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제목 On Luther’s Errors and Heresies(2016-11-13)
작성자 관리자 작성일 2016-11-14





On Luther’s errors and heresies


My dear brethren,
Two weeks ago the pope celebrated the 500th anniversary of the rebellion of Luther, affixing his 95 thesis on the church of Wittenberg. This is a huge scandal, which did not get much media coverage because such scandals are too common today, but it remains nonetheless very wrong. Indeed Luther is one of the worst heretics of history, having lead astray millions of souls to their eternal perdition.


Luther is sometimes represented as a “reformer”, who would have fought against abuses. The truth is that he himself committed worse abuses than what he denounced: he broke his three religious vows, left the monastery, married a nun who had left her convent following his influence; he was a violent man, verbally abusing many, blaspheming the holiest things, especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the institution of the Papacy; he was often drunk. He led violent rebellions against legitimate authorities and was the cause of the “wars of religion” of the 16th and 17th century. How could such a one be presented as a model? This is unbelievable!


Luther’s theology can be summed up in one word: “alone”. By this word, he twisted the truth and lost it. He claimed: faith alone, grace alone, Scriptures alone, Christ alone: thereby he lost the true faith, lost sanctifying grace, lost the understanding of the Scriptures and ultimately lost Christ Himself!


That word “alone” was so important for him that he added it in the Scriptures! Where St Paul wrote “Being justified therefore by faith” (Rom. 5:1), Luther added the word “alone” which St Paul had NOT written. When even some fellow Protestants were pointing this out to him, and asking him why he added that word, his answer was: “because Master Luther said so!” Thus he took upon himself to correct even St Paul!


By the expression “faith alone”, Luther rejects the needs of charity: for him, justification is extrinsic, outside of man, a mere declaration of God that such man is just – in spite of the fact that, according to Luther, such man would still remain a sinner, in his sin. The only thing required for such Lutheran justification would be “faith alone”. Contrary to this, the Church teaches with St Paul that: “if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing” (1 Cor. 13:2). Faith alone, without charity, is thus worth nothing unto eternal life: one is NOT justified by faith alone.

Why is charity also necessary? Because justification not a mere extrinsic declaration of justice, but rather it is a complete transformation of one’s soul, from the state of sin (spiritual death) to the state of grace and justice (spiritual life). As a body is dead when it is separated from the soul, so a soul is spiritually dead when it is separated from God. At the opposite, a body is living when it is united with its soul, and a soul is living when it is united with God; now that union with God is by charity, as St Paul says: “charity … is the bond of perfection” (Col. 3:14). At the opposite: “If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema, maranatha” (1 Cor. 16:22). Thus if a man has faith without charity, his faith is “dead”, as St James says: “for even as the body without the spirit is dead; so also faith without works is dead” (Jac. 2:26). St James speaks here of the works of charity, as St Paul says: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision: but faith that worketh by charity” (Gal. 5:6).


Thus by claiming that one was justified by faith alone, by such extrinsic faith, forensic faith, without the inner transformation of the soul and charity, Luther lost even the true Faith itself!


Then Luther claims that one is saved by “grace alone”, without works. He claimed that whatever good work a man would do would avail him nothing unto salvation: only the grace of God would save him, without the need of any good work. That is explicitly against the Scriptures. The truth is that before conversion, before justification, there can be no supernaturally good work that would deserve such conversion: indeed before being in the state of grace, one is in the state of sin and deserves punishment, not grace. However, after conversion there is need of good works before the end of one’s life, and these good works done with the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ are necessary unto salvation.


These good works are the good fruits required from the tree, otherwise it will be uprooted (Lk. 13:6-9). These good works are the additional talents earned by the hard-working servants with the talents they received, but “the unprofitable servant – who did not make the received talent fructify – cast ye out into the exterior darkness. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt. 25:30). “Every tree therefore that doth not yield good fruit, shall be cut down, and cast into the fire” (Mt. 3:10). The elects are rewarded “because I was hungry and you gave me to eat…”: this little word “because” clearly show that their reward is given to them because of their good works! And the damned are condemned because of their lack of good work (Mt. 25:31-46). Thus St Paul exhorts Titus: “let our men also learn to excel in good works for necessary uses: that they be not unfruitful” (Tit. 3:14). That God rewards good works is manifest in so many passages of the Scriptures: the Proverbs say: “He that hath mercy on the poor, lendeth to the Lord: and he will repay him” (Prov. 19:17). Thus our Lord says: “But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven: where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through, nor steal” (Mt. 6:20). And the fruits of hospitality: “He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive the reward of a prophet: and he that receiveth a just man in the name of a just man, shall receive the reward of a just man” (Mt. 10:41). “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels: and then will he render to every man according to his works” (Mt. 16:27). “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to render to every man according to his works” (Apoc. 22:12). Thus Heaven is “rendered” to the just because of their good works, and hell is “rendered” to the wicked because of their evil works (or the very lack of good works).


