Vigilance Against Protestantism |
Repentance must replace the Reformation
Contrary to what many may think, nothing in Holy Mother Church's teaching has changed and therefore we feel confident that these "points of enlightenment" will help more Catholics better understand their faith, especially those who were not blessed with early formation of the faith in the home and their parish school. Regardless of where any Catholic is in his or her journey toward salvation, he or she has to recognize that the Faith they were initiated into at the Sacrament of Baptism is the most precious gift they have been given in life. If they truly want to live their Faith as it was taught from Peter to Pius XII, they must know the Faith and live it as Traditional Catholics. That is the only way to KEEP THE FAITH!
"Wo to the world because of scandals. For it must needs be that scandals come: but, nevertheless wo to that man by whom the scandal cometh" Our Lord's warning words to His disciples as recorded in Matthew 18: 7
Upon Martin Luther's refusal to retract his declarations on the teachings of the Church, he was excommunicated. But Luther proudly tore up the papal bull of excommunication, and burned it. It would seem, when one considers the landmark historic Declaration of Justification signed on the first Sunday of November in 1999 in Augsburg, Germany between the conciliar church, represented by the President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity Cardinal Edward Isdris Cassidy, and the Lutheran Church represented by Bishop Hans Christian Knuth, head of the Reformation in Germany, that Luther won.
We all know that he did not and could not, for Christ cannot deceive nor be deceived. It is true that the Church wants reconciliation with the Protestants, but not on compromise terms; rather to return to the true Church and abandon their schismatic, heretical ways. That is the only way walls can be torn down. While many in the world perceived the walls were coming down, it was merely an insidious manner of making the wall tougher to penetrate as the church of Vatican II only laid more mortar on their side, forsaking truth to placate man. That is what Protestantism is: pleasing man, not God. Oh, they use God and sound sincere, but by breaking from the true tree - the vine, they effectively were saying what lucifer said: "non serviam." "I will not serve, for I have a better idea than Jesus had." And as each year passed since the Reformation, more said the same of the congregation they were in; the result yet another religion founded on the principles of man rather than God. The post-conciliar church has catered to this concept at the detriment of countless souls who could have been converted, but were approved in their apostasy. By so doing, Protestantism became the largest religion in the world for those who abandoned the Truths and Traditions, while still claiming to be 'Catholic', had in effect apostasized the Faith. They had become Protestant themselves. True, the vast majority didn't realize it. Those who did and truly cared about their salvation, have returned to tradition; those who have not, well they'll have to deal with that when their time comes for their Particular Judgment.
Protestants are adherents of the religious organizations that broke off from the Catholic Church in the sixteenth century, or of any religious body formed from them. The term "Protestant" was first adopted by those who protested against the decree of the second Diet of Speyer in 1529. Later the term was applied to all reformers, all opposing the doctrines of the Church.
In the sixteenth century the Protestant revolt took place, this beginning of a multitude of heresies, this sad event that has divided Christendom for centuries. In the year 1517 Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk of Erfurt, Germany, taking offense at what he believed was a lack of appreciation for him at Rome, combated the teaching of the Church on indulgences. It must be understood that he had many good points and the Popes during that era were not the greatest role models or held up the ideals Christ had intended for His Holy Church. This had been brought crystal clear by the rogue Pope Alexander VI and his successors Pope Pius III, Julius II and Leo X who was the Sovereign Pontiff when Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the cathedral. None of these Popes had a clue how to deal with this enlightenment movement and rebellion. In truth, had these popes been holy popes, the Reformation would never have gotten off the ground. In truth, these popes were more interested in temporal things, more interested in building up the coffers and building the magnificent monument of St. Peter's employing the masters Michelangelo and Raphael. Yes, it was a low point in Church History, but as Jesus promised in Matthew 16: 19 "the gates of hell will not prevail against it" and indeed she has withstood this onslaught of rejection by hundreds of thousands who protested various tenets of the Faith in the sixteenth century, and millions since.
Pope Leo X commanded Luther to retract his teachings; upon his refusal, he was excommunicated, in 1520. His heretical teachings spread like wildfire over Germany, occasioning religious wars; peace came only with the Peace of Augsburg, in 1555.
The Council of Trent was convened in order to combat the Reformation; thus the term Counter-Reformation. This 19th General Council which lasted from 1545-1563 set forth in a clear manner the errors of the Protestants, by explaining the true doctrine of the Church on those points. At that time, religious training had relaxed; many did not know the true doctrines. Among the errors of Luther were these: that there is no supreme teaching power in the Church; that temporal rulers have the right to interfere in ecclesiastical matters; that the Bible is the sole guide to faith; that every man should interpret the Bible according to his own mind; that faith is sufficient for salvation; that the priesthood does not imprint a special character on the soul of a man, and that everybody is or can be a priest, as a result; that Penance is not a sacrament, but a mere invention of the Church; that the Mass gives no special grace; that there is no Purgatory, etc.
In the beginning, Protestantism spread rapidly. Whole countries, led by their rulers, adopted its doctrines. In Switzerland Zwingli and Calvin; in England Henry VIII, about this time increased the defections from the Church. But soon there were other kinds of Protestantism, all with varying doctrines.
Today the divisions and subdivisions of Protestantism are too well known to need comment. There are many numbers of Protestants returning to the Faith and embracing the Immemorial Mass of Tradition and the truths inherent in Holy Mother Church's teachings. There will be many more, but not all. Yet, as the divisions subdivide, the true Church, despite the revolution in the 16th and 20th century, continues to grow even if it be a mere remnant today.
