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Martin Luther

by Erik Von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

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  • Description:
    The author dismisses several "legends" about Martin Luther, and discusses how his evolving ideas impacted Western civilization and culture.
  • Larger Work:
    Faith & Reason
  • Pages: 185-200
  • Publisher & Date:
    Christendom Press, Fall 1996

Four hundred fifty years ago one of the most important men in Western history died. However, his ideas, his convictions, his words had much less effect on our culture and civilization than did their evolution, especially under the impact of the First Enlightenment 350 years later.

G. P. Gooch was very right when he wrote that "the true nature of the Reformation is not found in its intention, but in its results,"[1] and that "not only is the Reformer not the doctrine, but the doctrine itself is found to contain much that its author never could or never cared to find in it."[2] Hence in order to judge Luther nothing could be more erroneous than to apply to him the tendency to project the present character of the Reformation faiths on the Reformers. Just imagine how Luther or Calvin would react to the World Council of Churches, the late Norman Vincent Peale, or the "social gospel" advocates of Union Theological Seminary.

About Luther we have two legends and these are not too far apart: according to one, popular among rightist Catholics, there is a straight line from Luther to the French Revolution, Marx, and Lenin; the other one, enthusiastically affirmed by many Reformed Christians, claims that Luther and Calvin are responsible for democracy, republicanism, freedom, Enlightenment, progress, individualism, and perhaps also socialized medicine, psychoanalysis, "freelove" and the Manchester School of Economics. These concepts are not so different because mutually the one is the caricature of the other.[3]

In my younger years I met fellow Catholics who saw Luther's Reformation in a way which I am tempted to satirize thus: There were the wonderful, wonderful Middle Ages, the "Ages of Faith," but then, after the fall of Constantinople, came these degenerate Greek scholars with suitcases full of evil books and statues of naked women. They poisoned the spirit of the Middle Ages, preached individualism and license, and launched the wicked Renaissance. People suddenly wanted to be free politically, socially, economically, and on the crest of freedom there appeared magically Martin Luther saying that freedom in all these domains was perfectly right, but what about religious freedom? People applauded him and thus the Reformation was on its way.

Needless to say, this sort of picture is blatant nonsense, because the Renaissance starts well before the arrival of the refugees from the East: it had its roots in the fourteenth, if not in the thirteenth century. Petrarch and Boccaccio (who died in the odor of sanctity) were early Renaissance men. Yet in Northern Europe the Middle Ages continued longer than in the South: there Humanism[4] was a purely literary, not a general cultural, phenomenon. When, therefore, Martin Luther, Doctor of Theology and priest of the Order of the Augustinian Hermits, came to Rome late in 1510, he was for the first time in his life confronted with the Renaissance—and this gave him a decisive trauma. He was not (as a pious legend likes to have it) shocked by profligacy and promiscuity, since the Middle Ages put very little emphasis on carnal vices: temperentia was, according to St. Thomas, the lowliest virtue. The German scene, moreover, was in this respect no better than the Italian. What really gave this truly pious monk a jolt was the revival of Antiquity—financed, abetted, and fostered by the Papacy. Of paganism Luther had until his dying days a real profound horror. After three days of hotly debating with Martin Luther in Marburg the nature of the Eucharist, Huldreich Zwingli, the Swiss Reformer, gripped Luther's hands and said: "Here we're fighting. Doctor Martinus, but, thank God, one nice day we both will be dead and then in Heaven we shall know the Truth, walking with the great sages, with Socrates, Plato, Aristotle . . ."

"Doctor Zwingli," Luther interrupted him rudely, "They were pagans; they were not baptized; they are roasting in the everlasting fires of Hell."

"But they were good men, were virtuous and followed their consciences."

"If you talk like this, you're not a Christian—and I regret to have wasted my time with you," Luther snapped back. This put an end to the discussion.

