A common Catholic complaint is that Luther "threw" 2 Maccabees out of the canon because it teaches purgatory. For instance, I've reviewed Catholic apologist Gary Michuta's claims that Luther was forced when debating Eck in 1519 to abandon 2 Maccabees because it taught Purgatory. The problem though for Catholic apologists, is that Luther still believed in Purgatory at the time they say he rejected 2 Maccabees. The honest truth of the matter is Luther rejected 2 Maccabees for reasons he outlines, not what Catholic apologists claim.
I've been re-reading An Argument in Defense of all the Articles of Martin Luther Wrongly Condemned in the Roman Bull, 1521 [Source: Works of Martin Luther (Philadelphia Edition) Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1930 pp. 11-116]. This writing is Luther's lengthy response to the bull Exsurge Domine. I found a very interesting section from the document, relevant to this issue, written in 1521:
That there is a purgatory cannot be proved by those Scriptures which are approved and trustworthy. I have never yet denied that there is a purgatory, and I still hold that there is, as I have many times written and confessed, though I have no way of proving it incontrovertibly, either by Scripture or reason. I find in the Scriptures, indeed, that Christ, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Job, David, Hezekiah and some others tasted hell in this life. This I think to be purgatory, and it is not incredible that some of the dead suffer in like manner. Tauler has much to say about it, and, in a word, I have decided for myself that there is a purgatory, but cannot force any others to the same decision.
There is only one thing that I have attacked, namely, the way in which they apply to purgatory passages of Scripture so inapplicable that it becomes ridiculous. So they apply Psalm 66:12, “We went through fire and water,” though the whole Psalm sings of the sufferings of the saints, which no one places in purgatory. Again, St Paul, in 1 Corinthians 3, says of the fire of the last day that it will prove the good works, and by it some shall be saved because they keep the faith, though their work may suffer loss. Of this fire also they make purgatory, according to their custom of twisting the Scriptures and making of them what they will.
Thus, too, they have drawn in by the hair that passage in Matthew 12:32, in which Christ says, “Whoso speaketh blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world nor in the world to come.” Christ means by this that it shall never be forgiven him, as Mark 3:29 explains His meaning, saying, “He that sinneth against the Holy Ghost by blasphemy hath no forgiveness forever, but is guilty of an eternal sin.”
To be sure, even St Gregory interprets the word in Matthew 12 to mean that some sins will be forgiven in the world to come, but St Mark does not allow that interpretation to stand, and he counts for more than all the doctors.
I have said all this so that we may know that no one is bound to believe more than what is based on Scripture, and those who do not believe in purgatory are not to be called heretics, if in other respects they hold the entire Scriptures, as the Greek Church does. The Gospel compels me to believe that St Peter and St James are saints, but it is not necessary to believe that St Peter is buried at Rome and St James at Compostella and their bodies are still there, for that the Scriptures do not tell us. Again, there is no sin in holding that none of the saints whom the pope canonizes are saints, and the saints take no offense at that, for there are many saints in heaven of whom we do not know that they exist at all, still less that they are saints; and they take no offense at that, and do not think us heretics because of it. The pope and his sectaries play this game only that he may set up many wild articles of faith, beside which the true articles of the Scriptures are silenced and suppressed.
But their use of the passage in 2 Maccabees 12, about how Judas Maccabaeus sent money to Jerusalem to buy prayers for those who fell in battle, proves nothing, for that book is not among the books of Holy Scripture, and, as St Jerome says, it is not found in the Hebrew tongue, in which all the books of the Old Testament are found. In other respects too this book has little authority, for it contradicts the first book of Maccabees in its description of King Antiochus, and contains many more fables which destroy its credibility. And even though the book were authoritative, it would yet be necessary in the case of so important an article that at least one passage out of one of the chief books should come to its help, that every word might be established in the mouth of two or three witnesses. It is a suspicious circumstance that on this subject alone there should be found in the whole Bible no more than one passage, and that in the least important, most despised book, if it is so great a matter, and so much depends upon it that the papacy and the whole priesthood are all but built upon it, and derive all their wealth and honor from it. Without doubt the majority of the priests would starve if there were no purgatory.
They ought not to offer to faith such weak and fallible grounds.