Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I Told You So!

Over the years, I have had many discussions with non-Catholics: some amiable, some not. One thing I have always reminded them about is that, in the end, the Catholic Church is the One True Church founded by Jesus Christ and that apart from her, there is no salvation. This has, of course, led to many a heated discussion with Prots lining up Bible verses that speak about faith while ignoring those that speak about the Church. After I have demonstated conclusively that the Bible clearly teaches a corporate message of salvation, not an individual one, the last line of argument of my opponents has always been: "Well, the Second Vatican Council called us separated brethren and you're are not compatible with that."

In rebuttal, I have always pointed these folks to Lumen Gentium 14 which says:

14. This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism(124) and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.

They are fully incorporated in the society of the Church who, possessing the Spirit of Christ accept her entire system and all the means of salvation given to her, and are united with her as part of her visible bodily structure and through her with Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. The bonds which bind men to the Church in a visible way are profession of faith, the sacraments, and ecclesiastical government and communion. He is not saved, however, who, though part of the body of the Church, does not persevere in charity. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but, as it were, only in a "bodily" manner and not "in his heart."(12*) All the Church's children should remember that their exalted status is to be attributed not to their own merits but to the special grace of Christ. If they fail moreover to respond to that grace in thought, word and deed, not only shall they not be saved but they will be the more severely judged.(13*)

Catechumens who, moved by the Holy Spirit, seek with explicit intention to be incorporated into the Church are by that very intention joined with her. With love and solicitude Mother Church already embraces them as her own.

124 Cf. Mc 16, 16; Jn. 3, 5.

(12*) Cfr. S. Augustinus, Bapt. c. Donat. V, 28, 39; PL 43, 197: Certe manifestum est, id quod dicitur, in Ecdesia intus et foris, in corde, non in corpore cogitandum. Cfr. ib., III, 19, 26: col. 152; V, 18, 24: col. 189; In Io. Tr. 61, 2: PL 35, 1800, et alibi saepe.

(13*) Cfr. Lc. 12, 48: Omni autem, cui multum datum est, multum quaeretur ab eo. Cfr. etiam Mt. 5, 19-20; 7, 21-22; 25 41-46; Iac., 2, 14.

But like good prots, they do the same thing to the Documents of VCII that they do to Scripture: they ignore the parts of VCII that do not meet their preconcieved conclusions.

When the document Dominus Iesus was promulgated back in 2000, we had another spurt of criticisms by the unlettered who claimed that it "reversed" the teaching of VCII. But in fact it reitereted what LG 14 had said:

16. The Lord Jesus, the only Saviour, did not only establish a simple community of disciples, but constituted the Church as a salvific mystery: he himself is in the Church and the Church is in him (cf. Jn 15:1ff.; Gal 3:28; Eph 4:15-16; Acts 9:5). Therefore, the fullness of Christ's salvific mystery belongs also to the Church, inseparably united to her Lord. Indeed, Jesus Christ continues his presence and his work of salvation in the Church and by means of the Church (cf. Col 1:24-27),(47) which is his body (cf. 1 Cor 12:12-13, 27; Col 1:18).(48) And thus, just as the head and members of a living body, though not identical, are inseparable, so too Christ and the Church can neither be confused nor separated, and constitute a single “whole Christ”.(49) This same inseparability is also expressed in the New Testament by the analogy of the Church as the Bride of Christ (cf. 2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:25-29; Rev 21:2,9).(50)

Therefore, in connection with the unicity and universality of the salvific mediation of Jesus Christ, the unicity of the Church founded by him must be firmly believed as a truth of Catholic faith. Just as there is one Christ, so there exists a single body of Christ, a single Bride of Christ: “a single Catholic and apostolic Church”.(51) Furthermore, the promises of the Lord that he would not abandon his Church (cf. Mt 16:18; 28:20) and that he would guide her by his Spirit (cf. Jn 16:13) mean, according to Catholic faith, that the unicity and the unity of the Church — like everything that belongs to the Church's integrity — will never be lacking.(52) The Catholic faithful are required to profess that there is an historical continuity — rooted in the apostolic succession (53) — between the Church founded by Christ and the Catholic Church: “This is the single Church of Christ... which our Saviour, after his resurrection, entrusted to Peter's pastoral care (cf. Jn 21:17), commissioning him and the other Apostles to extend and rule her (cf. Mt 28:18ff.), erected for all ages as ‘the pillar and mainstay of the truth' (1 Tim 3:15). This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in [subsistit in] the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him”.(54) With the expression subsistit in, the Second Vatican Council sought to harmonize two doctrinal statements: on the one hand, that the Church of Christ, despite the divisions which exist among Christians, continues to exist fully only in the Catholic Church, and on the other hand, that “outside of her structure, many elements can be found of sanctification and truth”,(55) that is, in those Churches and ecclesial communities which are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church.(56) But with respect to these, it needs to be stated that “they derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church”.(57 )

