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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

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'The Reformation' is more accurately called 'The Deformation'

History of the Catholic Church from the Renaissance to the French Revolution - Volume 1 by James MacCaffrey

by Ferdinand III



The Reformation was not a religious 'revival', or a moral enterprise. It was bloody, corrupted, secular and in many cases, a religious deformation. In an excellent book by MacCaffrey, the truth is related:


Without doubt, in Germany, in Switzerland, in England, in the Netherlands, and in the Scandinavian countries, the Reformation was much more a political than a religious movement.”


This is entirely true. One of the great myths in the modern world is the concept of a Protesting 'Reformation' against the 'evil' of the Catholic Church. The 'Reformation' was not a religious reform movement, but entirely a political project, which used legitimate cases of neglect, fraud and Church debauchery, to achieve political objectives. The usurpation of the Church in Germany, Sweden and England is a clear testimony to that reality. Real issues of Church corruption were of course exaggerated by the Protestors, as Luther and his allies all too often admitted.


This elastic expansion of problems with the Church divorced Luther from real reformers such as Erasmus and set the entire political 'revolt' onto blood-soaked paths of violence and destruction. More than 100.000 Catholics were killed by the Protestors within a period of just one generation of Luther nailing his treatise against the Church door in Wittenberg, against the Institution's immorality including its corporeal sins, indulgences and simony.


MacCaffrey:


The clergy as a body were very far from being as bad as they have been painted by fanatical reformers or by the followers of Luther. The collections of sermons that have come down to us, the prayer books for the instruction of the faithful, the catechisms, the compilations from the Holy Scriptures, the hymns, theological works, and especially the compendiums prepared for the use of those engaged in hearing confessions, give the lie to the charge of wholesale neglect[8]; but, at the same time the want of sufficient control, the interference of lay patrons in the appointments to benefices, the absence of seminaries, and the failure of the universities to give a proper ecclesiastical training, produced their natural effect on a large body of the clergy.

And

In any scheme for the reform of the abuses that afflicted the Church the reformation of the Papal Court itself should have occupied the foremost place. At all times a large proportion of the cardinals and higher officials were men of blameless lives, but, unfortunately, many others were utterly unworthy of their position, and their conduct was highly prejudicial to religion and to the position of the Holy See. Much of the scandalous gossip retailed by Platina in his /Lives of the Popes/, and by Burcard[4] and Infessura[5] in their /Diaries/ may be attributed to personal disappointment and diseased imaginations, but even when due allowance has been made for the frailty of human testimony, enough remains to prove that the Papal Court in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries was not calculated to inspire strangers to Rome with confidence or respect. Such corrupt and greedy officials reflected discredit on the Holy See...”


Abuses existed, but not in the quantity of evil evinced by Luther and his demonic railings, that read more like violent ravings than an appeal to moral reform. The Church needed a thorough reform, no one in the late 15th century – especially with the rise of Alexander VI as Pope the worst in history – denied this. The Council of Trent provided much of the reformist agenda, but it was of course far too late, finishing its work in 1565, driven into necessity as a direct response to the Protestors and the fact that most of Northern Europe had by then, already been lost to the Church.


Luther was no moral paragon of enlightened religious reform. He was a zealot who denied free-will, freedom of speech [he persecuted those who disagreed with him relentlessly] and advocated violence by the Kingly elite against the 'peasants', in order to move the Church directly into the control of the secular. He was in short, quite insane and his doctrines led to the divine right of Kings and the imposition of complete state power over the lives of its subjects.


Luther defended the view that free will in man and all power of doing good were destroyed by original sin, and that everything meritorious accomplished by man is really done by God. His old opponent at the university, Bodenstein (surnamed Carlstadt from his place of birth), declared himself openly in favour of Luther's teaching on free will, and published a reply to Eck.”


Luther's violent pronouncements, his incitement of hatred and bigotry and his call to exterminate those who disagreed with his views, ended up in the most predictable of outcomes. War, violence, death, civil discord, and enmity. In Germany for example during the 2nd decade of the 16th century:


...monasteries and churches were plundered.. nobles were put to death. Soon the lay princes of Germany, alarmed by the course of the revolutionaries and fearing for the safety of their own territories, assembled their forces and marched against the insurgents. The war was carried on mercilessly on both sides, close upon 100,000 peasants being killed in the field, while many of their leaders, amongst them Thomas Munzer, were arrested and condemned to death. In nearly every important engagement the peasants, as might be expected, suffered defeat, so that before the end of 1525 the movement was, practically speaking, at an end. Luther, who had been consulted by both sides, and who had tried to avoid committing himself to either, frightened by the very violence of the storm he had been instrumental in creating, issued an appeal to the princes calling upon them to show no mercy to the forces of disorder...”


Lutheranism was not a liberation movement of people or of faith. It was a totalitarian, top down imposition, in both the secular and religious worlds.  Assets plundered.  Art and architecture destroyed.  Libraries burnt.    Sola scriptura. 


Citizens had to sign an oath of faith to both Lutheranism and the state in Protestant controlled areas. Scribes recorded who attended and did not attend the Protestant church. Those who declined to forego their Catholic faith were exiled, or worse. Europe was riven in two at the precise moment that Moslem Ottoman power and pretensions reached their most dangerous level. Hundreds of thousands perished, the state become the new God, Kings and Queens ruled with little concern for the poor man or woman; and trade, commerce and development due to strife, conflict and displacement most likely retarded Europe's development by generations.


It was not a reformation.



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