Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Wisdom of Personal Attacks on Martin Luther

Here's a post from the Catholic Answers forums that actually makes sense: The Wisdom of Personal Attacks on Martin Luther.  The entire thing is worth reading, but here is the snippet that caught my attention:

I wonder at the idea that if they show that Martin Luther is so bad, they will then become Catholic. This is certainly a negative tactic that suggests that those pursuing this agenda really have no better arguments for Catholicism than that Luther was bad, so therefore Lutherans should become Catholic. I find this extremely unconvincing. Isn't there anything good in Catholicism? Did these Luther-bashers really become Catholic because they took a dislike to Luther? That is like preferring God to Satan because you don't like Satan - never mind what God is like. Faint praise, there.

I've had this post in draft since Sept. 14. By September 16 the thread was shut down for "lack of charity."

Above: One of Luther’s first Roman Catholic biographers was also a great adversary with lasting impact: Johannes Cochlaeus. Cochlaeus best expressed his campaign against Luther by portraying him as a seven-headed monster. Cochlaeus divided up the life of Luther into seven distinct periods, each represented by one of the heads on the monster. Each head held a contradictory opinion to the other. He explains what each head represents:

“Thus all brothers emerge from the womb of one and the same cowl by a birth so monstrous, that none is like the other in either behavior, shape, face or character. The elder brothers, Doctor and Martinus, come closest to the opinion of the Church, and they are to be believed above all the others, if anything anywhere in Luther's books can be believed with any certainty at all. Lutherus, however, according to his surname, plays a wicked game just like Ismael. Ecclesiastes tells the people who are always keen on novelties, pleasant things. Svermerns rages furiously and errs in the manner of Phaeton throughout the skies. Barrabas is looking for violence and sedition everywhere. And at the last, Visitator, adorned with a new mitre and ambitious for a new papacy, prescribes new laws of ceremonies, and many old ones which he had previously abolished—revokes, removes, reduces.”

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