17. Therefore, there exists a single Church of Christ, which subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him.(58) The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular Churches.(59) Therefore, the Church of Christ is present and operative also in these Churches, even though they lack full communion with the Catholic Church, since they do not accept the Catholic doctrine of the Primacy, which, according to the will of God, the Bishop of Rome objectively has and exercises over the entire Church....(60)

22. With the coming of the Saviour Jesus Christ, God has willed that the Church founded by him be the instrument for the salvation of all humanity (cf. Acts 17:30-31).(90) This truth of faith does not lessen the sincere respect which the Church has for the religions of the world, but at the same time, it rules out, in a radical way, that mentality of indifferentism “characterized by a religious relativism which leads to the belief that ‘one religion is as good as another'”.(91) If it is true that the followers of other religions can receive divine grace, it is also certain that objectively speaking they are in a gravely deficient situation in comparison with those who, in the Church, have the fullness of the means of salvation.(92) However, “all the children of the Church should nevertheless remember that their exalted condition results, not from their own merits, but from the grace of Christ. If they fail to respond in thought, word, and deed to that grace, not only shall they not be saved, but they shall be more severely judged”.(93) One understands then that, following the Lord's command (cf. Mt 28:19-20) and as a requirement of her love for all people, the Church “proclaims and is in duty bound to proclaim without fail, Christ who is the way,
the truth, and the life (Jn 14:6). In him, in whom God reconciled all things to himself (cf. 2 Cor 5:18-19), men find the fullness of their religious life”.(94)

(47) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen
gentium, 14.

(48) Cf. ibid., 7.

(49) Cf. St. Augustine, Enarratio in Psalmos, Ps. 90, Sermo 2,1: CCSL 39, 1266; St. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Iob, Praefatio, 6, 14: PL 75, 525; St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, III, q. 48, a. 2 ad 1.

(50) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen
gentium, 6.

(51) Symbolum maius Ecclesiae Armeniacae: DS 48. Cf. Boniface VIII, Unam sanctam: DS 870-872; Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 8.

(52) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree Unitatis redintegratio,
4; John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Ut unum sint, 11: AAS 87 (1995), 927.

(53) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 20; cf. also St. Irenaeus, Adversus haereses, III, 3, 1-3: SC 211,
20-44; St. Cyprian, Epist. 33, 1: CCSL 3B, 164-165; St. Augustine, Contra adver. legis et prophet., 1, 20, 39: CCSL 49, 70.

(54) Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen
gentium, 8.

(55) Ibid.; cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Ut unum sint, 13. Cf. also Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 15 and the Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 3.

(56) The interpretation of those who would derive from the formula subsistit in the thesis that the one Church of Christ could subsist also in non-Catholic Churches and ecclesial communities is therefore contrary to the authentic meaning of Lumen gentium. “The Council instead chose the word subsistit precisely to clarify that there exists only one ‘subsistence' of the true Church, while outside her visible structure there only exist elementa Ecclesiae, which — being elements of that same Church — tend and lead toward the Catholic Church” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Notification on the Book “Church: Charism and Power” by Father Leonardo Boff: AAS 77 [1985], 756-762).

(57) Second Vatican Council, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 3.

(58) Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Mysterium Ecclesiae, 1: AAS 65 (1973), 396-398.

(59) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree Unitatis redintegratio,
14 and 15; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter Communionis notio, 17: AAS 85 (1993), 848.

