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Bachmann, Lutherans, and Catholicism: commentators' observations

July 22, 2011

Mollie Ziegler Hemingway had already commented for GetReligion on the brouhaha that arose when Atlantic reporter Joshua Green noticed that Rep. Michele Bachmann once belonged to a Lutheran church whose statement of faith identified the papacy with Antichrist.

Now, writing for a larger audience in the Wall Street Journal, she notes with amusement that political reporters, not ordinarily known for their commitment to the faith, have suddenly begun “defending the papacy as if they were the Vatican’s own Swiss Guard.” If they were better informed about religious matters, she observes, they would notice that Lutherans are more sympathetic toward Catholicism than other Protestant groups: for instance, they believe that Catholics are Christians—more than some fundamentalists will concede.

Francis Beckwith, in The Catholic Thing, congratulates Joshua Green for noticing that the Reformation took place. To be fair, he writes, if the Lutheran’s group’s official credo is offensive to Catholics, one should also recognize that some formal Catholic teachings might be offensive to Lutherans—for example, “the Catholic Church affirms that Protestant denominations, like the Lutherans, are not real churches.”


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