On January 18, 2008, as part of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Benedict XVI received an ecumenical delegation of Lutherans from Finland. He praised “the joint prayer of Lutherans and Catholics” as a “humble but faithful sharing in the prayer of Jesus.” Such prayer, indeed, he said, “is the royal door of ecumenism.” (VIS, January 18, 2008).
I had the honor of being the first to sign a manifesto published by the principal newspapers of Brazil and reproduced in nations where the then-11 TFPs existed. It was titled: “The Vatican Policy of Détente with Communist Governments. For the TFP: To Do Nothing? Or to Resist?” (Folha de S. Paulo, April 4, 1974) (Full text here)
He also stimulated continuing efforts of dialogue regarding the question of justification. In fact it was then Cardinal Ratzinger who penned the Augsburg Accord – signed in October 1999 between Catholics and Protestants – which practically gave up the doctrine of justification infallibly defined by the Council of Trent.
In view of the continuing Protestantization of the Conciliar Church, TIA thought it opportune to reprint two articles of Prof. Plinio (December 27, 1983; January 10, 1984), he wrote resisting John Paul II's visit to the Lutheran temple in Rome, on December 11, 1983. In them Prof. Plinio exposes the hate-filled spirit of the Protestant heresiarch.
In it these organizations declared their respectful disagreement with the Ostpolitik directed by Paul VI, giving a detailed explanation for that opposition. Let me note in passing that everything was presented in so orthodox a way that no one raised any objection.
Summarizing in several lines their veneration of the Papacy and at the same time, their firm resistance to the Vatican Ostpolitik, the TFPs said to the Pontiff: “Our soul is yours, our life is yours. Order us to do whatever you desire. Only do not order us to do nothing in face of the attacking red wolf. To this, our conscience is opposed.”
I recalled this phrase with a special sadness when I read the letter written by John Paul II to Cardinal Willebrands on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s birth, and signed last October 31, the date of the first act of rebellion of the heresiarch in the church of Wittenberg Castle. This letter is written with such benevolence and amenity that I asked myself whether the eminent sender had forgotten the terrible blasphemies which that apostate friar had launched against God, His Son Jesus Christ, the Blessed Sacrament, the Virgin Mary and the Papacy itself.
JPII preaching at the Protestant temple in Rome on December 11, 1983
L'Osservatore Romano, December 12-13, 1983
Certainly he is not unaware of them, since they are recorded in any serious book on Luther readily available to Catholics today.
I have two such books in mind. One is Brazilian, Church, Reform and Civilization by the scholarly Jesuit Fr. Leonel Franca. Over this great book and its author, an official ecclesiastical silence has allowed the dust of oblivion to fall.
The other is by one of the best known French historians of the 20th century, Funck-Brentano, a member of the French Institute, and outside suspicion since he was a Protestant.
I begin by quoting some chosen excerpts of Funck-Brentano’s book: Luther (Paris: Grasset, 1943). Let us go straight to this unspeakable blasphemy of Luther, who says:
“Christ committed adultery for the first time with the woman at the fountain, of whom John speaks. Didn’t people murmur: ‘What did He do with her?’ Then, with Magdalene, and next, with the adulterous woman whom He so flippantly absolved. Therefore Christ, so pious, also had to fornicate before he died” (Propos de table [Table Talk], n. 1472, Weimar edition, 2.107, apud ibid., p. 235).
After reading that, it does not surprise us that Luther thought the following, as Funck-Brentano observes:
“Certainly God is grand and powerful, good and merciful … but he is also stupid – God is most stupid [Deus est stultissimus] (Ibid., n. 963, Weimar edition, I. 487). God is a tyrant. Moses acted, moved by His will, as His delegate, an executioner [of God] whom no one has surpassed or even equaled in frightening, terrifying and martyrizing the poor world” (ibid., p. 230).
Restoration of a Statue of the Virgin
damaged by the Lutherans
This is consistent with another blasphemy that makes God the one truly responsible for the betrayal of Judas and the revolt of Adam. Funck-Brentano comments:
“Luther goes so far as to declare that when Judas betrayed Christ he acted by an imperative decision of the Almighty. His will [Judas’] was directed by God: God moved him through His omnipotence. In the earthly paradise Adam was also forced to act as he did. He was placed by God in such a situation that it was impossible for him not to fall” (ibid., p. 246).
Following the same line as these abominable statements is a pamphlet by Luther titled Against the Roman Pontificate Founded by the Devil of March 1545. In it, instead of calling the Pope Most Holy [Santissimo], as customary, he called him “Most Infernal” (Infernalissimo), and added that the Papacy was always bloodthirsty (ibid., pp. 337-338).
It is not surprising that moved by such ideas, Luther wrote these words to Melanchton regarding the bloody persecutions of Henry VIII against the Catholics in England:
“It is licit to become furious when one knows what kind of traitors, thieves and murderers the Popes, Cardinals and Pontifical Legates are. I long for God to allow other Kings of England to endeavor to get rid of them” (ibid., p. 254).
Catholic Queen Mary Stuart being beheaded on the order of Protestant Elizabeth of England, daughter of Henry VIII
This is why he also exclaimed: “Enough of words! It’s time for the iron and the fire!” He added:
“Since we punish thieves by the sword, why shouldn’t we catch the Pope, Cardinals and the whole Roman Sodom and wash our hands in their blood?” (ibid, p. 104)
Luther maintained this hatred to the end of his life. Indeed, Brentano affirms:
“His last public sermon in Wittenberg was on January 17, 1546. It was his final cry of malediction against the Papacy, the sacrifice of the Mass and the cult of the Virgin” (ibid, p. 340).
It is not surprising that great persecutors of the Church have commemorated Luther’s memory. Funck-Brentano notes:
“In Germany Hitler proclaimed October 31, 1517 a national feast to commemorate the day when the revolted Augustinian friar hung his famous 95 thesis against the supremacy of the Pope and pontifical doctrines on the doors of the church of Wittenberg Castle” (ibid., p. 272).
Despite the official Atheism professed by the Communist regime, Dr. Erich Honnecker, chairman of the Council of State and National Defense Council, the first man in the German Social Democratic Republic, headed a committee that organized ostentatious commemorations of Luther in Red Germany in 1983 (“German Comments,” from Osnabruck, West Germany, April 1983).
Benedict receiving a framed prayer of Luther from Protestant Mark Hanson
For the apostate friar, nothing would be more natural than to raise such sentiments in a Nazi leader and, more recently, in a Communist boss.
Nothing, however, is more disconcerting and astonishing than to learn what happened in a small Protestant temple in Rome on December 11  at the recent commemoration of Luther’s birth. There, [Karol Wojtyla], the Prelate whom the Conclave of 1978 elected as Pope, participated in that festive act of love and admiration for the heresiarch. The very one who has the mission to defend the holy names of God and Jesus Christ, the Holy Mass, Holy Eucharist and the Papacy against heresies and heretics!
“Appalling, shocking,” I mourned, as a true Catholic, at the same time, however, redoubling my faith and veneration for the Papacy.
In the next article I will quote from Church, Reform and Civilization by the great Fr. Leonel Franca.
Posted on January 21, 2008
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