It seems that some Catholics have gone soft on Luther.
The other day, I was speaking with a Catholic friend who told me that Luther had a lot of devotion for the Blessed Mother.
So, I decided to do a little research and see what Luther was really like.
My source is Frantz Funck-Brentano, one of the best known French historians of last century, a member of the Institut de France, and furthermore, a man whose motives are scarcely suspect, since he was a Protestant himself.
I'll cite some texts from Funck-Brentano’s Luther (Paris: Grasset, 1934).
Let us go directly to this unspeakable blasphemy: “Christ,” said Luther, “committed adultery for the first time with the woman at the well, of whom John speaks. Did they not murmur around him: ‘What then did he do with her?’ Later, he did the same with Magdalen, and shortly thereafter with the adulterous woman, whom he absolved so lightly. Thus, Christ, so pious, also had to fornicate before dying’ (Propos de Table, no. 1472, Weimar Ed. 2, 107; cf. Funck-Brentano p. 235).
Having read this, it is not surprising that Luther thinks, as Funck-Brentano points out, that “certainly God is great and powerful, good and merciful...but he is stupid – ‘Deus est stultissimus’ (Propos de Table, no. 963, Weimar Ed. 1, 487). He is a tyrant. Moses was moved by his will, acting as his lieutenant, as his hangman, and was neither surpassed by anyone nor even equaled in scaring, terrorizing, and martyring the poor world” (Funck-Brentano, p. 230).
This is strictly consistent with another of his blasphemies which makes God the one really responsible for the treason of Judas and the revolt of Adam: “Luther,” comments Funck-Brentano, “goes so far as to declare that Judas, in betraying Christ, acted under the imperious decision of the Almighty. His will (that of Judas), was directed by God; God moved him with His omnipotence. Adam himself, in the earthly paradise, was constrained to act as he did. He was placed by God in such a situation that it was impossible for him not to fall” (Funck-Brentano, p. 246).
Consistent still with this abominable sequence, Luther, in a pamphlet titled “Against the Roman Pontificate Founded by the Devil” of March 1545, called the Pope not “Holiness,” according to the custom, but “Most Infernal” and added that the Papacy had always shown itself to be bloodthirsty (Funck-Brentano, pp. 337-338).
It is no wonder that Luther, moved by such ideas, wrote to Melanchton regarding the bloody persecutions of Henry VIII against the Catholics of England: “It is licit to be wrathful when one knows what kind of traitors, thieves, and murderers the popes, their cardinals, and legates are. Would to God that many kings of England dedicate themselves to putting an end to them” (Funck-Brentano, p. 254).
For this very same reason, he also exclaimed: “Enough of words: Fire and sword! “ And he adds: “We punish thieves with the sword. Why should we not seize the pope, the cardinals, and the whole gang of the Roman Sodom and wash our hands in their blood?” (Funck-Brentano, p. 104).
Luther’s hatred accompanied him to the end of his life: Funck-Brentano affirms: “His last public sermon in Wittenberg was on January 17, 1546 – a last cry of malediction against the pope, the Sacrifice of the Mass, devotion to the Virgin” (p. 340).
So, Luther was not devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary after all.
Let's hope this post helps to set the record straight.