Scholar: Luther Destroyed Theological Truth, Paved The Way For Secularization

October 31, 2016

Scholar: Luther Destroyed Theological Truth And Paved The Way For Secularization

By Andrew Parrish

The commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation this year, and Pope Francis' impending ecumenical visit to Sweden, has reignited interest in the life and work of the ex-Augustinian monk Martin Luther (1483-1546). The details of Luther's life are not widely publicized, but many embarrassing aspects of his character were recorded in detail by his contemporaries. In light of various members of the Catholic hierarchy recently seeming to embrace Martin Luther himself, in word and action, the truth about who Martin Luther was and what he thought of the Church should be an important element of the discussion. Fortunately, The Truth about Luther, just published, has been provided by Lutheran scholar and Italian historian Angela Pellicciari. Pellicciari met with Spanish newspaper Alfa y Omega to discuss this new book; the interview is reproduced here in English.

You say one cannot understand Luther without knowing his historical context…

The history of corruption is always the same. In the fourteenth century, after Avignon and the Schism, the Church needed reform. Italy and Spain had already begun this reform, so Luther's influence does not reach these countries, because the life of the Church was healthy. In Germany it was different; Luther succeeded because he was an unscrupulous person, and because he gave absolute power, both temporal and spiritual, to the princes. For him, Holy Orders is not a sacrament, so priests and bishops should not exist; and if they should not exist, to whom should all their properties go? Luther is clear: the German princes. So they took what was, at that time, a third of the assets and property of the German Catholic Church. And this is justified as God's will, that the German princes took advantage to snatch all the Church's possessions. 

So the German princes used Luther as a tool to gain more money and power?
Yes. The Church has always fought against absolute power. Even to martyrdom; in the Roman Empire thousands of martyrs gave their lives because they refused to give to Caesar what is God's. Luther, however, gave to Caesar what is Caesar's – and what is God's!

The greed for money is, from the beginning, part of the problem that generated Luther. This envy and desire of money was created after the French Revolution and the October Revolution, and even today the revolution of gender ideology. Luther is the first revolutionary of history. He is not a reformer, he is a revolutionary.

You mention in the book that Luther had a problem with his sins, and despairing of God's mercy. Did it all start there?

I deal with historical facts, not psychology, but it is clear that Luther was a disturbed person and a narcissist. For example, he was convinced that he was the true interpreter of Christ, who alone could proclaim the pure Gospel.

In addition, he had a visceral hatred of Jews.

He speaks of them as 'the hateful and bloody Jewish people', and in 'On the Jews and Their Lies' asks for 'hard work imposed on the Jews to earn bread by the sweat of their brow.' It is the precursor of Arbeit macht frei (Work makes you free), the phrase that welcomed Jews in Nazi concentration camps. National Socialism had Luther as a parent. In fact, in the 30 Protestant districts of Germany Hitler had a much more favorable reception than in the Catholic districts. Luther was a man dominated by his hatred of Jews and of the Roman Pope.

But Luther did not convince the people…

The German princes used him for independence from Rome and to gain power and money. Since they were in control, Luther's ideas prevailed in Germany – by force, because when peasants rebelled against the princes to recover their rights and medieval customs, Luther sided with the princes and justified the bloodshed that took the lives of 100,000 farmers.

So what, in Luther, gives rise to a political revolution?

He is not a reformer, he is a revolutionary dominated by hatred. He destroyed the society of his time, too. He established a direct relationship between the individual and God, depriving the person of community. In the interiority of our own consciousness, one can make God say anything that comes to mind. He destroys the theological truth, a truth that ended up leaving the Gnostics, and later the philosophers, first without and later against Revelation. Luther wanted to be free in the way that he wanted. He understood freedom as freedom from Rome, but instead subjected himself to the princes. Spinoza and Locke would take this idea of freedom as a basis to establish an enlightened philosophy solely from reason, independent of theological truth, which later developed into Freemasonry.

Is secularization then the next step?

Definitely. He is the founder of Gnosticism. He gives enormous strength to gnosis. His is the modern concept of freedom. He understood freedom as freedom from Rome; the Enlightenment, of reason; the French Revolution, freedom from God; the communist revolution, freedom from the power of God; and gender ideology, freedom from the body. It is Luther who started this process, destroying community ties.

It is also important to say that the concept of freedom in Luther is, paradoxically, the freedom of a slave. Man does what God requires him to do, or what the devil forces him to do. How can you talk so much about freedom when you are a slave? It is pessimism about man, and conceives of God as a monster.

Do you think there is some element of 'Protestantization' among Catholics today?

Of course, just see how everyone independently interprets the Magisterium of the Church. This is a very serious thing, done by laity, priests, and bishops.


The interview has been translated from the original Spanish with the aid of Google Translate.  The original story in Spanish Catholic website, Religionenlibertad, can be found here.

For those interested in learning more about Martin Luther, an additional, long-standing reference work on the subject is The Facts about Luther, by Msgr. Patrick O'Hare LL.D., published by TAN Books.

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By Andrew Parrish

Andrew Parrish is a 2015 graduate of the Catholic University of Lublin in Poland. He holds a BA in Philosophy.

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