Pope to ‘rehabilitate’ Martin Luther…

It seems, along with the unveiling of a statue to Gallileo, the Pope is due to declare that the former Augustinian priest and progenitor of one of the most successful religious revolutions in modern times. Martin Luther was not a heretic after all. The Irish Times:

Cardinal Walter Kaspar, president of the Vatican’s council for promoting Christian unity, said this week that “we have much to learn from Martin Luther, beginning with the importance he attached to the word of God”. Luther had “anticipated aspects of reform which the church has adopted over time”. Cardinal Kaspar felt this move by the pope would help ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic and Reformed/Protestant churches.

Belated H/T to Charles!

,

  • Talk about slow learners!!

  • Pete Baker

    It’s all part of his wider campaign..

    Which could be characterised as an attempt to re-assert the imperial influence of Contantine’s over-rated medieval entity.

  • jimmy

    “The Irish Times” (subs required).

    Is Nevin’s side-line sniping, negative and narrow minded tone to be echoed through out this thread I wonder? Nobody posses “truth” though most of us are in search of it I think so when a positive move forward is taken by anybody, it should be applauded by all with sincerity and humility.

  • willowfield

    Nobody posses “truth” …

    Indeed, but the RC Church claims that it does … hence your comments are somewhat ironic!

  • Turgon

    The simple fact is that Roman Catholic doctrine and theology are fundamentally different to traditional evangelical Protestant theology and doctrine.

    Of course they have similarities. Opposition to murder, doing good to the poor stuff like that are in all major religions and indeed all major sensible non religious doctrines and ethical systems.

    The point is surely that Luther and Calvin were heretics by the standards of the RC church. They opposed the authority of the pope and the traditions of the church. They placed the authority of the bible above that; and fundamentalist Protestants still do.

    We also part company from Rome on the mechanism by which people are saved: personal saving faith through Christ alone. We differ on the role of ministers / priests, we differ on the nature of the communion service.

    I am not bashing the RC church here: what I am doing is pointing out the differences. Of course I believe that I am correct but yes occasionally there are things I question and I have doubts. I am sure any honest person of any religion would say the same.

    My objection is to ecumenism: I am opposed to us shaving off all the corners so we can produce some sort of amorphous blob of generalist christianity (note with a small c). I would rather respectfully tell RCs that I differ from their analysis and be their friends despite that than chop up my religion and theirs in order to make a composite system we can all half agree on.

  • Lighten up, Jimmy. It was just a joke.

    Perhaps Pope Benedict is attempting to undo some of the damage he did to ecumenical dialogue as chief author of Dominus Iesus.

  • Until Rome returns to the Bible, true Protestants should have nothing to do with it.

  • Oilifear

    Turgon,

    “My objection is to ecumenism: I am opposed to us shaving off all the corners so we can produce some sort of amorphous blob of generalist christianity …”

    Such as the kind you noted earlier (“Opposition to murder, doing good to the poor stuff …”)? If people share things in common what’s the harm in saying that you do and working together on them (so long as it doesn’t compromise your other values)?

    Or is it that sticking to one’s own “gang”, and demonstrating how “different” your gang is to the other, is more important that spreading the “good news” that you can both agree on?

    I’m ignorant of these things, so can I ask you, is that very Christian?

  • Turgon

    On no Oilifear I have no problem at all with things like doing good together. As an example in Kenya the churches run very many of the hospitals. There is major cooperation between the Methodists, the Presbyterians and the RCs. The Presbyterian Church of East africa is however, very evangelical and fundamentalist and would be anti ecumenical.

    I also whole heartedly support join initiatives to co operate on matters of social concern here in Northern Ireland and indeed in Ireland. There is little point in SVP and the Board of Social Witness doing exactly the same things in the same areas; clearly cooperation is appropriate.

    What I respectfully dissent from is the idea of joint services (though I happily attend RC weddings and funerals); let alone trying to amalgamate the churches into one.

  • Oilifear

    “Until Rome returns to the Bible, true Protestants should have nothing to do with it.”

    Which Protestants? And should true Protestants have anything to do with other Protestants?

  • Greenflag

    ‘what I am doing is pointing out the differences.’

