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

It is sad to note that the irretrievable momentum of the Reformation towards the disunity of Christian Europe was borne of an old Catholic practice. . .the dissolution of benefices to support other Church projects. This was the seed of a brewing storm. For instance, when the Church wanted to build a large school, she would dissolve a few richly endowed monasteries and divert their income towards the building of that school. Now, this practice is alright if you have saints running the Church. But the fifteenth century was stuffed with few saints. One does not have to think far to foresee the coming storm of abuses.

In an era where Church practices bore within them the seeds of corruption, like lay investiture and commended abbots, the abuse was almost certain. People of influence began dissolving rich ecclesiastical benefices for any reason. . .more often, to increase their personal wealth. To enrich oneself by looting Church benefices became such an attractive temptation; though blasphemous, it became a grand scale. A new business class rose and established itself on a wealth confiscated from ecclesiastical benefices. It was the easiest way of raising capital to start a business. Many lordly rich names in England today became rich this way.

Now watch this: if the Catholic Church, through the Pope, put her foot down, she would inevitably demand the restoration of the confiscated wealth of the Church. . .which the nouveau riche were unwilling to do because, by now, they were enjoying their new-found wealth and consequent power. They had to find a valid reason to keep their wealth. And what better reason than to break up with Rome. And so it happened. Every break with Rome was motivated by a group of wealthy businessmen enriched by looting the Church. The permanent momentum of the Reformation towards dividing Catholic Europe into Catholic and Protestant was motivated by LOVE OF MONEY  . . .or shall we say financial considerations. The Reformation was a financial move, not a religious objection. Having found a reason for keeping the looting of the Church, the nouveau riche protected Martin Luther--protected him from ecclesiastical authorities and backed him up. Martin Luther became the excuse that would allow them to continue the looting of the Church.

The new businessmen had a problem. Martin Luther had no doctrine rationalizing their keeping of stolen Church properties. In truth, Martin Luther's doctrines were too tame to be heretical.

The tail of the devil, to borrow St. Augustine's words describing the devil when he takes up sheep's clothing (since sheep have short tails, the wolf's tail will always show) began to appear with the entrance of Zwingli, who introduced some anti-Catholic teachings. But his teachings did not give the thieves of Church property a philosophy to legalize their robbery.

This new rich businessmen had one problem. . .a continuing union with Rome would demand restoration of Church's wealth and virtual poverty for them They had to remain separated from Rome to remain rich. What was before a religious question was now a financial question. The question was no longer how to save my soul; it was how to keep my stolen wealth. Martin Luther, had to, by all means, be prevented from returning to the Catholic Church. But the businessmen had one problem: Martin Luther's theology was still too Catholic and a return to the Church was still a great possibility. Zwingli's heresy, also, did not justify their keeping their stolen Church property.

At this point, though the situation  was still salvageable, with love of money, the root of all evil, entering the picture, saving the Catholic tradition in Europe was beginning to become more difficult.








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