The battle with Tetzel about the Indulgences was surely only the straw that broke the camel's back. Luther's critique of the Church was primarily based on her anthropocentric this-worldliness, her rationalistic intellectualism, her being drunk with art and beauty, her veneration of Saints and contempt for secular power. Luther's religiosity, after all, came from the great German mystics, but he was also a young professor in a brand-new, small university on the very confines of Germanic civilization: from the walls of Wittenberg one could see the thatched roofs of the Wendic peasants huts—and nobody in Wittenberg who had a Slav grandparent could be a member of the guilds. The Germans there were pioneers.

Luther, who had read little of the Schoolmen, was, as a profoundly religious and pious person, an enemy of Scholasticism which had greatly profited from Aristotelian philosophy. Reason to him was a whore, a donkey one could drive in this or that direction. That battle-cry of Calvin was Soli Deo Gloria, "Glory to God alone," but it also could have been Luther's to whom Faith, a blind Faith if you like, was everything. We will be saved, he argued not by reason, not by good works, but sola fide, by Faith alone—by a Faith based on God's revealed word, on the Bible, which he translated into the most beautiful German. Thus he made the idiom of Thuringia-Saxony the standard language of the Germanies, just as Dante made Tuscan the language of the Apennine Peninsula. It is a fairy tale, however, that he gave the Bible to "the people"; many German translations had been made and printed before him.[5]

It is equally a legend that Luther (or other Reformers) created our "individualism," that Luther made the exegesis of the Bible a purely personal matter (so-called "private interpretation"), that he introduced the "priesthood of all believers," that he abolished auricular confession, approved of divorce, promoted liberalism and democracy, fulminated against the veneration of the Virgin Mary, or opposed the Latin liturgy. Luther believed sacredly in Infallibility—not of the pope, but his own. "He who does not follow my doctrine cannot be saved," was his dictum, and "Not even the angels have a right to judge my teachings." The priesthood of all believers is an old Catholic tenet, clearly expressed in the basileion hierateuma, the royal priesthood of all believers (I Peter 2:9), reaffirmed by Thomas Aquinas who called all Christians "Kings and Priests." The Christian, according to Catholic conviction, is per se a noble person, weakened by Original Sin, but not a total wretch. Any Catholic can baptize, impart the Sacrament of Marriage, and, in an emergency, distribute Holy Communion. We had in Japan an underground Church for more than 260 years without a single priest, existing on two Sacraments only: Baptism and Marriage.

Still, Luther went to auricular Confession every week of his life; confessionals were removed from Lutheran churches only towards the end of the eighteenth century. Luther was no "Anti-Marianist" (as some Catholics seem to be today). And prefacing the Deutsche Messe, he wrote in 1525 that he translated the Mass into German because some young people and the country folk understood no Latin, but he was convinced that the Latin Mass would always be the uniting bond of all Christians. In the Confessio Augustana, auricular confession still figures as a Sacrament. All of the above make one wonder whether Martin Luther was a Lutheran. Once, in his advanced age, while distributing the Lord's Supper, his hand trembled and a few drops fell from the chalice to the ground; he rushed back to the altar upon which he placed the chalice, went back to the spot where the accident had happened, and, kneeling, licked the drops from the carpet. The chronicler tells us that at the sight of the holy man humiliating himself, the congregation burst into tears. Divorce and remarriage? Luther might have winked at bigamy in one regrettable case, but he definitely believed in the indissolubility of marriage.

All this does not mean that Luther clung to Catholic orthodoxy. On the issue of free will he (as an extreme Augustinian) yielded to predestination; but Melanchton, his profoundly Humanistic disciple, prevented this tenet from being included in the Augustana (also since it would have made eventual Reunion utterly impossible). Luther was convinced that the Pope is Antichrist. He thought that priestly celibacy (required by the largest of the 13 Catholic rites) was too heavy a cross to bear; he insisted that marriage is "a worldly thing," he had a certain racial bias (especially against Slavs and Latins), was a furious Jew-baiter, and thought very little of the common man, but saw in the secular rulers dii, 'gods'. Luther was by no means a "modern man": he firmly believed in the persecution of witches and sorcerers, thought that the ideas of Canon Copernicus were dangerous mischief, and was obsessed by fear of the Devil. There is, indeed, a certain satanocentric aspect to his outlook. The title "First Modern Man" has with much more justification been given to Nikolaus of Kues (Nicolaus Cusanus) rather than to Luther. The Reformers in many ways helped to continue the Middle Ages. Faced with Roman "Modernism" they wanted to go back to earlier, purer forms of Christianity, not sullied by a revival of paganism. This is clearly the way they saw the issue. They were the "conservatives." They were—in a certain limited way—the Lefebvres of their day, and tried to stop a development, an evolution which still went on in the remaining Catholic areas.