    How different are Evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics and let’s include Atheists

    Are they born differently ?
    Do different bacteria feast off their bodies on a daily basis ?
    Do they get sick/cancer / differently ?
    Do they enjoy sex differently ?
    Do they bleed differently?
    When they die do they decompose differently ?
    Do they have children differently ?
    Do they have different day lengths or do they all share the same 24 hours ?
    Do they learn differently ?
    Do they have different weather ?
    Do they die differently ?
    Do they get suntans differently ?

    Whether the Pope rehabilitates Martin Luther or vice versa might have mattered 500 years ago and would had there been a ‘peaceful’ Reformation probablly have saved the lives of 7 million Germans who died in the end for ‘ differences’ over papal authority and theology.

    Well I suppose it beats dying over something really important lie how many angels can fit on the point of a needle .

    Load of oul codswallop the lot of it !

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Do they enjoy sex differently ?”

    You’ve obviously never seen “Monty Python’s Meaning of Life”…

  • Paul P

    Do they enjoy sex?

  • pauljames

    “We have much to learn from Martin Luther”
    Shall we begin with “On the Jews and Their Lies”, Herr Ratzinger?

  • Oilifear

    Turgon, thanks, then another question, if you will.

    I assume that way-back-in-time your church split from Rome over some matter or another (more likely a whole raft of matters) and thus the reason why there exists two churches – the Roman one and yours that split from it – instead of just one.

    Whatever the substance of the dispute that led your church to fracture from Rome, it is absolutely ridiculous to imagine that your crew could be wrong, so let’s assume that it was Rome that got their facts muddled up all those centuries ago. Now, suppose tomorrow morning the members of the Roman church woke up and, a little bit slow as we know that they are prone to being, realised, “Whoa! Actually, Turgon and Co. are bang on. We were wrong. They were right. Better make the appropriate changes as they had insisted on all those years ago.”

    What would happen? Would you be happy to re-join Roman Catholcism now that the changes insisted upon had been made? Or would you insist that Roman Catholics join your church?

  • Turgon

    Greenflag,
    Eloquent but a number of your elegant questions which bring to mind Shylock’s brilliant “Hath not a jew eyes” speech are really not very applicable:

    People are somewhat different to other mammals yet some of the questions would ellicit a similar repsonse if applied to cats and people:

    Are they born differrently: Not really
    Do different bacteria feast off their bodies on a daily basis ? No
    Do they get sick/cancer / differently ? No
    Do they enjoy sex differently ? Difficult to ascertain re cats and humans I accept
    Do they bleed differently? No
    When they die do they decompose differently ? No
    Do they have children differently ? Okay a bit different but not very
    Do they have different day lengths or do they all share the same 24 hours ? No
    Do they learn differently ? Okay different between cats and people
    Do they have different weather ? No
    Do they die differently ? No
    Do they get suntans differently ? Okay again different.

    So out of your 12 questions for 3/4 of them cats and people are dissimilar. Hence, it does illustrate that your questions are possibly less than relevant to this debate? Sorry to be nasty but I so enjoyed typing No a lot- takes me back to my youth.

  • Oilifear

    Turgon, the pertinent question is, do cats go to heaven?

  • Turgon

    Oilifear,

    I am not very interested in which churches people attend nor the exact method of worship they use. I do not like many modern hymns and prefer “proper” hymns, paslms and most of all paraphrases. I must admit to quite liking the traditional anglican form of service though to admit taht may be a bit heretical. However, my brother in law attends some odd pentacoastalist lot and they are just as good (if not better Christians) than us.

    I actually think it is very useful to have different styles and types of churches and it allows people to find a form of church and a form of worship with which they are comfortable. The Holy Spirit leads people in different directions and God is happy to accept us all.

    I believe God is just as happy with my worship wearing a dark suit, a Third Edition Church Hymnary in one hand and the other in my pocket as he is with someone waving their arms. God accepts difference and as such I am certain different churches are different in His will.

    In terms of theology I think it is more important but again their can be differences. My wife is not a Calvinist but I firmly believe she is one of the most Christian people I have ever met.

    What matters to me is that churches preach the need for one to be saved form one’s sins by faith in Christ and personally accepting Him. That one does that through any particular church is of no importance to me. I accept that many RCs may have done so despite what I see as the problems inherent in their church’s analysis.