(60) Cf. First Vatican Council, Constitution Pastor aeternus: DS 3053-3064; Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 22.

(90) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen
Gentium, 17; John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 11.

(91) John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 36.

(92) Cf. Pius XII, Encyclical Letter Mystici corporis: DS 3821.

(93) Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen
gentium, 14.

(94) Second Vatican Council, Declaration Nostra aetate, 2.

But they were STILL not persuaded, and I was open to more vilification.

Well, now we have the new document "Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church" which leaves no doubt as to what the Catholic Church teaches on this matter. In particular:

What is the meaning of the affirmation that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church?

Christ “established here on earth” only one Church and instituted it as a “visible and spiritual community”
[5], that from its beginning and throughout the centuries has always existed and will always exist, and in which alone are found all the elements that Christ himself instituted.[6] “This one Church of Christ, which we confess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic […]. This Church, constituted and organised in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him”.[7]

In number 8 of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium ‘subsistence’ means this perduring, historical continuity and the permanence of all the elements instituted by Christ in the Catholic Church[8], in which the Church of Christ is concretely found on this earth.

It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them.[9] Nevertheless, the word "subsists” can only be attributed to the Catholic Church alone precisely because it refers to the mark of unity that we profess in the symbols of the faith (I believe... in the “one” Church); and this “one” Church subsists in the Catholic Church.[10]

[5] Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 8.1.

[6] Cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 3.2; 3.4; 3.5; 4.6.

[7] Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution, Lumen Gentium, 8.2.

[8] Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Mysterium Ecclesiae, 1.1: AAS 65 [1973] 397; Declaration Dominus Iesus, 16.3: AAS 92 [2000-II] 757-758; Notification on the Book of Leonardo Boff, OFM, “Church: Charism and Power”: AAS 77 [1985] 758-759.

[9] Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Ut unum sint, 11.3: AAS 87 [1995-II] 928.

[10] Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 8.2.

So to all of those people who have given me grief over the years and told me that I did not understand the teaching of my own Catholic Church: I TOLD YOU SO!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Springtime for Luther and Germany!

Bouncing around the web, I have run into several articles where Mr. James Swan and other dyspeptic Protestants have taken umbrage to my opinion of both Martin Luther, arch-heresiarch and apostate, and Fr. Joeph Lortz, a Catholic priest who was a fan of both Martin Luther and ADOLPH HITLER.

Yes, you heard me correctly. Fr. Lortz was both an admirer of Hitler and an APOLOGIST for Nazism. When Mein Kampf was published it was widely scorned in the Catholic Press. Fr. Lortz on the other hand wrote a pamphlet DEFENDING the book and making the case that Nazism and Catholicism were compatible. In fact he was a card carrying member of the Nazi party from 1930 all the way through the end of World War II. After the war, Fr. Lortz claimed that he had tried to quit the party when he had seen the excesses of Nazism, but that they wouldn't let him. Like Michael Corleone, "Everytime I tried to get out they pulled me back in." All we can say is that at the cessation of hostilities, Fr. Lortz's party dues were paid up.

Mr. Swan and his refluxing compatriots extol Fr. Lortz because he took a positive attitude towards Luther and broke with the usual Catholic criticisms of the man as a heretic who was intemperate in word and deed as well as mentally unstable and emotionally disturbed. Mr. Swan in particular likes to poke fun at the works of German priests Fr. Heinrich Denifle and Fr. Hartmann Grisar who both wrote multi-volume studies of Luther's life and writings and who found several serious flaws in the man. Fr. Denifle was a world class expert on medieval texts and Fr. Grisar was a renowned Church historian. Their works evaluated Luther in greater depth than the cursory pseudo-hagiography that he receives in most Protestant biographies.

Fr. Grisar's multi-volume work on Luther in English translation is available free on the Internet:

Fr. Denifle's books are also available on line in German:

In America in the 1910s, Professor Preserved Smith from Amherst College wrote several articles and books analyzing Luther from a Freudian perspective and finding evidence of psycho-pathology in him.

In 1937, a Copenhagen Psychiatrist, Paul J. Reiter MD wrote a 2 volume study, Martin Luther's World Character and Psychosis and the Influence of These Factors on his Development and Teachings which also demonstrated in detail from his own writings that Luther was mentally disturbed.

