The celebration will obviously not uphold the Church's centuries-old condemnation of Martin Luther, but will praise him in keeping with the German Bishops' Conference statement of last August, that Luther—the founder of the Protestant Reformation—was a "Gospel witness and teacher of the Faith" who hasn't been given an "adequate hearing."
Bishop Gerhard Feige, chairman of the German Bishops Ecumenical Commission, stoked the fire to this anniversary celebration when he said that "the Catholic Church may recognize today what was important in the Reformation" on the grounds that theological differences have been "re-evaluated."
Are the bishops daring to "re-evaluate" the Church's condemnation of Martin Luther in the sixteenth century? Are they accusing the Council of Trent of having been "antagonistic" for rightfully refuting Luther's errors for the greater liberty of God's people?
If there is one figure of history who can be called antagonistic, it is Martin Luther. Consider his own words about the Catholic Church: "We too were formerly stuck in the behind of this hellish whore, the new church of the pope... so that we regret having spent so much time and energy in that vile h***. But God be praised and thanked that he rescued us from the scarlet whore." (Luther's Works, Vol. 41, p. 206)
Again Luther says: "I can with good conscience consider the pope an ass and an enemy of God. He cannot consider me an ass, for he knows that I am more learned in the Scriptures than he and all his asses are." (p. 344) "The papal ass wants to be lord of the church, although he is not a Christian, believes nothing, and can no longer do anything but fart like an ass." (p. 358)
We seem to forget that Luther was a raving heretic who was driven by the devil to tear the Faith asunder in Europe. His definition of "repentance" was to reject Catholicism, evidenced by his hateful words against the Mass: "It is indeed upon the Mass as on a rock that the whole papal system is built, with its monasteries, its bishoprics, its collegiate churches, its altars, its ministries, its doctrine, i.e., with all its guts. All these cannot fail to crumble once their sacrilegious and abominable Mass falls." (Martin Luther, Against Henry, King of England, 1522, Werke, Vol. X, p. 220.)
These words shouldn't surprise us when we consider Luther's contempt for spirituality, and the fact that the Mass through the ages has been the very focal point of Satan's attack. The Mass indeed is the very center-piece of the Christian Faith—the very heartbeat of Christ's Mystical Body—therefore the adversary raised up Luther as his no. 1 cannon to blow the Mass apart before God's people. In his pamphlet The Abrogation of the Mass, Luther writes:
"I am convinced that by these three arguments [which he had previously made] every pious conscience will be persuaded that this priest of the Mass and the papacy is nothing but a work of satan, and will be sufficiently warned against imagining that by these priests anything pious or good is effected. All will now know that these sacrificial Masses have been proven injurious to Our Lord’s testament and that therefore nothing in the whole world is to be hated and loathed so much as the hypocritical shows of this priesthood, its Masses, its worship, its piety, its religion. It is better to be a public pander or robber than one of these priests."
Has it not occurred to our befogged Vatican hierarchy that Luther was possessed by Satan? It would behoove them to read his famous colloquy with the devil in 1522, which is documented in Abraham Woodhead's superlative book The Spirit of Martin Luther (1687). Therein is discussed Luther's "negotiations" and "conferences" with the devil. In his de Missa Privata & Sacerdotum Unctione (1533), Luther wrote of his "long experience" with Satan's "arts and practices" and of "many a sad and bitter night" spent in talks with him.
However, his colloquy on the Mass in 1522 was most significant, since this is what turned him against the Mass, whereby he would never offer Mass again. On that occasion, the devil in a "grave and strong voice" persuaded Luther that he had committed "idolatry" for fifteen years by adoring, and causing others to adore "naked bread and wine."
These same conversations with Satan are what gave birth to Luther's doctrine on justification. Through this infernal colloquy, the devil convinced Luther that we must accept our sinful lives as they are, and he instilled in him a false security about the sins we commit. Hence was born his crackpot idea that Jesus died on the cross so that we may sin freely without the fear of eternal punishment. Consider Luther’s own words:
"Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly... No sin will separate us from the Christ, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day." (From Luther’s letter to Philip Melanchthon, August 1, 1521, LW Vol. 48, pp. 281-282)
Needless to say, Luther was no champion of the Gospel, but a disciple of the "father of liars." Each one of his charges against the Catholic Church were irrational and false. For instance, he accused the clergy of "selling indulgences" in the confessional, which is not true. When penitents came to confession it was common at that time for priests to administer a penance in the form of having them place money in the Church’s treasury, because funds were needed to complete the Basilica of St. Peters in Rome. We might say a Peter’s pence was being raised, which should have excited praise, but this infuriated Luther because he couldn’t tolerate the idea of funding the "papal pig" and his palace.
Another black mark on Luther's reputation was that he rejected six books of the Bible and spearheaded his heinous revolt against Christ which led half of Europe away from the Christian Faith.
It was for reason that Pope Leo X dubbed Luther "the wild boar loose in the vineyard." He was the classic hypocrite and Pharisee, constantly "justifying" himself and accusing everyone of what he himself was guilty of. What could be said of the worst pagans and infidels of history would apply especially to Luther—he had no "faith" or "grace."
Accordingly, Luther contributed mightily to the mass murder of 70,000-100,000 peasants during the German Peasant War (1524-1525), which his Reformation helped to spark. Consider the following from Luther: "To kill a peasant is not murder; it is helping to extinguish the conflagration. Therefore, let whoever can, smite, slay, and stab them secretly or openly, remembering that nothing can be more poisonous, hurtful or devilish than a rebel…. On the obstinate, hardened, blinded peasants let no one have mercy, but let whoever is able, hew, stab, and slay them like mad dogs." (Erlangen Edition of Luther’s Works, Vol. 24)
Luther furthermore blasphemed Christ, thus revealing his deficit of faith. For instance, he said, "Christ committed adultery first of all with the woman at the well… Secondly with Mary Magdalene, and thirdly with the woman taken in adultery." (Luther’s Works, American Edition, Volume 54, p. 154, Concordia Publishing House)
Hence the Catholic Church committed no fault in its response to the Revolt five centuries ago, which means no apologies must be made today. The papal condemnation of Luther in 1521 was the work of the Holy Spirit, and remains binding upon the faithful to this day. Any attempts to "reevaluate" the "Reformation" are absurd, so why is the pope attempting to dignify what has unquestionably gone down to be the most destructive heresy of Christian history?
What we're seeing is the work of charity despised. For centuries the Church has demonstrated no "antagonism" toward separated brethren, but has rather extended to them the invitation to convert to Roman Catholicism, that they may possess the riches of Christ and share in the communion of saints.
Why then is Rome attempting to deprive outsiders by telling them to stay as they are? The pope has repeatedly said that we must not try to convince outsiders and separated brethren of our convictions about the One True Faith, on the grounds that it is "a sin against ecumenism."
Did Christ ever once tell His Apostles not to convince the infidels and Gentiles of the One True Faith He established, or did He rather tell them, "Going forth, teach all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost?" (Matthew 28:19)