LOOK AT THE HISTORIC FACTS
Rev. William R. Morgan
Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church
Sir:---Your letter in this week's Look, in commendation of the article on "Differences Between Protestants And Catholics," which had appeared in a previous edition of that magazine, is an offense, to say the least. What, save ignorance or downright bigotry, or both, could have prompted your declaration that "The persecution of Protestants in Catholic countries stem from the official teaching that 'outside the Church (of Rome) there is no salvation'; (that) the blind loyalty to the hierarchy on political matters is motivated by a fear of Hell or non-existing Purgatory"?
As far as loyalty to the voice of bishops and priests is concerned, in matters of a political nature, the occasions are so rare that I can recall only one such an instance. It was regarding a matter of a moral nature, responded to by the laity on account of their love of purity. That was in opposition to a referendum to abolish a law in Massachusetts against the sale and use of contraceptives; a law that was placed in the statute books by Protestants, during the years when they stood unitedly, as do Catholics, against the exercise of the natural act in a manner that frustrates the primary end for which God made it possible.
Perhaps you know not, that the declaration there is no salvation outside the Church Christ commanded to be heard in matters of faith and morals, was addressed to persons who know that Church to be the Catholic Church.
Evidently you gleaned your knowledge of that matter from anti-Catholic sources; otherwise you would know, as do I and others of the Catholic laity, that the pronouncement of Pope Pius IX on that Salvation doctrine, does not apply to persons who are invincibly ignorant of the fact that the Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ; Christ in the world; the Church that Christ commanded to teach and to be heard. Pope Pius IX, who proclaimed that dogma, said that "equally certain (are we) that those who are ignorant of the true religion (which is the Catholic religion), if that ignorance is invincible will not be held guilty in the matter in the eyes of the Lord."
The assumption that the salvation doctrine of the Catholic Church led to "the persecution of Protestants in Catholic countries" is a perversion of historic fact. While the Catholic Church is uncompromising in her opposition to false teachings and immoral practices; she is tolerant, aye merciful, in dealing with persons who have given expression to them in voice and action. Protestants in Catholic countries have enjoyed, and continue to enjoy, worshipful freedom. The limitations that have been enforced by the governments of some Catholic countries, have been to check public endeavors to undermine and ridicule the faith of Catholics, which would lead to disorder. In evaluating the Catholic Church, My Dear Sir, it were well to note the fact that she is unified doctrinally and worshipfully; hence she cannot be tolerant of differences of Christian teachings as are Protestant denominations; in which there are ministers who depart so far from Christian teachings as to favor divorce and contraception; to deny the Virgin Birth, aye, even to question the Divinity of Christ.
The charges you make against the Catholic Church are amazing, coming as they do from a minister of a Church that is guilty of persecution of the most drastic nature. If it were not for the Luther-rallied persecuting German Princes, Lutheranism would never have outlived the years of the impulsive, pugnacious, filthy-minded Martin Luther, the Benedict Arnold of Christendom, who brought Lutheranism into being. The motto of those Princes who shared in the spoils of the confiscated churches, monasteries, etc., given to them by the Patron Saint of your Church, was "Cuius Regio, Illius Religio," translated the religion of the people must be the religion of the rulers, as it has been in half a dozen countries.
Surely you must know of the religious persecution of the peasants by the Princes, who were urged by Luther to crimson their swords in the blood of the peasants; "to slaughter the peasants like dogs," that cost the lives of over a hundred thousand of them.
Surely you must know that the founder of your Protestant denomination was not the liberty-loving creature he was recently falsely portrayed to be on the moving picture screen. Rather was he the Hitler of his time, who called upon his followers, the first Lutherans, to burn down the Jewish schools and synagogues; to throw pitch and sulfur into the flames; to confiscate their sacred writings and monies; and to prohibit the rabbis to teach under pain of death.
Your declaration that "Purgatory" is "non-existent", was not the view of the founder of Lutheranism at the time he posted his theses on the Church door, which was the university debating practice of his time. He said in his 91st thesis, "If indulgences were preached according to the spirit of the Pope, all the questions (such as false promises made in the preaching campaign for funds) could easily be disposed of; nay they would not arise" (1517). A year before that, Luther defined what you call "non-existing Purgatory" as the Catholic Church defines it today. He declared that the Church, that is the Catholic Church, has the power to grant "remission of the temporal punishment due to sin, which the penitent would have to suffer, be it imposed by a priest, be it that he had to suffer in Purgatory."
It was on Oct. 31, 1517, before the devil took possession of Luther, that he said to Pope Leo X, "I acknowledge thy voice as the voice of Christ, Who reigned and speaketh in thee ..." That is the "voice" of the Pope, whom Catholics listen to today, as he is the occupant of the Christ-instituted Chair of Peter, the Vicar of Christ, into whose keeping the Good Shepherd placed His lambs and sheep. What happened between the years 1517 and 1520, save the entrance of the devil into Luther, that caused his vicious change, his declaration that "Yesterday I burned in the public square the devilish works of the Pope, and I wish it were the Pope, that is the Papal See, that was consumed."
The difference between Catholics and Lutherans is that Catholics belong to the Church that Christ established, whereas Lutherans belong to the Church established by a clever, vicious, excommunicated priest. A proper appreciation of the character of the founder of your church, as expressed in his filthy "Table Talk," should make you ashamed to minister in a church that bears his name. Strangely inconsistent is your mental slant, as well as the mental slant of the other Lutheran ministers, who exact a confirmation pledge of the laity, binding unto death, that they would never leave the Lutheran Church, the Church that was brought into existence by the excommunicated priest who violated vows made to Almighty God, the vow of obedience to the will of His Church, as well as the vows of chastity and poverty.
May God bless you with the consciousness of the gross error of your judgment.
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