There is a review of Reiter's book here:

There was a brief summary of the findings of these scholars given in the Presidential address by Dr. William Langer delivered at the annual dinner of the American Historical Association at the Statler Hotel, New York City, on December 29, 1957:

Most striking, however, is the case of the greatest of the reformers, Martin Luther, who seems to me to reflect clearly the reaction of the individual to the situation I have been sketching. Luther left behind almost a hundred volumes of writings, thousands of letters, and very voluminous table-talk, suggesting an unusually self-analytical and self-critical personality.56 From all this material it has long been clear that he suffered from an abnormally strong sense of sin and of the immediacy of death and damnation. Tortured by the temptations of the flesh and repeatedly in conflict with a personalized demon, he was chronically oppressed by a pathological feeling of guilt and lived in constant terror of God's judgment. So striking were these traits that some of Luther's biographers have questioned his sanity.57

Here it is interesting to recall that one of our own colleagues, the late Professor Preserved Smith, as long ago as 1913, attacked the problem in an article entitled "Luther's Early Development in the Light of Psychoanalysis."58 Smith, who was remarkably Conversant with Freudian teaching when psychoanalysis was still in its early stage of development, considered Luther highly neurotic--probably driven to enter the monastery by the hope of finding a refuge from temptation and an escape from damnation, and eventually arriving at the doctrine of salvation by faith alone only after he had convinced himself of the impossibility of conquering temptation by doing penance. It may well be that Smith overdid his thesis, but the fact remains that his article was treated with great respect by Dr. Paul J. Reiter, who later published a huge and greatly detailed study of Luther's personality. Reiter reached the conclusion, already suggested by Adolf Hausrath in 1905, that the great reformer suffered from a manic-depressive psychosis, which, frequently associated with genius, involved a constant struggle with, and victory over, enormous psychological pressures. The point of mentioning all this is to suggest that Luther's trials were typical of his time. In any event, it is inconceivable that he should have evoked so great a popular response unless he had succeeded in expressing the underlying, unconscious sentiments of large numbers of people and in providing them with an acceptable solution to their religious problem.59
56. Karl Holl, "Luthers Urteile uber sich Selbst," Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Kirchengeschichte, I, Luther (Tübingen, 1921); Heinrich Böhmer, Road to Reformation; Martin Luther to the Year 1521 (Philadelphia, 1946), foreword; Karl A. Meissinger, Der katholische Luther (Munich, 1952), p. 2.

57. Hartmann Grisar, Luther (London, 1913-1917), I, 110 ff.; VI, chap. xxxvi, discusses many of these views but Grisar takes a more moderate stand. The most recent Catholic biography is that of Joseph Lortz, Die Reformation in Deutschland, which is a very model of reasonableness.

58. Amer. Jour. Psychology, XXIV (1913), 360-77.

59. Hausrath, Luthers Leben (Berlin, 1905); Reiter, Martin Luthers Umwelt, Charakter und Psychose (Copenhagen, 1937, 1941); Wilhelm Lange-Eichbaum, Genie, Irrsinn und Ruhm (4th
ed, Munich, 1956), pp. 375-78. See also Walther von Loewenich, "Zehn Jahre Lutherforschung," in Theologie und Liturgie, ed. Liemar Hennig (Cassell, 1952), pp. 119-70 and Martin Werner, "Psychologisches zum Klostererlebnis Martin Luthers," Schweiz. Zeitsch. für Psychologie, VII (1948), 1-18, who follows Smith's thesis closely. The argument hinges on the harshness of Luther's upbringing and the extent of his father fixation. Smith noted that on at least one occasion Luther asserted that he had entered the monastery to escape harsh treatment at home. His father's unalterable opposition to this step may have played a part in Luther's later decision to leave the monastery. According to Roland H. Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther (New York, 1950), pp. 288 ff., Luther's decision (in 1525) to marry was at least in part due to his
wish to gratify his father's desire for progeny. Recent writers tend to explain away the harshness of Luther's youth, which indeed was probably less unusual and less important than Smith supposed. See Otto Scheel, Martin Luther (Tübingen, 1916); Böhmer, Martin Luther; Meissinger, Der katholische Luther; Robert H. Fife, The Revolt of Martin Luther (New York, 1957), pp. 5, 9, 99, 117 ff.; Bainton, Here I Stand, pp. 23, 25, 28 and chap. xxi passim, who insists that Luther's psychological troubles were of a strictly religious character, due to "tensions which medieval religion deliberately induced, playing alternately upon fear and hope."

