Saturday, April 25, 2009

Assertio Septem Sacramentorum: An Idea To Help Catholic Apologists Sell Books...

I'm sure Catholic apologetic enterprises are experiencing economic grief because of the struggling economy. Here's an idea that came to me while reading Henry VIII and Luther by Erwin Doernberg (California: Stanford University Press, 1961) pp. 17-19.

In 1521 Henry VIII wrote a book against Luther entitled, Assertio Septem Sacramentorum, a book specifically against Luther's Babylonian Captivity of the Church. On October 2, 1521, the Pope had a book party celebration so to speak, or rather, a ceremony announcing the book.

The ceremony began with Henry's representative Dr. Clerk referring to Luther's Babylonian Captivity of the Church,

" which, good God! what and how prodigious poison, what deadly bain, how much consuming and mortal venom this poisonous serpent has spewed out... Here the bond of chastity is broken, holy fasts, religious vows, rites, ceremonies, worship of God, solemnity of the Mass etc. are abolished and exterminated, by the strangest perfidiousness that ever was heard of. This man institutes sacraments after his own fancy, reducing them to three, to two, to one, and that one he handles so pitifully that he seems about to reducing it at last to nothing at all... When dreading punishment (which he well deserved) fled, with a mischief, into his perpetual lurking holes in Bohemia, the mother and nurse of his heresies..."

The Pope's response in the ceremony included praise for Henry VIII that he,

"having the knowledge, will and ability of composing this book against this terrible monster, has rendered himself no less admirable to the whole world by eloquence of his style and by his great wisdom. We render immortal thanks to our creator who has raised such a prince to defend His Holy Church and this Holy See..."

The Pope also granted an indulgence of ten years and ten quadragenes to those who would read Henry VIII's Assertio Septem Sacramentorum. The overleaf advertised this Papal indulgence to the reader.

So, I was thinking, if the Pope wanted to financially help out all those in the United States that spend their lives hoping to have the title Defensor Fidei given to them, perhaps he should similarly hold book ceremonies and offer a Papal indulgence for particular outstanding Catholic apologetic books. Which Catholic concerned for their soul, sanctification, and eventual justification wouldn't want to do everything in their power for the sake of their salvation, and at the same time, help out Catholic apologetics? This seems like a win win situation to me.


Andrew said...

Wait a minute, I'm confused. Was Luther a terrible monster or was he right if properly understood? At any rate, just in case I'm only a separated brother and not a heretic I should probably read Henry's book. I'm sure we separated bretheren will have a lot of purgatory to go through. That is, if we are lucky enough to get there. Which I suppose we can never be sure of.

bkaycee said...

I suspect there are only a couple hundred Catholics in the US that even understand what the title Defensor Fidei means.

Most would care less, being put out enough already, having to get their ticket punched every Sunday.

James Swan said...

Funny you mention that Andrew, about the way Luther was described as a terrible monster or right if properly understood... I thought about mentioning that as well in this post,as it was actually the reason I began writing it. But, the indulgence granted for reading a book seemed more pertinent to the economic plight.

Ben Douglass said...

This is a fantastic idea. I'll do it when I become Pope.