Thursday, June 21, 2012



Vatican Cardinal refuses to celebrate the anniversary of the Reformation

The head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Kurt Koch refuses to celebrate the anniversary of the Reformation. According to the Cardinal, the 500th anniversary of the Reformation – the events that split the Catholic church can not be called a holiday. According to German site, Koch categorizes the date of coming as a “remembrance of the Reformation”.

“We can not celebrate sin” – said the cardinal, and added that he was aware of the fact that after this speech can be branded “anti-ecumenical”.

Koch counts instead of the celebration to attend the “bilateral plea” following the example of John Paul II, who in 2000 apologized for the mistakes and sins of the Catholic Church for 2000 years . At the same time John Paul II condemned the schism in the Christian world.


Templar said...

The Reformation was a sin. Heresy is a sin, yes?

Pater Ignotus said...

And the behaviour of those involved, on both sides, was, at times, sinful, yes.

Templar said...

There he goes again. Why do yo always wish to portray some sort of Moral Equivalency between things which are inherently good and evil? The leaders of the Reformation were Heretics, there's nothing good there. That makes them the bad guys. But you want to blur that, and cloud the issue, by saying both sides bahaved badly. Sure they did, but so what? Behaving badly in defense of good is a sin, but it's not Heresy. Sin within the Church can be absloved, Heresy outside the Church is a ticket to Hell. There is no equivalency there and I can't stand how your kind are always trying to imply there is.

Andy Milam said...

I'm on board with Card. Koch. It wasn't a Reformation, it was a Revolt.

Bottom line...heretics got their day and have not looked is a sin.

I will not be celebrating the Protestant Revolt either.

Marc said...

Bravo to this Cardinal for speaking the Truth!

The difference, Pater, is the behavior of all heretics is sinful. What exactly do you see as equivalently sinful from the Catholic side of the Prot Revolt?

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

I doubt if Ignotus has ever read a book on the history of the Reformation...

Marc said...

I'll recommend to everyone an excellent book called Seven Lies About Catholic History. It is short and easy to read even for those of us that aren't historians and don't remember high school history class.

The book dispels myths about the Reformation and the Inquisition, among other things.

Ostro Picta said...

The Christian heresies all have the common thread of trying to lead people to a much “holier life.” But it is always in a misguided direction from our faith’s given truth and compassion. Heresies (and the unpleasant reactions to them) seem to come down to “us vs. them” in an attempt to be holier than our neighbor.

All one has to do is to look at the various papal courts directly before (and into the Counter Reformation) to see where anger at the Church comes from in relation to the Reformation. It is very difficult for anyone to take a faith seriously (and to put that faith into action) when the most important leaders of the Church are marred in all sorts of shenanigans and graft. And, of course, all this has its roots in the complicated regional politics of the day. If only Cardinal Pole came-off his Plantagenet airs and campaigned (like everyone else who mattered) for the papacy, compassion (and sanity) might have reigned (for a time) instead of religious extremism mixed with personal “tit for tat” politics (now here is an American based sentiment, lol).

And, purely on a human level, I think it would be easier to accept not receiving an annulment from Benedict XVI then Clement VII (joke).

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

Ostro, That is a very good observation...most heresies began with great theological intentions.

Now, regarding the Reformation and protestant heresy...there are some things that need to be kept in mind. Luther, for many years, never considered himself to be anything but a Catholic Priets who got in trouble with the Pope. It was much later that he renounced his vows and went over the top. He never gave up his belief in the Real Presence, his veneration of the Blessed Virgin, or his Creed-based theology. His heresies were dogmatic, not theological.
Calvin, 25 years Luther's junior and a serious dogmatic theologian,
actually shaped most of the mainstream protestant theology we have today. Calvin was raised Catholic and scrupulously orthodox theologically, borrowing hugely from St. Augustine (yes, predestination is Augustinian) and even Aquinas. Once again, Calvin's heresies were primarily dogmatic, not theological...unless you want to argue that his rejection of free will is heresy, but I would not argue that. So, protestant theology is Trinitarian, Creedal, and Christological, which is why the Catholic Church recognizes mainstream protestant Baptisms and Confirms, rather than re-baptizes, converts from protestantism.
Thus, there is heresy with a capital "H," as in Donatus, Pelagius, Nestorius, or Arius...and there is heresy with a little "h," which primarily concerns dogmatic and polity issues.
Now, I believe that ecumenism means that all protestant denominations need to come into the Catholic Church...period... Not some watered down Catholic Church, tailored to prot sympathies (see: Novus Ordo,versus populuum, Eucharist as meal). However, I do not think we help that along by blatantly referring to them as "heretics."