More recently there have been other books on Luther which have confirmed much of what the two priests originally said:

Luther: An Experiment in Biography by Richard Marius (1975)

Luther: the Man and the Image by Herbert David Rix (1985)

Luther: The Christian between God and Death by Richard Marius (1999)

Here is a compilation of many worrisome statements by Luther that his defenders wish he had not written:

But still, Mr. Swan is on a one-man crusade to ignore this strand of modern scholarship and discredit people like me who want this information more widely disseminated. He insists that Fr. Lortz gives a more balanced picture of Luther and that all the rest of us are loony bigots. He dismisses scholars like Fr. Denifle, Fr. Grisar. Prof Smith, Dr. Reiter, Dr. Rix, Dr. Marius, etc. with a wave of his hand and we are supposed to believe that Luther was a great Christian hero who championed truth, justice, and the German way! We poor benighted Catholics need to get on the bandwagon and march to a Lutheran beat of rampant amoralism, purely forensic justification, and a religion based solely on what we have decided that we want to believe for ourselves.

And a Nazi shall lead the way...

Well, I think Mr. Swan needs a reality check. My pointing out Fr. Lortz's Nazi sympathies is not a mere ad hominem dismissal. Nazism -- as all ideologies -- had intellectual consequences and, as a Nazi, Lortz's admiration for Luther was not merely based on "fairness" or "scholarship". It was politically motivated and was a direct outgrowth of his Nazi ideology and Pan-German idealism.

The Nazi's LOVED Martin Luther. He was to them a great German hero who resisted the corrupting influence of non-Germanic outsiders like the Pope and the Southern European non-Aryan masses. Catholicism was to them an effeminate religion. Luther with his boldness and his support of unrestricted force (including rape, torture, mutilation, and execution) by the German Princes against the peasantry was their kind of guy. Luther was also a vituperate anti-Semite and recommended putting Jews to the sword in some of his writings. From a Nazi perspective, what's not to love?

There is a book Martin Luther: Hitler's Spiritual Ancestor by Peter F. Wiener that was published during WWII in England which is available free online which speaks about the admiration both Hitler and the Nazis had for Luther. You can read it here:

William Shirer in his magnum opus The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich also repeats this charge.

And then there is Karl Barth, the great Swiss Protestnst theolgoian. He had been teaching in Germany when the Nazis took over and he was instrumental in composing the Barmen Church Declaration which stated that Christianity and Nazism were incompatible. For his part in this, Barth was targeted for elimination and had to flee to Switzerland for his life.

Protestant scholar Robert McAfee Brown, wrote in Kairos: Three Prophetic Challenges to the Church, (Grand Rapids, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1990):

“Almost immediately after Hitler's seizure of power in 1933, Protestant Christians faced pressure to "aryanize" the Church, expel Jewish Christians from the ordained ministry and adopt the Nazi "Führer Principle" as the organizing principle of church government. In general, the churches succumbed to these pressures, and some Christians embraced them willingly. The pro-Nazi "German Christian" movement became a force in the church. They glorified Adolf Hitler as a "German prophet" and preached that racial consciousness was a source of revelation alongside the Bible. But many Christians in Germany—including Lutheran and Reformed, liberal and neo-orthodox—opposed the encroachment of Nazi ideology on the Church's proclamation. At Barmen, this emerging "Confessing Church" adopted a declaration drafted by Reformed theologian Karl Barth and Lutheran theologian Hans Asmussen, which expressly repudiated the claim that other powers apart from Christ could be sources of God's revelation. Not all Christians courageously resisted the regime, but many who did—like the Protestant pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Roman Catholic priest Bernhard Lichtenberg—were arrested and executed in concentration camps.”