  • Oilifear

    Turgon, that sounds very ecumenical, verging on à la carte, limited only by a suspicion of Roman Catholicism alone.

    Now that Catholics, Luterans and Mehodists have resolved their dispute regarding justification, and when many Anglicans follow Catholic teaching on it, why do you set Catholicism apart?

    I’ve no reason to fight with you, and I know you’re a smart (if not wise) man, but like the poster above who wrote, “Until Rome returns to the Bible, true Protestants should have nothing to do with it,” it does seem like you emphasise the differences between your faith an Roman Catholicism as being fatal, but are willing to air brush the differences between different non-Roman Catholic Christians churches and your own. To me, you appear to bundle all Protestants together and pit them as being on the other side a line to Roman Catholics.

    Am I right about this? What do you think is the origin of that?

    (And I’m sorry to push you on this, but you didn’t answer me question about cats. Also, what if the cat was Roman Catholic?)

  • Turgon

    In terms of different churches; all I care about is whether or not they preach the need of personal salvation and a reasonable analysis of biblical living though I can be quite liberal on that.

    I do not think the RC church does that. I worry that many CoE churches do not and even CoI, Presbyterian and Methodist churches do not here. That is why we were careful choosing our Presbyterian church and why we will probably soon leave it for a different denomination. As an example in the church we attend my wife would not have allowed our children to be christined as the child is welcomed into the church at that point. She regards that as close to blasphemy.

    I regard many of the churches in the mainstream denominations especially in Belfast as failing to adequately proclaim the bible message. I have a great deal more confidence in many of the smaller sects. However, I try to judge no one’s faith and if anyone RC or otherwise tells me they have accepted Christ as their personal saviour I rejoice in that.

    On the cats issue. We believe that only humans have souls and as such when they die go to heaven or (very sadly) to hell. It is a dichotomous variable. Heaven, will I am confident contain animals. Animals which die now cease to exist; they do not go to “cat heaven”.

    As an aside I being a country person at heart find the idea of heaven as a city a bit less nice. However, it is clear there will also be a new earth. Apparently the reason why the city of heaven is focused on is that in biblical times and indeed until really quite recently) it was considered best to live in cities (indeed many still do).

  • Rory

    The Pope koshering up Martin Luther! This is too much.

    Whatever’s next? Dropping the Latin mass I wouldn’t mind betting or allowing us to eat steak on a Friday. All this progress will drive away devout followers like myself. It’s enough to make a man turn protestant.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Next for rehabilitation – RIP.

    Soon we will discover he is infallible and was right all along!

  • Dec

    On the cats issue. We believe that only humans have souls and as such when they die go to heaven or (very sadly) to hell. It is a dichotomous variable. Heaven, will I am confident contain animals. Animals which die now cease to exist; they do not go to “cat heaven”.

    Nothing brightens up the day more than reading the musings of a christian on what heaven will be like. Animals in heaven? Hopefully it’s only the nice kind like lambs, kittens and puppies. Who wants to spend eternity with an arm that has been half-gnawed off by a celestial crocodile?

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Turgon

    Are all your beliefs based on a book that has few confirmed facts? If so, I hope your leap of faith comes to a better end than David Trimble’s did.

    As an atheist in the sense of a single God, I don’t even begin to understand your beliefs, but completely and fully support your right to have them and practice religion as you see fit.

  • “Whatever’s next?”

    I think it has to be a ban on line-dancing, Rory. This would help smooth a visit to Armagh.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “You’ve obviously never seen “Monty Python’s Meaning of Life”…

    Posted by darth rumsfeld on Mar 10, 2008 @ 02:38 PM

    Do they enjoy sex?”

    “Whenever I want to engage in sexual relations I can go to the chemist and say ‘Harry-sell me a prophylactic’!”

    versus

    “Every spem is sacred
    Every sperm is great
    If a sperm is wasted
    God gets quite irate”

    Brilliant

  • Oilifear

    Turgon, many thanks.

    You wrote, “[A]ll I care about is whether or not they preach the need of personal salvation and a reasonable analysis of biblical living …” Probably as a result of my Catholic moral up-bringing with its heretical fascination with good works and a devil-may-care attitude to personal salvation, all I care about is whether someone is a bastard or not. You certainly aren’t so I guess your way must be just as good as mine (in my book at least).