Anonymous 2 said...

Thank you, Ostro and Gene, for those very interesting and informative comments that strike this observer at least as wise, balanced, and fair in their respective characterizations of the two sides involved in the tragic episode of the Reformation and its aftermath.

Is it also fair to observe that, in the dialectic of history, if I may be permitted a nod towards Hegel, the Reformation finally precipitated much needed reform in the Catholic Church in the form of the Catholic Counter-Reformation and the reforms instituted by the Council of Trent (which also, of course, condemned Protestant heresies)?

Is it further fair to say that the Reformers were, therefore, not just whiners and troublemakers but that they had legitimate grievances and valid criticisms against those human weaknesses that had betrayed Holy Mother Church and that, before the Reformation, the Church seemed unable or unwilling to address in an effective manner?

And if those two points are fairly made, then is it not also fair to say that Catholics and Protestants must share responsibility for this particular tragic division in the Body of the Faithful, as well as responsibility for taking the necessary steps to heal it, a healing which, as Gene observes, will not be accomplished so easily if we demonize those on the other side of the divide?

But – and here we go again – while full communion between Catholics and Protestants may only be possible on the terms Gene suggests, are we not then obligated to engage in an ecumenical dialogue that seeks common ground in belief and action where such common ground may legitimately be found, while of course preserving, without compromise, essential identity? And, arguably, is the same not also true for inter-faith dialogue, where the divisions among faiths are rooted in their own historical narratives also involving sin and human frailty on both sides?

In fact, isn’t seeking common ground through dialogue, and thus reducing points of contention to those that really matter, just a good general principle in any context, religious, political, social, and personal? Moreover, doesn’t such an effort, where we actually talk to one another, bring the added benefit of humanizing rather than demonizing or de-humanizing the other? Of course, those participating in any effort to find common ground have to observe certain ground rules and bring certain virtues to the effort or it will be doomed to fail.

Am I being controversial here in asking these rhetorical questions or just stating the obvious? Sometimes I honestly don’t know any more. However, I take some reassurance from my recollection that Father McDonald has stated his support for appropriate – and I stress, appropriate – ecumenical and interfaith dialogue and initiatives. And if my recollection is faulty, I trust that he will correct it.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I am very much in favor of ecumenical and interfaith dialogue and activities. I think we should have good friendships with our non-Catholic neighbors and I believe most of our parishioners do and many are in ecumenical marriages. I like praying together for certain events, such as at Thanksgiving. But more importantly we should be working together to provide for the needs of others. What Sister Elizabeth is accomplishing with DayBreak and the coalition of other Christian denominations as well as the temple and synagogue is outstanding. This is the best fruit of ecumenical and interfaith dialogue.

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

Anon2, I agree with you in principle. I just believe this "interfaith dialogue" business is a slippery slope. If the "Spirit of Vat II" is where it leads, then it is destructive of Catholic doctrine and Catholic identity. On the other hand, how can the Church be unyielding, yet inviting? I have to give Fr. MacDonald credit for, when catechumens have raised conflictual issues in RCIA, he has always managed to respond with an even hand while remaining very clear about what the Church, and he, will not compromise.
By the same token, I do not like interfaith prayer services,worship services, or stupid ecumenical dialogue. These things too often degenerate into banal, self-congratulatory "mixers" or amorphous worship buffets. The Church needs to remain in a position of strength..."you come to us, we'll help you understand and move forward."