This identification of Catholicity—that is to say, all-embracing, non-exclusive universality—with "rank paganism" or, at least, with pagan accretions, is an error, though a very understandable error. Men like Marsiglio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, or Vittorino da Feltre were ardent Christians, though it must be admitted that in the late Renaissance we also find non-Christians like Giodana Bruno. "Catholicity" does imply the incorporation and amalgamation anywhere of anything true and beautiful, regardless of its origin. Vide the Vatican Museum! However, the Reformers were rigorists, not liberals or democrats. Their vision not so "unnaturally" was that of a secular monastery peopled by men and women with a strong inner Christian experience leading strictly Christian lives. Sebastian Franck, who followed Luther for a while, exclaimed: "You think that you have escaped the monastery, but now everybody has to be a monk the rest of his life."[6] Puritanism had always a strongly pseudo-monastic aspect.

The Reformation, it hardly can be doubted, asked too much from the average Christian: to lead an intensely Christian life unaided by a Christian culture and civilization with all its artistic and intellectual values. More than that, on account of this harsh separation between the secular and the spiritual, the latter (religion, art, intellectuality) entered a real crisis. Art, after all, has been called God's grandchild and it is significant, to quote just one example, that the first Lutheran church built since the Reformation in a city as large as Leipzig was erected only in 1870.[7] Tourism in Europe flows from the Reformed countries to the Catholic ones—not vice versa. Alexander Rustow has shown us unequivocally how the Reformation put an end to German painting which had such a wonderful start at the very beginning of the sixteenth century.[8] Indeed, in the countries of the Reformation, the word, especially the printed word,[9] had its great opportunity: literature continued to flourish, but not the creative arts. (Even J. S. Bach still composed Masses.) And, of course, law and technology, the natural sciences, and mathematics thrived. It suffices to compare the legacy of Britain and the Netherlands in North America with that of the Iberian nations in Central and South America. Still, one must admit that in this and in other respects there has been a difference between the Lutheran, the Calvinist, and the English Reformation. He who wants to enjoy genuine medieval art in Germany had better go to the pre-Reformation Lutheran churches where art was frozen at the Reformation level. Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo hardly affected their interior decoration as it did in the Catholic church buildings. In the Calvinist regions the old interiors were systematically and barbarously destroyed, though the heartrending mutilations in French churches were admittedly not only the work of Calvinists but also of the democrats of 1793 vintage who were postmasters in defiling tombs and mausolea as well.

This means, in other words, that the Reformation basically remained wedded to the Middle Ages and thus to the Gothic style. The key to an understanding of the Catholic World is an understanding and appreciation of the Renaissance and its following periods: Baroque and Rococo. There is only one Catholic nation which never went through these transformations and that is Ireland. As a result the Irish Catholic Church anywhere is non-typical for the Orbis Catholicus. In the United States, for instance, until a generation or two ago, he who wanted to build a church or a college chose either the Colonial style or went back to Gothic. He who wanted to sell candles or stained glass windows to parish administrators used preferably Gothic script. Anything religious had to be "Gothic." Everett Dean Martin, a Congregationalist minister, said succinctly in his Liberty: "Coming to America when they did, our Colonial ancestors, who gave to the country its traditions of culture and liberty, missed the liberalizing influences of the Renaissance.[10] And D. H. Lawrence called the Pilgrim Fathers "black masterful men who sailed over the black sea" and "wanted no more of this 'new humanity' which followed the Renaissance. None of this new liberty which was to be so pretty in Europe. Something grimmer, by no means free-and-easy."[11]