Protestant denominations may be placed into three groups. First, those that require a church to be able to trace its origin to apostolic times. They believe in a priesthood established by Christ, and commanded to offer sacrifice and administer the sacraments. The High Church Anglican, also called Episcopalians, belong to this group. Unfortunately the High Church Episcopalians deny a fact: their succession of bishops was cut when they separated from the Catholic Church, and so they have no valid orders. Hence they cannot have any sacraments except Baptism and Matrimony. The Anglican orders were declared invalid under Pope Leo XIII in 1896, after the question of their validity had been thoroughly examined.
The second group are those that do not believe in the theory of "all religions are the same," but do not have an organized hierarchy. They insist on their own brand of Protestantism, requiring prospective members to study their doctrines. They consider Holy Scripture as the only rule of faith and of life. Some of them accept the Apostles' Creed, and teach justification by faith alone. Lutherans, especially the Missouri Synod and some bodies of Methodist and Episcopal churches belong to this group.
The third group are those that declare Christ their personal Savior, and believe in Baptism as indispensable; although some bodies do not hold the latter doctrine. Every Christian, according to them, must be a member of some church, on account of the practical benefits from church membership, from organized religion. But, one church is just as good as another. To this group most of the bodies of Baptists, Presbyterians, Disciples of Christ, and Congregationalists belong.
Today more than ever before, the various Protestant denominations are making great efforts to unite among themselves. There is an innate leaning towards the Mother Church, the Apostolic Church; and a better understanding of many of her doctrines, but there is no incentive to since modern Rome shows no inclination any longer to convert the non-Catholic. Rather it has become the rule not the exception to recognize and therefore approve pagan rituals, going so far as the Vatican to officially recognize Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist and Jewish holy days. This was unheard of before the cancer of Vatican II. While we all seek and pray that all the Christian Churches and those not Christian will, as the Prodigal son, return to the Mother Church, it can only be done through total repentance and a willingness to obey the Church founded by Christ.
While Catholics should always be charitable, we cannot take on a patronizing attitude of understanding towards them and their beliefs because that is exactly how satan dumbed down so many through the apparatchiks who infiltrated and took over via Vatican II. The argument that the majority of those who do not belong to the True Church are in good faith, is a special canard that has become so familiar, thus undermining the very words of Christ.
Catholic teachings are not easy to understand at first sight; many Catholic practices require sacrifice. Towards such a religion there is bound to be prejudice. In addition, many Catholics don't even understand their Faith, so confused and dumbed-down have they been by this concentrated effort to destroy the Church from within. The culprits have gone so far in covering their tracks as to change doctrines and cover it up with a revised Canon Law, a new Catechism that relishes ambiguity, and a persistence to refer only to any document since Vatican II, as if ignoring 1900 years of wisdom and tradition. If that isn't Protestant, one has to wonder what is. The motto here at The Daily Catholic is KNOW THE FAITH in order to KEEP THE FAITH. Because so few truly know their Faith, they fall into traps when discussing their own Faith and are easy fodder for evangelicals who are ready to pounce. If one's faith is not strong and based on terra firma then doubt can easily set in and their faith in the True Faith can get washed away in the sands of confusion and doubt.
There are other hardships involved for Jesus says that the path is narrow and we must carry our cross if we want to be His disciples. To be obliged to go to Mass every Sunday under pain of mortal sin; to have to confess to a priest, who is another human being like ourselves; to condemn divorce and birth control; to observe fasts and abstinence; - these are not easy doctrines. Especially today they go against the grain of public opinion and the easy way.
No wonder in looking for relief, man often, however unconsciously, seeks motives for not accepting the Church that commands its members to obey such precepts; to accept such doctrines. When Our Lord first announced the institution of the Holy Eucharist, many of the disciples said: "This is a hard saying. Who can listen to it?" (John 6:62). And they no longer went with Jesus.
Catholics should above all try to give good example; nothing is more effective in the eyes of non-Catholics than the exemplary lives led by good Catholics.
"Behave yourselves honorably among the pagans; that, whereas they sander you as evildoers, they may through observing you by reason of your good works glorify God in the day of visitations" (1 Peter 2:12).
While avoiding useless discussions that generally end in bitter quarrels. Catholics should try to show the beauty, the truth of the Catholic Church. That is why it is so important Catholics know their Faith, know how to express it to others. Apologetics and true love of neighbor for the love of God are paramount in defending the Faith in these times. In any discussion with another, we should always remember Christ's words to treat our neighbor as ourselves with love toward all and malice toward none, all in seeking the divine Will.
In our friendly discussions with non-Catholics we should not be always on the defensive, but should try to see whether they can trace the origin of the authority of their ministers to the Apostles, whether their church can be proved the True Church by the possession of the four marks. Often our non-Catholic friends criticize the Catholic Church on account of some devotional practices like holy water, candles, etc., as if such practices belonged to the essentials of faith. Those small things pale in comparison to the true scandals that have wreaked so much havoc on souls and the resulting indifference of today's modern church, being ultimately responsible for their spiritual welfare. Sadly, because today the post-conciliar has chosen to please man rather than God, the difference between this apostate body and Protestants is nil. We must pray that God will intervene and return Eternal Rome to replace modern Rome.
In the next issue, we shall treat Catholic truths which Protestants reject, beginning with the Church Suffering in Purgatory.