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BRIEF HISTORY
OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH




 

THE ATMOSPHERE FOR A REFORMATION - Part II

[How the Catholic Church nurtured the seed of her destruction within her own womb.] 

Today, the Church, as a whole, in her human element, is neglectful of this primary role, the sanctification of her members. The neglect is frightening. Of course, there is a sputtering of efforts here and there, as was at Luther's time, by more competent saints. But, any sputtering here and there did not change the momentum towards Protestantism. Great Saints, like Cajetan and Ignatius of Loyola, could not stop the division of Europe into the Catholic and Protestant camps. . .that is, half of Europe lost; neither can anyone much less than a saint stop the Protestantinization of the Catholic Church today.

The Church's  neglect of her primary purpose for existing, the sanctification of her faithful through a true and complete exposition of Christ's commands, left a Catholic Church ingrained with traditional practices which are meaningless: There was no rationale for Catholic belief, a rationale that St. Thomas of Aquinas exquisitely presented in his Summa. Because of the neglect of the men in the Church, Catholicism became an irrational religion.

It was in this atmosphere of irrationality that such Catholic religious, like the Augustinian Martin Luther, were raised. The lack of knowledge of the reasons behind Catholic belief irretrievably made them decide to interpret Scriptures the best way they knew. . .purely by literal and human interpretation.  "I will interpret Scriptures the way I understand it." That's a very far cry from the Catholic attitude of, "What is God telling us in Scriptures?" The Reformation was born from this uninformed, unstudied interpretation of Scriptures by Catholic religious. And, I repeat, they were nurtured in the bosom of a neglectful mother.

Putting it simplistically, the Reformation is not an anti-doctrinal movement. The Reformation had nothing against any Catholic Doctrine. . .at least at the beginning. How could they when they did not quite understand Catholic Doctrine. It was an objection against a mother who was not doing her job: in fact, a mother who was having a grand worldly time and was asking her children to pay for it. The beginnings of the Reformation was anti-clerical; it was a movement against the men of the Church, their abuses, their worldliness, their way  of life, their sins, their repressive treatment. And, frankly, in that era, there was everything to complain about the men of the Church--one of which was the manner funds were being raised. . .at one instance, through the sales of indulgences.

At this point, with the devil and his hatred there, with willing instruments ready, with a neglectful mother asleep to the oncoming tragedy, the forces were in a position for the breakup of Christendom; but the situation was still salvageable. . .in fact, very salvageable.

Henry VIII entered the picture. He, like Martin Luther, had no doctrinal quarrel with the Catholic Church. Up to the end of his life, he stuck to his well-learned Catholic Doctrine. The poor guy simply wanted to commit adultery; he had no intention of being either a heretic or a schismatic. But forces outside him were gathering and were about to overwhelm England.

In spite of all these gathering forces, the Reformation or, better still, the "destruction of Christendom in Europe" was far from happening. Martin Luther did not have a theology of religion to attract anyone. So far the battle lines were merely drawn between mere personal annoyances. And Europe was too intelligent to sacrifice her Catholic religion for personal grievances.  

 

 

 

 

 

(12-05-02)

 

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