On the evening of October 1st, the Pilgrim found her exhausted and bathed in perspiration from her heavy spiritual labors. She repeated that St. Michael, besides the seven days’ task, had prescribed certain alms, pointing out what children were to be assisted and what each one was to receive. “The Church,” she groaned, “is in great danger. I must ask everyone who comes to see me say an Our Father for that intention. We must pray that the Pope may not leave Rome, for unheard-of evils would result from such a step. We must pray the Holy Ghost to enlighten him, for they are even now trying to exact something of him. The Protestant doctrine, as also that of the Greeks, is spreading everywhere. Two men live at this time who long to ruin the Church, but they have lost one who used to help them with his pen. He was killed by a young man about a year ago, and one of the two men of whom I speak left Germany at the same time. They have their employees everywhere. The little black man in Rome, whom I see so often, has many working for him without their clearly knowing for what end. He has his agents in the new black church also. If the Pope leaves Rome, the enemies of the Church will get the upper hand. I see the little black man in his own country committing many thefts and falsifying things generally. Religion is there so skillfully undermined and stifled that there are scarcely one hundred faithful priests. I cannot say how it is, but I see fog and darkness increasing. There are, however, three churches that they cannot seize: St. Peter’s, St. Mary-Major’s and St. Michael’s. Although they are constantly trying to undermine them, they will not succeed. I help not. All must be rebuilt soon for everyone, even ecclesiastics are laboring to destroy – ruin is at hand. The two enemies of the Church who have lost their accomplice are firmly resolved to destroy the pious and learned men that stand in their way.”
When the Pilgrim visited Sister Emmerich on October 4th, he found her perfectly worn out by the exertions of the preceding night. That St. Michael’s commands were being fulfilled, was very evident. “I have had combats more terrible,” she said, “than any I have ever endured, and I am almost dead. I cannot say how fearfully I have suffered. This struggle was shown me long ago under the symbol of a person buffeted by demons, and now I know it was myself. I fought against a whole legion of devils who excite minds against me and do all they can to harass me. I have also undertaken too many prayers. They want to install bad Bishops. In one place they want to turn a Catholic church into a Lutheran meetinghouse. I must pray, suffer, and struggle against this, for such is my present task. If the Saints did not assist me, I could not endure it. I should be overcome, and that would be most grievous to me! I see the devil using every artifice to put me to shame. He is continually sending all sorts of people to visit me, to torment and wear me out.
– pg 266-267 of Volume Two of Two, The Life and Revelations of Anne Catherine Emmerich by Carl E. Schmöger, C.SS.R. (My emphasis)
In Our Day
2. Already the 450th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession in 1980 offered both Lutherans and Catholics the opportunity to develop a common understanding of the foundational truths of the faith by pointing to Jesus Christ as the living center of our Christian faith.(1) On the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s birth in 1983, the international dialogue between Roman Catholics and Lutherans jointly affirmed a number of Luther’s essential concerns. The commission’s report designated him “Witness to Jesus Christ” and declared, “Christians, whether Protestant or Catholic, cannot disregard the person and the message of this man.”(2)
29. Implicit rapprochement with Luther’s concerns has led to a new evaluation of his catholicity, which took place in the context of recognizing that his intention was to reform, not to divide, the church. This is evident in the statements of Johannes Cardinal Willebrands and Pope John Paul II.(7) The rediscovery of these two central characteristics of his person and theology led to a new ecumenical understanding of Luther as a “witness to the gospel.”
[Obviously, when one reads The text of Pope John Paul II’s letter marking the 500th anniversary of the birth of Martin Luther, translated from the Italian by UPI, there is no such evidence from the letter of the great and saintly Pope St. John Paul II which states, ‘For the Catholic Church through the centuries the name of Martin Luther is tied to the memory of a sad period and, in particular, to the experience of the origin of deep ecclesiastical divisions.’ and ‘In the first place it is important to continue accurate historical work, It is a question of, through an investigation without taking sides, motivated only by the search for truth, arriving at a just image of the Reformer, of the entire epoch of the Reformation and of the people who were involved in it.
Guilt, where it exists, must be recognized, on whichever side it is found where polemics have clouded the view, the direction of this view must be corrected and independently by one side or the other.’]
– A Pope Like None Before. Somewhat Protestant by Sandro Magister
The idyll between Francis and the followers of Luther. The alarm of cardinals and bishops against the “Protestantization” of the Catholic Church. But also the distrust of authoritative Lutheran theologians
– Pope: ‘We Are Called to Free Ourselves From the Prejudices’ | ZENIT and The Pope at the conference on Luther: “Look at history without resentment” | VATICAN INSIDER La Stampa and Pope delighted by Vatican conference studying history of Reformation | Catholic Culture and Pope ‘grateful to God’ for Vatican conference on Martin Luther | Vatican Radio and ‘Put behind prejudice, forgive past sins,’ Pope on Lutheran Reformation | THE CATHOLIC REGISTER and Pope to congress on Luther: “Serious research contributes to overcoming distrust” | ROME REPORTS
[UPDATE November 8, 2017]
[UPDATE November 15, 2017]
The Beast‘s Magazine’s Take [i.e., The Economist’s annual collection of detailed, numerate and opinionated predictions for the year ahead.] – The World in 2017 | The Economist
The process by which memes go viral has not changed much since the 16th century. On October 31st 1517 Martin Luther, a monk at the University of Wittenberg, wrote out a list of 95 theses objecting to the indulgences authorised by the pope to raise money for building St Peter’s Basilica. The story that Luther nailed his theses to the door of Wittenberg’s Castle Church (as depicted here) may be apocryphal. But, in the equivalent of an ill-judged late-night tweet, he did send a copy to Archbishop Albert of Mainz, who was taking a cut of the indulgences. Soon Luther and Albert’s allies were engaged in a flame-war using the pre-eminent social-media platform of the time: pamphlets. As usual, things escalated. The pope had Luther convicted of heresy. Luther called the pope the Antichrist. German peasants and princes defected to Luther’s side, and Europe was plunged into more than a century of savage war between Catholics and Protestants.
Now, 500 years on, the Reformation has the soft glow of history. Commemorative events are planned across Germany in 2017. Some will celebrate reconciliation: on March 11th Germany’s head Lutheran and Catholic bishops will lead a service dedicated to the “process of healing of memory”. Pope Francis got that process moving in 2016, with a visit to Lutheran Sweden.
Some Catholic clergy still object to such ecumenical gestures. After all, Luther tore apart their church by insisting that the pope had no more say than any other Christian. Yet most practising Protestants and Catholics today feel they are on the same side, largely because they are among the few Europeans interested in Christianity at all. In most of Europe less than a third of the population considers religion an important part of life. Eastern Germany, Luther’s homeland, may be the world’s least religious region, according to one study.
Today few secular Europeans understand the reasons for the split in the church, or the logic of Luther’s doctrine that only faith, not good deeds, leads to salvation. They are far removed from a world where “good deeds” might mean coughing up your savings for a promise that God will release your late relatives from their suffering in the afterlife. For that matter, a few years ago, Europeans thought themselves long past the stage of resorting to violence over religion. That was premature. Intolerance, corruption and religious upheaval are all making a comeback, and not just in the Middle East. Time to bone up on our Luther. (My emphasis)
Comment by the author and owner of The War Blog:
The thunderbolt is a symbol of Zeus and we now know that the devil has come down to the Church in rage.