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Martin Luther… The Man And The Myth

July 29, 2018 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM

Part 4

(Editor’s Note: As this October marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Raymond de Souza is taking a break from his usual apologetics to correct the popular image of Luther.)

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In this article, we’ll investigate Luther’s immoral principles, a natural consequence of his relativistic doctrine of sola fide.
Luther had his own peculiar subjective way to interpret the Scriptures. As a result, what he called the “gospel” was only his prejudiced interpretation, namely, Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide. In his unbridled subjectivism, he abandoned the teachings of the apostles that had been handed down through the centuries by the Catholic Church and adopted the idea has man has no free will (something very similar to the maktub! — “it is written!” — of Islam). Accordingly, man can do no good at all, and his nature was so corrupted by original sin that it is impossible to subdue his animal passions.
Luther was adamant that the moral law taught by Moses (the Ten Commandments) was not binding on Christians.
“We must remove the Decalogue out of sight and heart”. . . . “If we allow them [the Commandments] any influence in our conscience, they become the cloak of all evil, heresies, and blasphemies”. . . . ”We have no wish either to see or hear Moses.” “If Moses should attempt to intimidate you with his stupid Ten Commandments, tell him right out: chase yourself to the Jews.”
What is the consequence of throwing away the Ten Commandments? It is a license to sin, purely and simply. Here are the “prophet’s” words:
“As little as one is able to remove mountains, to fly with the birds, to create new stars, or to bite off one’s nose, so little can one escape unchastity”. . . . “They are fools who attempt to overcome temptations [of impurity] by fasting, prayer, and chastisement. For such temptations and immoral attacks are easily overcome when there are plenty of maidens and women around.”
No wonder that Heinrich Bullinger, a Swiss Protestant “reformer,” referred to Luther’s moral teachings as “muddy and swinish, vulgar and coarse.”
When Luther was living in the Wartburg, he wrote to his faithful friend Melanchthon: “I sit here in idleness and pray, alas, and sigh not for the Church of God. Much more am I consumed by the fires of my unbridled flesh. In a word, I, who should burn of the spirit, am consumed by the flesh of my lasciviousness.”
He wrote like someone who is a slave of his passions: In the Table Talks, he is recorded as saying: “I burn with a thousand flames in my unsubdued flesh: I feel myself carried on with a rage towards women that approaches madness. I, who ought to be fervent in spirit, am only fervent in impurity.”
When the German Catholic bishops recently praised Luther as a “Gospel witness and teacher of the faith,” they could not have been more wrong even if they had tried.
They described Luther as “a religious pathfinder, Gospel witness and teacher of the faith. . . .” Yes, he found the path to impurity and taught a faith absolutely contrary to authentic Christianity. He wrote that, while he was a Catholic priest, he passed his days in “austerities, in vigils, in fasts and in praying, in poverty, chastity and obedience.” Once a Protestant, he found he “can no longer forego the indulgence of the vilest natural propensities,” because “chastity and continence” are “physically impossible”. . . . “The gratification of sexual desire was nature’s work, God’s work, and, as necessary, aye, and more so, than eating, drinking, sweating, sleeping” — and so on.
“Hence, the vow or promise to restrain this natural propensity is the same as to vow or promise that one will have wings and fly and be an angel, and morally worth about as much as if one were to promise God that he would commit adultery”. . . . “Chastity is as little within our power as the working of miracles. He who resolves to remain single should give up his title of being a human being and prove that he is either an angel or a spirit.”
“As little as we can do without eating and drinking, so it is impossible to do without women”. . . . “Pecca fortiter, sed crede fortius: Be a sinner and sin on bravely, but have stronger faith and rejoice in Christ, who is the victor of sin, death and the world….Sin must be committed. To you it ought to be sufficient that you acknowledge the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world; the sin cannot tear you away from him, even though you commit adultery a hundred times a day and commit as many murders” (Enders, Briefwechsel III).
But was monogamist marriage sufficient for the “prophet” of Wittenberg? “I confess that I cannot forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict Scripture [sic!]. If a man wishes to marry more than one wife he should be asked whether he is satisfied in his conscience that he may do so in accordance with the word of God. In such a case, the civil authority has nothing to do in this matter” (De Wette, II, 459).
So, Luther favored polygamy. Notably, polygamy is common among Muslims, and Luther admired them. He wrote: “It is stated that there is no finer government in the world than that of the Turks, who have neither a spiritual nor a secular code of law, but only their Koran. And it must be acknowledged that there is no more disagreeable system of rule then ours, with our Canon Law and our Common Law, while no class any longer obeys either natural reason or the Holy Scripture” (Coppens, The Protestant Reformation, p. 29 — “The Facts About Luther,” p .88).
Now, friends, if you find the Koranic laws more appropriate for Christians than the Christian laws and Tradition, then you must ask yourself: Which spirit is guiding your biblical interpretation?
Isn’t that enough? Lutherans, friends, brethren in Baptism, come home. You’ve been deceived. Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide are unbiblical and anti-Christian. Let us forget the past and be once again united in one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism (Eph. 4:5) in the one Church of God, the Pillar and mainstay of the Truth (1 Tim. 33:15).

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(Raymond de Souza, KM, is a Knight of the Sovereign and Military Order of Malta; a delegate for International Missions for Human Life International [HLI]; and an EWTN program host. Website: www.RaymonddeSouza.com.)

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Fr. James Schall passed away today. A Jesuit priest & Georgetown professor, he served as mentor & model to a numberless many (including me). With penetrating insight & wit, he pointed us to Christ & those great Catholic minds we mustn't forget.

Fr. Schall, requiescat in pace.

Please pray for Raymond DeSousa today, who is a weekly Wanderer columnist who is undergoing serious surgery today.

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