  • Greenflag

    Turgon ,

    ‘Sorry to be nasty but I so enjoyed typing No ‘

    The reference to cats was not just nasty – it was a very low blow indeed 🙁 It reminded me that in our place of abode there dwells a cat . There is no disputing which creature is God in our house . And it’s not me -nor the mother in law nor my first and last slavedriver ! This cat must have Egyptian ancestry as it has always shown signs of possessing a genetic memory of a time when it was worshipped as God 🙁 As a born again fully qualified heretic I take every advantage to deliver a toe to the rear end of this false idol !

    I notice you focus on differences which is I’m sure critical and self validation from your particular religious viewpoint . I prefer instead to focus on similarities between peoples , societies and political and economic cultures . As I’m not bothered by religion per se other than it’s crossover or impact on political society – What you see as ‘differences’between faiths I see as largely semantic and at some point in their origin ‘politcally ‘ inspired. Once esttablished these differnces eventually become more important as they serve to exclude us from them and vice versa .

    I believe your opposition to ecumenism is honest as is your opposition to Papal authority . I share your latter belief and tend to belief much of ecumenism is a sort of hope among a disappearing faithful that somehow their faith will be enhanced by the experience .

    ‘My wife is not a Calvinist but I firmly believe she is one of the most Christian people I have ever met.’

    I know a lot of atheists and people of all faiths of whom I could say the same .

    I can’t share your beliefs but I respect your right to worship as you see fit and to associate etc with your fellow fundamentalists . And thanks for explaining the ‘background’ .

    Just one little word of advice from someone who has been around the globe a bit. Keep a tight grasp on your wallet and like the chap who was told to look for a tutor with the personal touch – mind they don’t touch you for too much !

  • Mustapha Mond

    “we have much to learn from Martin Luther…”
    I know it’s taking the literal definition but.

    Martin Luther is… dead.
    Deceased
    Expired
    Popped his clogs
    Joined the choir invisible (?)
    A former reformer
    Bereft of earthly life, he breathes no more.

    He knows nothing about what goes on under the sun.
    So ya cant talk to him!

  • Greenflag

    ‘Nothing brightens up the day more than reading the musings of a christian on what heaven will be like.’

    Try and find a copy of Mark Twain’s “Letters from the Earth’ They would’nt publich it when Twain was alive . It’s a classic on ‘what heaven will be like’ . There was a lot more to Twain than Huckleberry Finn ! The man was 200 years ahead of his time !

  • Twinbrook

    We must thank the likes of Luther for having the liberty of conscience to stand up to a corrupt monolith…
    Freedom of belief, freedom of worship and the freedom to think for ones self…

    Still issues the Catholic Church doesn`t preach or believe in.

  • Thomas More

    Martin Luther was used by the defence at Nuremberg. He opposed the Peasants’ revolt and like Mad Dog Paisley, knew what side his bread was buttered on.
    The current Pope has done a good job so far. Let’s be crystal clear however. Rome does not need Luther’s droppings; Rangers can have them.
    Let’s unite with the Greek and the other Orthodox strands. Piddly outfits like Prods don’t matter in the bigger schema of things.

  • Greenflag

    ‘We must thank the likes of Luther for having the liberty of conscience to stand up to a corrupt monolith… ‘

    True .

    ‘Freedom of belief, freedom of worship’

    True again

    ‘ and the freedom to think for ones self’

    In theory yes – in practice many ‘evangelicals and protestants exhibit about the same amount of freedom to think for themselves as many catholics .

    ‘Still issues the Catholic Church doesn`t preach or believe in.’

    The RC Church does not pretend to be a ‘democracy’ . It’s a non hereditarian celibate ruled semi absolute monarchy with declining power in an increasingly more secular and irreligious Europe . British Anglicans and other Protestants believe that the Head of their Church should preferably be a non celibate monarch who can pass on the succession to ensure that an overwhelming agnostic and irreligious State can pretend it is what it used to be !

    ‘Martin Luther was used by the defence at Nuremberg. He opposed the Peasants’ revolt and like Mad Dog Paisley, knew what side his bread was buttered on.’

    True enough . He would have none of that . On the other hand he had his nun and married her too IIRC :).