Medieval civilization was essentially like a circle with God as its center. The Renaissance could be better compared to an elliptic symbol with two focal points: God and Man. I am tempted to see Catholic culture epitomized in Botticelli's The Birth of Venus. This is a Christian, a baptized, Venus with all the goodness and charity of Christianity in her face. (Do not forget that Botticelli was a profoundly pious man!) On the other hand, I would see the symbol of the Reformation in American Gothic by Grant Wood. It represents discipline, severity, hard work, and has no trace of the Epicurean dolce vita which characterizes the Catholic World.[12]

From all this it seems that there are two aspects of the Reformation to be kept in mind. First of all, it attains only with Calvin its full scope. There is no Calvin without Luther, but without Calvinism the Reformation would probably have remained a purely Germanic affair, whereas with Calvin it gained a worldwide dimension. With his rejection of the Real Presence in the Eucharist and his triumphant affirmation of Predestination, this founder of the first totalitarian state in Christianity was a great deal more radical than Luther. Calvinism is also at the bottom of the Reformation in Britain. There we have not only Presbyterianism, but also—in the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England—a watered down version of Calvinism. Of all the Reformation faiths, Lutheranism, and not Anglicanism, still stands nearest to the Catholic Church—the amazing variety of "Anglicanisms" notwithstanding.

The second important item is the fact that the United States is a far more "Protestant"[13] country than any other one in the world. In Europe's North the Catholic past is ever-present. Except St. Paul's in London, the great cathedrals and churches belonging at present to the New Faith have an origin antedating the Reformation. In the United States, on the other hand, the religions of the Reformation could practically start on a clean sheet. (Only the southwest forms an exception.) Puritanism and anti-intellectualism, so dear to the Reformation, could develop there much more freely.[14] This was helped also by the fact that American Catholics, for a long time, occupied a socially rather humble position, a situation which has changed only in our day.[15]

The real change in the Mundus Reformatus occurred with the Enlightenment, which in Europe (far more so than in North America) turned the Reformation faiths into their very opposite. To Luther, we have to bear in mind, the world was the Devil's Inn (des Teufals Wirtshaus). The Catholics, however, tried to baptize the world, to fashion and to refashion it, sometimes admittedly ignoring the world's wickedness.[16] The Reformers, cultivating a purely interiorized faith with a minimum of symbols and visual expressions, had come to a breaking point when the First Enlightenment set in. Unitarianism of the American version was one of its products.[17] All this goes hand in hand with a waning of religious sentiment. And a parallel, although weaker, process has taken place in our days as a result of the Second Enlightenment in the aftermath of Vatican II in the Catholic world.

The Reformation faiths, once pillars of patriotism, aristocratic elitism, and conservatism, have become largely, though not exclusively, supporters of democracy, pseudo-liberalism, and other milder forms of leftism, while Catholic nations are tending towards extremes.[18] To Luther, such an evolution would have been an abomination. He had a real contempt for the common man (Herr Omnes) and his insistence on the state's authority never wavered.

Let us bear in mind that in the Catholic world with its glorification of man, which, to a large degree, also exists in the Eastern Church (theosis!), there was always a marked trend towards anarchy and Anarchism! Even in the United States Anarachists were, as a rule, of Irish, Latin, or Slav extraction. On the Continent "black" is the symbol of Catholics, Catholic-dominated parties, and of Anarchists.[19]

