Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Smearing with the name Luther. . .

It seems that some Roman Catholics use the name of Luther to smear those with whom they disagree.  You can read it all here.  Robert Mickens, a radical Vatican II style Roman Catholic, has taken Francis and Benedict to task for their medievalisms (including promoting confession).

No, he called the presser to offer details about two events that are taking place in the next several days leading up to Lent. Both of them are aimed, fundamentally, at one thing — getting people to go back to confession, a practice most Catholics gave up a long, long time ago. 

Well, good luck, fellas.  Pope Francis is popular and influential, but it’s unlikely that even he will be able to spark a revival in a practice that most Catholics know (correctly) is not essential to their membership in God’s household.

His nemesis, Fr. Zuhlsdorf, called Mr. Mickens a Lutheran for his comments.  He sees him channeling Luther (who rightfully condemned the abuse of confession in which the Gospel, the absolution, was minimized and the emphasis placed upon the satisfaction).  I consider one of the greatest plagues on earth whereby you have confused the conscience of the whole world, caused so many souls to despair, and have weakened and quenched all men’s faith in Christ. (Luther’s Works Vol 34.19).  The problem with that quote is that it is ripped out of context to make it seem as if Luther were condemning confession in general and not the specific well known and well attested abuses.  Of course, you can find a juicy Luther quote about nearly everything and it is tantalizing but not reflective of what Lutherans believe, confess, and teach.

Normally I find Fr. Z an interesting read and agree with him regarding many of the problems in Rome today but his knowledge of Lutheranism is sorely lacking and his smear using the name of Luther mistakes an honest rebuke for the abuses of private confession (which Lutherans DO affirm and practice) for the whole idea of private confession (which the radical Protestants reject).  It just goes to show you that Roman Catholics are just as mixed up about Luther as they are often mixed up about their own church and its teaching.  Sadly, I wish the same could not be said of Lutherans!  The best solution for all churches is for their people to be thoroughly up on what their churches believe, confess, and teach and why.  That is the start not only of more orthodox and faithful Christians and their churches but true ecumenism (versus the watered down kind of stuff that usually parades as ecumenism).

For that matter, I am not sure any real Lutherans are wont to welcome Mr. Mickens into their communion.  Malcontents are often more trouble than they are worth and it seems that Mr. Mickens has just as much trouble with things catholic as things Roman.  I will say that nearly every Lutheran I know would agree with his distaste for relics of any kind.  They hurt more than they help the cause (now, we surely ought to be remembering the saints, giving thanks to God for their witness and faith, and following their example of faithfulness under duress but we ought to love them enough to let their bones rest in the grave even as we await with them the resurrection of the dead).

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