Over the years I've received a number of blog hits from a discussion forum entitled, "Free Republic." I've never been tempted to join. I participate in a few other discussion forums, and that's enough for me. Here's a few responses for those of you who visit here and use my blog entries on Free Republic.
Discussion: FYI, Yes, I am a "valuable friend of Catholic Answers" (3/6/2015)
A few days ago I posted an email I received from Catholic Answers referring to me as a "valuable friend." This made it over to Free Republic. Someone states, "I went to the blog and couldn't quite figure out WHAT was what I fear for my sense of humor ... there's a lot of things I don't 'get' these days." Yes, that's right, you don't get it. In regard to the actual e-mail sent to me from Catholic Answers, the same person states, "There's no reason to not believe it's real ... if you search out a matter." Yes, the email is real. Someone else pointed out, " ...[T]here are no live links out of the email." I removed the live link that came with the e-mail. Another person states, "Evidently Catholic Answers bought a mailing list. I've also received some weird things from people who have bought a mailing list. I just ignore them." No, I don't think Catholic Answers did this. Rather, I have purchased their products in the past, so perhaps that's why I'm a "valuable friend," $$. I've often wondered what would happen if I became a Catholic Answers "Forum Supporter." I wonder if they would be as quick to suspend my account or charge me with an infraction. In the past, I've been chastised for using the alert system. Perhaps if I pay into Catholic Answers, I could actually contact the moderators without being suspended. Or perhaps I could start using the term "Roman." It might actually be worth a few bucks to see if I'm treated differently with a little $$ offered.
Discussion: Luther's Comments About the Jews vs. The Papal Bull "Decet Romanum" (3/6/2015)
The comments from this discussion are a bit more complicated, so I numbered them. In regard to the papal bull Decet Romanum Pontificem that excommunicated Luther, someone stated:
1. A careful reading of this document (as well as the one by Pope Leo that preceded it 60 days before) makes it clear that the sanctions and punishments it contains were not directed at the average person that followed Luther in his heresy, but to those in positions of power and influence that were abetting Luther's cause. It talks about taking away their special privileges and all that went with them, including wealth and positions of influence--something your average Lutheran (or Catholic) of the time did not possess. We're talking here about clerics, princes and other influential people that had jumped on Luther's bandwagon--often because it gave them a chance to enrich themselves by confiscating the land and property of the Church. It also talked about forfeiting these often hereditary rights to their descendent's--a common interdict of the time placed upon the landed and wealthy. In other words, this document can in no way be read as a blanket interdict of all Lutherans of all times. The same goes for the anathemas of the Council of Trent. They were aimed at Catholics of the time who had apostatized from the Catholic Faith-- not at Lutherans sitting in their pews in 2015.
There are good points in this comment. Preserved Smith pointed out long ago that the original version of Decet Romanum "banned not only Luther but Hutten, Pirkheimer, and Spengler, and denounced the Elector Frederic" and then was modified and thus "confined itself to excommunicating the heresiarch" (cf. Boehmer. p. 144-145). Martin Marty says that clergy coming under the judgment of this bull would now have to "pay taxes, serve in the military, and ordinarily lose housing and subsidy." So there is indeed an emphasis on those in authority. There were in fact persecutions of those convicted as early Lutheran leaders. Decet Romanum was a precursor to the Edict of Worms that Walther describes as "every Lutheran was declared 'in season'." Walther mentions also that in 1521 Duke George beheaded a bookseller for selling Lutheran books. All this admitted, if the thrust of the comments above is that my comparison of Luther's harsh book against the Jews and that put forth by Decet Romanum isn't an example of a double standard from Rome's defenders, I would disagree. Certainly Luther's scope is wider, but the intent is the same: to severely persecute a particular group of people. To my knowledge, the bookseller about to be beheaded by Duke George didn't shout out, "You've misread official documents- I'm not a Lutheran leader!"
2. There is a simple test for antisemitism, which I present. Luther completely failed it, spending his last time on earth conspiring and plotting as to how he could physically harm Jews (robbery, rape, and murder). He was distressed when people gave sanctuary to the Jewish refugees, just like the Nazis who succeeded him.
I don't recall Luther advising people to "rape" the Jews, nor did he spend his days plotting how to rob and murder them, so let's not make Luther worse than he was. There has been a significant debate as to whether or not Luther qualifies as an antisemite. Some defenders of Luther argue (quite correctly) that Luther was born into a society that was anti-Judaic, but it was not the current anti-Judaic type of society that bases it racism on biological factors. Luther had no objections to integrating converted Jews into Christian society. He had nothing against Jews as “Jews.” He had something against their religion because he believed it denied and blasphemed Christ. I've noticed a shift in Luther scholarship here, even with some of those who earlier advocated this view. Frankly, I don't think Luther qualifies as an "antisemite" if the term is used in its historical sense (see my comments here). If the term "antisemite" is used in a broader sense rather than a historical sense, yes, Luther was an antisemite- but I think the broader sense of the term is the result of a change in the meaning of the term.
3. Before launching into a refutation of "Rome's cyber defenders that think the Third Reich began with Luther", an example of the "number" of such Cyber defender or even such a cyber defense would be in order, no? I clicked though your link in the clause "Rome's cyber defenders that think the Third Reich began with Luther" expecting to find, well, an example of one of "Rome's cyber defenders" who "think the Third Reich began with Luther" and instead I found an excellent blog post by a Lutheran, about a fascinating book by Lutheran writer Uwe Siemon-Netto... p.s. "Topper17" who is a member of the Catholic answers forum may indeed be one of Rome's cyber defenders, but his argument has nothing to do with the Holocaust. His point is that Luther's views were worse thatn his contemporaries. He doesn't prove his point because he only cites Luther and not his contemporaries but either way, it doesn't move the "number" north of ZERO. .
This comment was directed toward my "Rome's cyber defenders that think the Third Reich began with Luther" statement. This was intended to be a general statement of what I've dealt with over the years, but certainly specific examples can be brought forth- even in the very discussion that this blog entry was based on: "With the errors and the historical traits of Luther the significance was not merely that he was incontinent and foul-mouthed, but that he was the first to preach what he practised. Peter Weiner, who was a master at Stowe and a refugee from Germany, is not a Catholic and in his From Luther to Niemöller “traces German Nazism back to Luther and the Lutheran reformation.”" That's verbatim from a defender of Rome on the Catholic Answers forum in the very dicussion in question (my response is here).
In regard to Topper17, in an earlier discussion on another forum (CARM 01/03/12) he stated,
As an honest Lutheran Scholar, Hillerbrand is intellectually and morally required to acknowledge the connection between Luther’s “teachings” and the beliefs of (and “practices”) of Nazi Germany. There are those who would have us believe that Luther was actually an Old Testament Prophet, AND that OTPs always taught “correctly”, AND that we should follow and obey the teachings of the OTPs. Rather than be hypocrites, those christians should implement Luther’s teachings on the Jews as closely as they can, KNOWING that their Prophet’s recommendations were directly from God.I could produce similar comments from this person such as,
History, Real History, has no choice but to admit to the role that Luther’s “recommendations” had in the Holocaust. As a result, the various and competing and conflicting Lutheran Churches, post WWII, had no choice but to come to grips with Luther’s ugly recommendations. They have officially apologized and attempted to distance themselves from those horrific recommendations in “On the Jews and Their Lies”. (CARM 06/13/11)
So, to my friends and foes on the Free Republic site... thanks for visiting, and thanks for your comments.
"A Valuable Friend of Catholic Answers"