Yet Luther is actually very distant from our times, which he succeeded in fashioning radically but only indirectly, and he is very different from the various popularized images: the neurotic who merely wanted to marry a nun; the ascetic idealist who defied Emperor and Pope saying (allegedly), "Here I take a stand and cannot do otherwise"; the kind, liberal founder of modern freedom, tolerance, democracy, internationalism, and female emancipation; the grim ancestor of Hitler, Himmler, Eichmann, and Heydrich. Of course, there are some dark aspects to Martin Luther, for instance, his inordinate non-racist but religious hatred for the Jews, whom he wanted to put into labor-battalions to let them work "in the sweat of their nostrils." Why? They had rejected his outstretched hand and his call for conversion. Since Luther was convinced that the Pope is Antichrist and because, according to tradition, the conversion of the Jews heralded the Day of Judgment, he published a pamphlet inviting the Jews to the baptismal font. Had they accepted his offer, he would have proved his point against the Papacy, but the Jews failed to react and this infuriated him enormously. Thus he became even more anti-Jewish than Marx or Engels. And the behavior of the revolutionary peasants as well as of the Anabaptists equally outraged him as a Man of Law and Order. He protested that the Anabaptists were not properly tortured!

Luther was a high-strung and temperamental person, as many a man of genius—which he undoubtedly was. He was a monk who had broken his bonds, and not a cold spirit like John Calvin who, as a lawyer, had more of a legal mind than Luther who had broken up his study of Law. Luther was not the author of a compact theological treatise like Calvin's Institutions, but he had written and spoken a tremendous amount. In 1989, the Bohlau Publishing Company, founded 1654 in Weimar, brought out the 107th and last big volume (about 600 pages each) of the "Complete Critical Edition" which they had started issuing in 1883—which only shows what great effort is necessary to grasp Luther's personality.

Martin Luther emerges from these pages a truly pious, truly religious, devoted, but very emotional man, with a definite leaning towards melancholia. He gained weight later in life and, aging prematurely, he became despondent if not, at times, desperate.[20] There were severe splits in the Reformation faiths and the Counter-Reformation was already under way. Only about half of the German people adhered permanently to the Reformation, none of the German bishops embraced Lutheranism,[21] and when Luther died in 1546 it became evident that his work remained a fragment. He who knows his life well realizes that he was, after all, a great, but tragic figure. The very sanguinary wars of religion in the heart of Europe continued fully one hundred years after his death. Foreign armies intervened and devastated the Germanies: between one third and one half of the population perished.

It would, however, be erroneous to describe the Reformation as a mainly political event or to see in Luther a selfish philistine and materialist. Kierkegaard, with too little knowledge of the real Luther, rejected him as a dreary, narrow bourgeois, a deplorable projection of Danish mid-nineteenth century Lutheran church life into the sixteenth century. The Reformation activated a great religious fervor, especially among the nonintellectuals. The main figures of Humanism—Erasmus, Reuchlin, Pirckheimer, Adelsmann—were enthusiastic about Luther's early moves but parted with him decidedly when they saw his final direction; the university cities too were very much holding back and showed no enthusiasm.[22] Enlightenment and the following thorough secularization, unfortunately, gripped Evangelical Germany, where evanescing religion created a vacuum far more so than the "backward" Catholic domains. National Liberalism and, later, Socialism and National Socialism, entered powerfully into this wasteland. Here lies a tragic fatality of the Reformation.[23] Luther, whatever his hostility against the Jews, would have loathed the brown mass-movement. His political loyalty belonged to rulers, not to popular leaders. Yet the National-Socialists fully exploited his anti-Jewish writings.

Nietzsche was convinced that the Reformation "regrettably" gave a new lease on life to Christianity. "That bigoted monk," he said, did not let Christianity evaporate in the beauty of the Renaissance. This is, obviously, a fausse idee claire. But it is certainly true that the Reformation brutally forced the Catholic Church to reconsider her tenets and positions: there was the Council of Trent and a return to the qualities so sadly lacking in the Orbis Catholicus: discipline, order, obedience. Intelligent Catholics today look at the Reformation with a speculative eye: God let it happen as He permitted also the East-West Schism of 1054. The history of Christendom has, indeed, to be viewed from the point of view of Divine Economy. In the Germanies, where the Lutheran Reformation had taken place, the ecumenical spirit is much stronger than elsewhere: the dialogue between the two faiths which always had been carried in a low murmur is continued today in distinct voices and has assumed very practical, visible, and tangible forms. Yet it also must be conceded that in the very heart of Europe, unlike in Britain or France, there were no martyrs on either side. Still— we are now speaking from a global point of view—the animosity between Rombe, Wittenberg, and Geneva has always been less vocal on the Roman side.[24] Aristotle has told us that there is a greater affection of parents for their children than vice versa. Modern Catholic authors speak with much greater sympathy about Luther than Luther ever did about the papacy after 1520.

