in the minority and I have to admit I do make the occasional biting remark in response to some of the things that are said from time to time. And, once or twice when something was said I thought was purposely hurtful I’ve pulled out all the stops and used a Catholic slur or two. I’ve always apologized sincerely when it’s happened. I’ve not always been extended that courtesy either.
I think it is all related to what you were brought up learning, or what you hear from your friends.
For example, my Southern Baptist friend thinks Catholics go to hell, so for awhile I assumed thats something her Church taught, but now I know its not.
There are alot of old wounds in some Lutheran and Catholic (countries) communities, dare I say families, that only time can heal. I believe the anti-sentiments that are felt on both sides come from misunderstandings of what is believed and what gets expressed from leaders and commentaries, including reading materials, that carry anti-catholic sentiments, but this is not limited to Lutherans only it comes from across the board.
I was humbled very early on by my Catholic priests, who revealed to me to just speak the Truth, anything else comes from the devil. Jesus taught us, “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you”, we are not immuned from such anti-Catholic sentiments anywhere. When Truth is spoken or is giving witness, He will always come under attack.
The Catholic Saints have given a life testimony example of this; “count it all blessings” when they persecute you, and who gave of their sacrificial lives for love of their enemies. Yeah I know; easier said than done? I pray that our seperated brethern refrain from misinformed or grossly misunderstood attacks against the Pope and Catholicism, but if it is “Truth” then let it thunder.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, 9 for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me.
10 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
My daughter’s father-in-law is a Lutheran pastor and is a nice person. He can talk about our different beliefs without showing any disrepect. I never said that all Lutherans were this way, but I think I was surprised to find a forum that always seems to attack the Church. I know many Catholics and have never heard them say unkind things about other denominations. Of course I am sure that there are some. When I say unkind, I am speaking of calling either the Pope, Bishops, priests or the Church the anti Christ, or everything liturgically is papist.
What you said is very true, on this forum they have made unkind remarks about other Lutheran synods or leaders who have joined with other Christians in an ecumenical service to honor, I believe it was the people who died on 9/ll. Even my friend who is Lutheran was outraged when some Lutherans attacked a fellow pastor for participating for in the service.
I imagine this group are outside of the norm of Lutherans.
I think it is vital to keep the corect perspective on things. You are on a Catholic website, a website that is here to provide Catholic answers to those seeking to know more about the Church. It would be highly unussual if you DIDN’t get the Catholic perspective on things. Does this mean that were are anti-protestant, I don’t think so.
I can claim with 100% certainty that in my 20 years as a protestant I never had one Catholic approach me and claim I was going to hell for being a member of a protestant denominiation. I can not say the same thing reagrding protestants now that I am a Catholic.