By rejecting good works, Luther lost sanctifying grace! In particular he rejected the good works of penance, of reparation for our own sins, for the sins of our neighbour and for the souls in Purgatory. Now the Sacred Heart asked at Paray-le-monial for such reparation especially on first Fridays; our Lady at Fatima asked again for similar reparation especially on first Saturdays. And when one sees the overwhelming wickedness in the modern world, especially that of abortion, one understands the urgency of such good works.


Then Luther claimed one should follow “Scriptures alone”, but the Scriptures themselves testify that they do not contain everything about Christ: “Many other signs also did Jesus in the sight of his disciples, which are not written in this book” (Jn. 20:30). “But there are also many other things which Jesus did; which, if they were written every one, the world itself, I think, would not be able to contain the books that should be written” (Jn. 21:25). For instance, St Paul mentions a word of Jesus (“It is a more blessed thing to give, rather than to receive” Acts 20:35), which is not found in the Gospels. St Luke mentions that our Lord “opened the understanding of the apostles, that they might understand the scriptures” (Lk. 24:45). Now those explanations of the Scriptures which our Lord gave to his apostles, where are they found? A little bit of it is found among the epistles, but there was undoubtedly much more, which is found in the oral teaching of the apostles which has been written down by the Christian Fathers. Hence in order to have the proper understanding of the Scriptures, we need the teaching of the Fathers, i.e. Tradition. St Paul himself mentions that “Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle” (2 Thess. 2:14). Here St Paul manifestly puts on an equal footing the written word of his epistle and the spoken word. By rejecting the spoken word, i.e. the oral teaching of the Apostles and their successors, Luther cut himself from the proper understanding of the Scriptures.


Protestants usually claim that they are directly inspired by the Holy Ghost to understand the Scriptures: but such a claim is self-refuting, indeed if that were the case, the Holy Ghost would contradict Himself multiples times, since there are so many different Protestant sects that oppose one another on major doctrinal points! And the Mormons claim the same in support of their “book of Mormons”, and even Muslim could claim the same in support of their “Koran”… In contrast with this multiple division, St Paul teaches that there is “One Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. 4:5). Indeed, “God is not the God of dissension, but of peace” (1 Cor. 14:33).


Thus by claiming “Scriptures alone”, Luther lost the proper understanding of the Scriptures, and in particular was no longer able to discern the abundant and very clear passages speaking about the Church: and this is the last “alone” of Luther. He claims to go to “Christ alone”, without the mediation of the Church. He claims to need no Pope, no priest, no saint, under the pretext that Christ alone is mediator; thus he rejected all prayers to our Lady and to the Saints. Now St Paul says: “For there is one God; and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5). But “one mediator” does not mean “alone”: that Christ is the “one mediator” means that one cannot bypass our Lord Jesus Christ, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me” (Jn. 14:6). But our Lord Jesus Christ is not alone: St Paul tells us in multiple places and many ways that Christ “is the head of the body, the church,” (Col. 1:18). As the head is inseparable from the body, so is our Lord Jesus Christ inseparable from His Church: one cannot have Christ if he refuses the Church, which is the body of Christ! Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Spouse (Mt. 9:15) and the Church is the bride (Jn. 3:29, Apoc. 21:2,9): one cannot separate the groom from the bride: “What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder” (Mt. 19:6). Hence by rejecting the Church, Luther lost Christ!


Now you understand how this little word “alone” can be so destructive! Luther lost everything because of it: he lost the true faith, he lost grace, he lost the understanding of the Scriptures and ultimately he lost our Lord Jesus Christ! We must never separate faith from charity, grace from good works, the written from the spoken Word, and Christ from His Church: we must not take a part but the whole doctrine of Christ. And we find the whole of Christ in the Catholic Church, and in the Catholic Church alone!


All the Saints were attached to the Catholic faith and lived it with great love for God; they were rich in good works; they were faithful to what had been handed down through the centuries by Tradition; they loved Christ in His Church. The Saints are friends of our Lord Jesus Christ; they are with Him in the banquet (Lk. 14:16): one would not be a good guest in the banquet of the Lord if he would refuse to talk with the other guests: hence devotion to the Saints is necessary. Very rude indeed would be the one who would refuse to speak to anybody in the banquet room except the King! He would not be a fitting guest and would be expelled.


May the blessed Virgin Mary, guardian of the Faith, help us to keep the Catholic Faith unsullied by the errors of Luther, to keep the whole Catholic Faith without excluding this or that as Luther did, to keep the Catholic Faith working through charity, acquiring to ourselves a treasure in Heaven so that we may deserve to be true “fellow-citizens with the Saints” (Eph. 2:19) and join them for ever in the beatific vision! Amen.   Fr. F. Laisney(sspxasia)