Luther has asked the Catholic Church many questions which, so far, have only been imperfectly answered. There are human, there are religious values which among the Reformed faiths have been better developed than in the Catholic world. If Reunion comes, and we all fervently hope and pray for it, Catholics do not expect that their Christian brethren will come with empty hands, as already years ago the late Cardinal Doepfner said in East Berlin's St. Hedwig Cathedral.

Georges Bernanos in his famous novel Diary of a Country Priest describes two priests talking about the tragic Reformer. "'Do you pray for Luther?' I asked him. '"Every day,' he replied. 'And besides, my name is Martin, like his. "'[25]

It is certain that Luther was a real wrestler with Christ and had followed his conscience. "Luther is obsessed by the desire to find the peace of his heart in a live, warm, and consoling embrace with God," wrote the Dominican Congar.[26] His work, however can only be judged subspecie aeternitatis. Yet this is God's privilege.

From an evolutionary and historical point of view it is evident that the tragedy of the Reformation—a tragedy after all— proved an enormous boon to the Church Catholic. Due to Luther there has been no Church Council more important and productive than the Council of Trent, which gave our Church the very profile[27] we have now. (Melanchthon, the Humanist, wanted to attend it and was on his way when he heard that it was again adjourned, as had happened several times.) Here we have to bear in mind that our Church is not "conservative," but as a live body "additive," something the Reformers never understood. The Church is a building on foundations laid down by Our Lord, but growing in height, keeping the real Deposit of Faith, but shedding temporary outside accretions (as for instance the prohibition of "usury," lasting centuries, which for God are not even split-seconds). Stat Crus dum volvitur orbis.

Endnotes

1 Cf. G.P. Gooch, English Democratic Ideas in the 17th Century (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1959), p. 2.

2 Ibid., pp. 7-9.

3 If we exclude mini-nations we find that of the seven European monarchies five are fueled by Reformation Faith Christians. (Until 15 years ago the record was five to one.)

4 The use of the word "Humanism" for atheism in English-speaking countries shows us the full extent of the semantic chaos prevailing there. St. Thomas More might turn in his grave. Other confusions exist in neighboring domains, thus "holocaust" in Greek means really a pious offering to the gods for their aid; "liberalism" is a political and economic trend bitterly opposed to socialism and the provider state ("welfare state" is a misnomer); and, last but not least, the translation of the words ioudaioi or iudaei with "Jews" is totally wrong. It should be "Judeans" and refers only to one Hebrew tribe. Here the King James and the Douai versions are guilty.

5 Prior to the Reformation there existed hundreds of various German manuscript editions of the Bible, but 14 complete ones in High-German. Moreover, four (one in Low-German) had already appeared in print.

6 Cited by Alexander Rustow, Ortsbestimmung der Gegenwart (Erienbach: Rentsch, 1952), Vol. 2, p. 291.

7 Cf. Alfred Muller-Armack, Genealogie der Wirtschaftsstile (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1941), p. 214.

8 Cf. Alexander Rustow, "Lutherana Tragoedia Artis" in Schweizer Monastshefte, XXXIX, 9 (December 1959), pp. 891-906. Rustow in his Ortsbestimmung also blames the Reformation outlook for the poor cuisine in the countries affected by the New Faith. Who would open in New York a Prussian or English restaurant?

9 There is in the Reformed countries a special respect for (and belief in) the printed word. A South-German, very much to the contrary, would use the expression: "He lies like print." Conversation there often replaces reading.

