Thursday, April 05, 2007

Checking The Facts

I’ve been a consistent voice of complaining against The Facts About Luther by Father Patrick O’Hare. In some instances, those who I encounter quoting this book will listen to reason and cease quoting this book. Others will drop the conversation and move on. Recently, I received an e-mail which said in part:

To James Swan:
I'm a devout, Orthodox Catholic heavily into apologetics. I had read
O'Hare's "The Facts About Luther" and was determined to let Protestants know the truth about their great "hero". But I couldn't just recite incriminating quotes from a book by a Catholic; I wanted to take Luther's words from his very own writings, so I began checking O'Hare's sources. I was very disappointed to find that he DOES take words out of context, shuffles them around a bit or changes them outright all for the purpose of making Luther say something he never said, or mean something he never meant.

Indeed! I wanted to mention a thread just started at Catholic Answers about Luther. O'Hare's Facts About Luther hasn't been mentioned yet, but give this thread a little more time, and it probably will.
In regard to fairness, Note these words from Father O’Hare:
Catholics naturally feel indignant at the vilification, abuse and misrepresentation to which their ancient and worldwide religion is constantly subjected, but they are charitable and lenient in their judgment towards all who wage war against them. They are considerate with their opponents and persecutors because they realize that these are victims of a long-standing and inherited prejudice, intensified by a lack of knowledge of what the Catholic Church really upholds and teaches. Even as the Church's Founder prayed the Heavenly Father to forgive those who nailed Him to the Cross because they knew not what they did, so do His followers, with malice to none but with charity to all, pray for those who oppose the spread of the Kingdom of God on earth because they do not realize to the full that, in despising the Church, they despise Him who founded her to be the light of the world. Most of the Church's enemies are to be greatly pitied, for they have never been taught the significant lesson that the man-made system of religion they hold or adhere to is false, an offense and an apostasy in the eyes of God, who despises heresy and who warned His followers to be on guard against every teacher not commissioned by Him to announce divine truth. Of all this they are unaware. They know nothing of the Church they malign, abuse and vilify. They are ignorant of her history, of her organization, of her constitution, of her teaching, of her mission and her place in the world. They know her not, and many of them, otherwise honest but nurtured in opposition, are led to hate what with divine light they would come to admire, love and embrace." [Source: Facts About Luther, 11-12]
What an irony! The Facts About Luther is actually a complete vilification. One is left amazed at the earlier claims of fairness and truth the book makes when contrasted with O’Hare’s actual tone and obvious strong hostility that proceeds and develops quickly. One reads page after page of a man controlled by Satan destroying all that he touches:
Luther is:

The “pretended Reformer,” with “depraved manners and utterances,” “perversity of principle coupled with falsity of teaching…” (p. 310)

“That he was a deformer and not a reformer is the honest verdict of all who are not blind partisans and who know the man at close vision for what he was and for what he stood to sponsor.” (p. 310)

Luther reasons “out of the depths of his depraved mind…” (p. 311)

“Why, then call Luther a reformer- one who would not in our times be regarded fit to be entrusted with police duty in the worst slums of our cities, much less to be made the presiding officer of a vice purity committee?” (p. 312)

“The serpent’s rattle made itself distinctly heard in his unholy utterances…” (p. 312)

“As a matter of fact, he was openly blamed for his well-known and imprudent intimacy with Katherine Von Bora before his marriage…”(p. 313)

[Directed at Luther]:“Out upon your morality and religion; out upon your obstinacy and blindness! How have you sunk from the pinnacle of perfection and true wisdom to the depths of depravity and abominable error, dragging down countless numbers with you!” (p. 313)

“That he was consumed by the fires of fleshly lust he admits himself.” (p. 314)

“Did the corruption of his mind, as is plainly evidenced in his speech, induce to laxity of behavior and lead him to exemplify his teachings in grave moral delinquencies? Corrupt teaching begets corrupt action, and hence it is difficult to believe that anyone holding such principles and ‘consumed by the fires of his unbridled flesh’ could wholly escape in his own case the exemplification of his unhallowed pronouncements.” (p. 316)

[O’Hare insinuates that Luther suffered from syphilis and suggests]: “On this delicate matter anyone may, if further information be desired, read Grisar, Vol. II pp. 162-164, where all the details of the question are carefully and learnedly discussed.” (p. 317)

“…[T]o deify indecency, decry celibacy and virginity and dishonor the married state, was Luther’s satanic desire and diabolical purpose.” (p. 318)

“The way in which this ‘glorious evangelist’ explains his beastly theories in his course Latin and in his still coarser German is such that it cannot be given here, ‘so full is it,’ …’not only of indelicacy but of gross filthiness.’” (p. 319)

“The thoughts that filled his depraved mind and reflected on the greater part of mankind led him on, after his excommunication, to strive with diabolical energy to eradicate from the people’s hearts the love for and belief in the possibility of chastity outside of wedlock.” (p. 322)

“The evidences of his depravity are so overwhelming and convincing that they are forced to the conclusion that this shameless advocate of brazen prostitution could not be and was not a ‘messenger of the all Holy God.’” (p. 327)

“If a Catholic, especially a Jesuit, had ever played fast and loose with the truth as Luther did, what an outcry, and justly so, would be raised!” (p. 334)

“Katherine Von Bora was only his companion in sin, and the children brought into the world through the unholy alliance were illegitimate children.” (p. 340)

“His wild pronouncements wrecked Germany, wrecked her intellectually, morally, and politically. The havoc wrought directly or indirectly by him is almost without example in history.” p. (7)

“…[I]t behooves every serious man to know this charlatan for what he was and to learn that he has absolutely no claim to any consideration as a heaven-commissioned agent, as even an ordinary ‘reformer’ or ‘spiritual leader,’ or as in any respect a man above and ahead of the frailties of his age.” (p. 18)

After putting forth the myth that Luther’s father was a murderer, O’Hare insinuates [through a quotation] that “Martin was a veritable chip of the hard old block.” (p. 27)


Turretinfan said...

Speaking of checking facts, has anyone checked Michuta's citationless factual claims regarding trent?

Michuta's specific claim about a vote to "pass over" is NOT confirmed using the primary source Paulo Sarpi's "History of the Tridentine Council" (1619).

Michuta's specific claim about discussing the fourth issue on 29 March 1546 is CONTRADICTED by Sarpi (Sarpi claims that the FIFTH issue consumed the whole day).

Sadly, Michuta does not provide any citation so that we can identify why his source differs from Sarpi.

Of course, the bottom line is that the decrees, canons, and anathemas are what really matter.


James Swan said...

Thanks for the tip- It was probably a simple error from memory- I caught Gary getting his years mixed up with a fact on Luther.

Turretinfan said...

It may be, but I've read at least most of Sirpa's account of the discussion preceding the 8 April 1546 vote on the canon and no mention of the silent passing over of the difference in canon, as far as I could find.

I guess we will have to wait to read Michuta's book to see from whence he seeks to justify that claim.

Obviously there are at least a couple of other primary source works from which to glean information on the council's proceedings.