Saturday, June 27, 2009

Luther tells us that it was Satan who convinced him that the Mass was not a true sacrifice

I was recently sent an article from a traditional catholic site entitled, The Insidious Tactics of Change. The article is about "the most insidious but subtle of assaults that have been perpetrated against Our Lord Jesus Christ's One True Faith by the scions of Vatican II have been against the actual Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Blessed Savior in the Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist" (try saying that sentence with one breath, I dare you). In other words, the Traditionalist Catholics accuse the Vatican II minions of changing and attacking the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

The article has a few interesting Luther tidbits. The author cites Grisar to prove that Luther slowly introduced changes in the sacrament, just like those pesky Vatican II folks. I guess there's nothing worse than using the insult: Vatican II simply followed in the steps of Luther.

A curious quote is also given from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger:

"Luther's historical instinct is clearly proving itself right ... Both the Catholic and Protestant interpretation of Christianity have meaning each in its own way; they are true in their historical moment ... Truth becomes a function of time ... Fidelity to yesterday's truth consists precisely in abandoning it in assuming today's truth." "Joseph Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology, in ibid., p. 436."

That text can be found here (and here), and unless the author is using a different edition, the sentences of this quote appear on very different pages. The first part is on page 141. The other parts are from page 16. In my meager mathematical calculations, that's 125 pages, not to mention the first part of the quote doesn't even follow the second in the text. I will though cover my bases and point out, the version I used was a limited preview, so if this quote is somehow on page 436 (which I doubt it is), save your bullets.

Well, I'm not one to defend the Pope, but this is a very poor method of citation, and even a pope shouldn't be so poorly cited. True indeed, the current pope has been more cordial to Luther, the author could've found numerous examples of that without the botched citation. I think Traditionalists do have a point that the attitude toward Luther now from the Vatican is not consistent with the attitude of previous generations of the Catholic Church. As an aside, I found this quote from Ratzinger's text quite entertaining:

"...[P]aradoxically, the Fathers have lost ground on both sides of the argument because, in the controversy about the fundamental basis for understanding Scripture, there is nothing more to be proved or disproved by reference to them" [pp. 141-142].

That's a keeper if ever there was one.

The real gem though is the following statement from the Traditionalist article in which the author quotes from "Audin's Life of Luther" to prove that " Luther tells us that it was Satan who convinced him that the Mass was not a true sacrifice, and that in worshipping bread, he was guilty of idolatry" and "Luther acknowledged at the close of this conference that he was unable to answer the arguments of Satan, and he immediately ceased saying Mass."

Audin can be found here. The section being quoted begins on page 354. This is a good opportunity to note all that is Google Books is not gold. In the introduction, Audin was said to have "zeal for the Catholic cause." Perhaps this zeal clouded his judgment about the narrative between Luther and the Devil, because he appears to think it is a narration of an actual event. The actual text from Luther is found in LW 38: The Private Mass And The Consecration Of Priests. This writing went through multiple revisions. The introduction points out,

The idea of a disputation with the devil occurred to Luther while he was working on this third draft. This verbal exchange with the devil does not reflect his personal experience but is employed as an effective literary device in the first part of the book. The fact that Luther’s plan for the book changed as he developed these three outlines in succession is reflected in the rather abrupt way in which he concluded his writing as well as the remark that the book had become longer than he had originally intended it to be.

It's too bad this article was so poorly documented. The article in question appears to be recently posted, so perhaps they'll see this blog entry and take it back into the workshop. I do have some sympathies for the Traditionalist cause against romanism. One may find these interviews with Gerry Matatics interesting. Gerry of course will make a good point, and then go on to say something wacky. If these guys ever get their act together, perhaps they can actually help demonstrate the Borg-like nature of Roman Catholicism.


bkaycee said...

I wonder what percentage of those assimilated into Rome ever find out how faulty, shoddy and biased the research that conviced them was.

James Swan said...

I don't know. I've only come across a few who will admit it.