10 Cf. Everett Dean Martin, Liberty (New York: Norton, 1950), p. 79. Americans, Martin insisted, were not essentially modern (p. 91).

11 Cf. D. H. Lawrence, "Studies in Classic American Literature" in Edmund Wilson, Ed., The Shock of Recognition (Garden City: Doubleday, 1943), p. 9, II.

12 Cf. Letters from Albert Jay Nock 1924-1945 (Caldwell: L Caxton Printers, 1949), p. 96. Nock identified the couple in this painting as "Methodist or Baptist."

13 We use this contemptuous and offensive expression coined by Catholics in 1529 always in quotation marks and usually try to avoid it. The explanation that the Latin word protestare also has the meaning 'to stand witness' is false and of recent vintage. In all of Europe there was until recently only one small Church (in the Palatinate) which called itself "Protestant," but the term also appears in the British coronation ceremony to cover the sovereign's position as head of the Church of England and Church of Scotland (which is Presbyterian). The correct word, 'Evangelical,' would be confusing to Britishers and Americans alike.

14 Cf. Richard Hostadter, Anti-Intellectualism in American Life (London: J. Cape, 1964), p. 47: "In the first instance, anti-intellectualism must be sought out in the framework of our religious history."

15 In a fairly recent study by the University of Chicago, the people of Irish Catholic stock were the highest money earners in the United States, followed by the German Catholics.

16 Maritain insisted that this world is at the same time God's, Man's, and the Devil's. Cf. his Humanisme integral (Paris: Aubier, 1947), p. 114.

17 The original Unitarians of Hungary, Transylvania, and Poland were (and are) strict theists. They have an "episcopal" hierarchy. American Unitarianism is rationalistic and Emersonian.

18 Anatole France, not a Catholic but certainly the product of a Catholic culture, declared: Il n'y a de supportable que les choses extremes. The Reformers themselves would probably not have protested against this statement: most of their heirs would today.

19 The CDU and CSU voters of Germany, in their majority Catholics, are also referred to as "Blacks." Hence the car-sticker printed by the CSU Youth Union with the (English) text: "Black is Beautiful."

20 Vide the conversation between Luther and Melanchthon in 1538 recorded by Lauterbach and cited by Lucien Febvre, Un Destin: Martin Luther (Paris: Presses Universitaires, 1945), p. 200.

21 Hence there were no Lutheran bishops in Germany until 1933 when Hitler imposed them on the Evangelical Church in preparation for the

establishment of a "German Church" amalgamating both faiths. (It did not work out.) In the Scandinavian Lutheran Churches the episcopal system, however, survived from the Catholic past.

22 Cf. Herbert Schoffler, Die Reformation (Frankfurt a.M.: Klostermann, n.d.), p. 50 sq.

23 The National Socialist vote came overwhelmingly from the Lutheran districts. Vide the statistical maps in my Liberty or Equality? (Christendom Press: Front Royal, 1994), between pp. 224 and 225. Ideologically, the voters came largely from the liberal democratic parties of the center.

24 A Catholic counterpart to Maria Monk would be quite unthinkable. To the average Catholic "Protestantism" is mini-Christianity, to the average "Protestant" the Catholic faith is semi-Paganism.

25 Cf. G. Bernanos, Journal d 'un cure de campagnei (Paris: Plon, 1936), p. 74.

26 Cf. J.M. Congar, OP. Chretiens desunis (Paris: Cerf, 1937), p. 23.

27 E. I. Watkin in his brilliant Catholic Art and Culture (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1944), p. 127, declared Baroque as the Catholic art— not Gothic or Romanesque!


Erik R. von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Ph.D., has taught at several colleges and universities in the U.S. He is the author of numberous books and articles in English, German, and French, and lectures extensively throughout the world.

© Faith & Reason, Christendom Press, 2101 Shenandoah Shores Road, Ft. Royal, VA 22630, 703-636-2900, Fax 703-636-1655.

 

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