Karl Barth argued that the Lutheran doctrine of the Two Swords made German Lutherans more susceptable to totalitarian takeovers and more passive towards unjust actions by the state. This doctrine originated with Luther himself. During the Reformation, political passivity and absolute support of the Prince/state to keep order was one of the prices that Lutherans had to pay in order to win the nobility away from Catholicism. By saying that Church and State wielded separate "swords" and that the Church should not interfere in state matters desensitized many Lutherans towards the horrors of the Nazi system. Around 85% of Lutheran ministers joined the pro-Nazi German Christian movement and large numbers of them wore Nazi regalia in the pulpit while preaching on Sunday.

For a balanced view of this complex historical issue see:

There is further evidence of the Nazi appropriation of Luther. Consecrated in 1935, the Martin Luther Memorial Church still stands in Berlin. Originally the Church bells and altar contained the swastika, but they were later removed because of post-war law that outlaws swastikas in Germany. Nevertheless, the church still retains many of the Nazi symbols and icons, including a muscular Aryan Jesus, Iron cross chandeliers, statues of Nazi stormtroopers, and a bust of Adolf Hitler. During the 30s, Nazi party members made up two thirds of the church attendance, where they also baptized their children.

The above picture from the church shows Nazi Soldiers and Aryan women surrounding a muscular Aryan Christ.

And above we have Adolph Hitler's likeness carved into the baptismal font. He is holding an SS serivce cap with a death's head emblem on the brim.

And here is a Nazi Luthertag [Luther Day] Commemorative Badge struck for Germany's Martin Luther Day on 10th November 1933. Strictly speaking not a Nazi award but, nevertheless, it was issued after Hitler's rise to power. Broad segments of the Nazi Party participated in Luther Day ceremonies across Germany every year.

Here are some quotations from Nazis about Luther especially highlighting his antipathy for Jews:

Luther was openly praised by Hitler in Mein Kampf. He referred to Martin Luther as a great warrior, a true statesmen, and a great reformer, alongside Richard Wagner and Frederick the Great. Here are some statements in this book about the Jews:

NB: This is the same book to which Fr. Lortz gave a glowing review.

The point of all this is to show that Fr. Lortz as a Nazi party member did not approach his study of Luther with scholarly detachment. He was motivated ideologically and politically to see Luther as not only a great man, but a great German, and a forerunner of Nazi ideology up to including its nacent anti-Semitism. Even after the war, Fr. Lortz continued to support a strong political leadership with totalitarian authority and found the democracies weak and ineffective. He had the same agenda for unifying Europe based upon Germanic Culture, an agenda that was not merely eurocentric but chauvinistic. He longed for the pre-Renaissance period in European history when the First Reich flourished. And he was still suspicious of foreign cultural influences. In essence, after World War II, Fr. Lortz was promoting the same things as a cure for the ennui of modernity that he had been advocating when the Nazis were in power except without the Swatikas, goose-stepping, and cool uniforms. And he never to my knowledge apologized for his involvement in Nazism. He just tried to "explain" it.

Meet the new Lortz: same as the old Lortz.

In summary, Fr. Lortz ignored a long standing school of Luther studies which had deep roots among Catholic scholars and replaced it instead with a "new direction" which just so happended to coincide with the Nazi appropriation of Luther as a German cultural icon. Meanwhile, support for the older critical view of Luther was growing even among Protestant scholars like Marius.

I proudly stand in the tradition of Fr. Denifle et al and I warn people that the foundation of the Protestant Deformation was in the psychopathology of one man-- Martin Luther -- whose melancholy and bipolar disorder touched a personal chord with many Northern Europeans but which had NOTHING to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It caused them to revolt against historic Christianity and to invent a new family of disparate religions that catered to bourgeosie morality and subjective personal needs, and not to either theological integrity or moral rectitude.

Fr. Lortz revolted against that tradition for political reasons and made excuses for Luther and Lutheranism in support of Nazism and its political agenda. As a Nazi, he saw Luther as a spiritual ancestor and forerunner of German cultural supremacy. Lortz's support of Nazism must be seen also as a support for all the horrors that the Nazis perpetrated on their world and the Nazis justified their program in part by referring back to Martin Luther and his teachings.

I leave it to my readers to decided which of us made the correct choice, and whose assessment of Luther is the most credible.