    History tells us that 7 million Germans died as a result of the wars of religion in that country. Half were Catholic and half were Lutheran. All were the victims of ‘theological difference mixed in with political successions’! The doctrine of IIRC ‘cuios regio eus religio’

    Or in the vernacular – ‘if your prince /king is a Catholic so are you . If he changes his mind and becomes a Catholic so do you . Apparently only princes and kings had minds in those days or were allowed to change them . ordinary people were however encouraged to die for the one true faith aand for the freedom to think just as their princes/kings thought 🙁

  • Twinbrook

    “Let’s unite with the Greek and the other Orthodox strands. Piddly outfits like Prods don’t matter in the bigger schema of things.”

    Firstly the Russian Orthodox don`t believe the RC modern doctrine of the Popes infallibility on matters of faith…

    Secondly in both the Greek and Russian churches, priests can marry,its only bishop and above who stay celibate!

    As for piddly outfits like prods!!!!

    The Reformation gave us piddly things like, the Age of reason, the Enlightenment, Renaissance…..

  • Celtic FC

    Les than 5% of Krauts were literate at Luther’s time. The Protestants of Holland conducted a reign of terror against the majority Catholics and eventually bullied them into political oblivion. The Protestant cults were founded on a mixture of things: money, power, the chance to enslave and prosper, the need to steal from Spain and propagate the black Legend.

    On a happier note: I see a book has recently been sold in England. Its cover os made from the skin of a Jesuit martyred for truth at the time of the so called Reformation. Savages.

  • Mustapha Mond

    Was only a matter of time before someone wheeled out the anti-semitism line, bit like bringing a fart to a shit fight. :o).

    “…On the other hand he had his nun and married her too IIRC :). ”
    Yes he did, the little pervert demon inside me actually has a little respect for that, but im sure they were married before any hanky panky biz went on.
    Also, Martin had a real wild temper, and would throw the radge (worse than a rage) quite often, and he had a potty mouth! Probably worse than mine!

    But, he did go up against a corrupt emperor, that could have crushed, burned and tortured him to death. With that, he has my respect.

  • Twinbrook

    celtic FC are you sure you`re not ulsters my homeland in disguise!

    Pathetic attempt at controversy..

  • Oilifear

    Twinbrook wrote: “The Reformation gave us piddly things like, the Age of reason, the Enlightenment, Renaissance…..”

    Not wanting to involve myself in gang-warfare, but:

    Renaissance … started in Catholic Italy (pre-dating the Reformation) and slowly spread to Protestant northern Europe.
    Age of Reason … started in Catholic France, spread to mixed Germany and Protestant Britain
    The Enlightenment … took place in both Catholic and Protestant countries simultaneously.

  • Rory

    Right lads – here’s the bottom line – the Pope can do what he likes as far as I’m concerned but I’m not putting up with any of these shenanigans to give oul’ Luther a Get Out of Hell Card. I saw Albert Finney in the part in the play – he was a very naughty man. Luther, that is, not Finney who I am sure is probably a very nice man (probably one of us).

    So if yer man goes ahead and rehabilitates the chief heretic I will be breaking off and forming the Continuity Catholics – or CC for short. (If I attract just 9 more followers we can be known as 10CC!).

    It goes without saying that I will be the new Pope. Women will be allowed to join if they can cook and also gays (unless they are very fat) but no Lutherans or Man Utd supporters. I shall also have to ban Corkmen as they just want to take over everything and run it their way and anyway they talk too fast and nobody can understand a word they say.

  • Wilde Rover

    And how is auld Benny going to pay for Martin Luther’s stint in rehab?

    Indulgences were always a good earner, perhaps he could bring those back.

  • Tim

    Brilliant story please send me the address and i will send the pope some of Martin Luther’s books letting the pope know what the wrongs Martin Luther put on that door that day.. leaving sinfulness behind and asking the Lord to deliver him from his sin and accepting Jesus as his one True saviour. Martin Luther had called the pope the AntiChrist so whats the pope saying about this

  • andy

    I read about him in a recent book about Paracelsus.

    As well as being an absolutely raving anti-semite, he was extremely obnoxious and dogmatic, alienating a lot of people who had initially found common cause with him.

    I think the reformation was a neccessary step, but I dont see why we need to give retrospective aproval to this church-door defacing twat.

    He was also exceedingly constipated.

    That is all.