https://onepeterfive.com/recant-lutheran-heresy-francis/#comments Editor’s note: The following comes from Paolo Pasqualucci, a retired professor of philosophy of the law at the University of Perugia, Italy. It is impossible to forget the stunning high praise Martin Luther’s personality and doctrine won from no less than a Roman pontiff – that is, from the reigning Pope Francis, during one of his customary impromptu speeches. Conversing in Italian and Spanish with the accredited journalists while flying back from Armenia, he answered a question on the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Lutheran world in the following way: I think that Martin Luther’s intentions were not mistaken; he was a reformer. Perhaps some of his methods were not right, although at that time, if you read Pastor’s history, for example – Pastor was a German Lutheran who experienced a conversion when he studied the facts of that period; he became a Catholic – we see that the Church was not exactly a model to emulate. There was corruption and worldliness in the Church; there was attachment to money and power. That was the basis of his protest. He was also intelligent, and he went ahead, justifying his reasons for it. Nowadays, Lutherans and Catholics, and all Protestants, are in agreement on the doctrine of justification: on this very important point he was not mistaken. He offered a “remedy” for the Church, and then this remedy rigidified in a state of affairs, a discipline, a way of believing, a way of acting, a mode of liturgy. But there was not only Luther: there was Zwingli, there was Calvin[.] … And behind them? The princes, “cuius regio eius religio”. We have to place ourselves in the context of the times. It is a history that is not easy to understand, not easy[.] … Then things moved on. Today, the dialogue is very good and I believe that the document on justification is one of the richest ecumenical documents, one of the richest and most profound. Right? There are divisions but they also depend on the churches[.] . This sort of scandal – a pope expressing praise and even admiration for a condemned heretic – was bound to happen after the official agreement reached (after many years of mutual “dialog”) between Catholics and Lutherans on the doctrine of justification. An agreement on this delicate matter, or Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification by the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church, was indeed signed on Oct. 31, 1999. The existence of such an agreement implies that Luther had made no mistakes in his doctrine of justification – Martin Luther, the great heretic, one of the fiercest enemies of the Catholic Church who ever appeared on Earth! But now, after 500 years, we understand that his doctrine “on the very important point of the justification” appears to be so good as to be de facto adopted in the Joint Declaration itself! The disgraceful Joint Declaration is an unbelievable document, something undoubtedly unique in the whole history of the Catholic Church, the only and true Church of Christ. We are now being told that there are articles of faith that we share with the Lutheran heretics, on the same matters the Lutherans have been misinterpreting and distorting for 500 years. Of course, there remain some mutual differences, the Declaration tells us, but they are obviously minimized. Since they squarely contradict the contents of the various “joint declarations” scattered in the document, they are left rotting in the cellar, so to say, while the ancient condemnations are devalued to mere “salutary warnings to which we must attend in our teaching and practice” ! Let’s look at some of the Lutheran tenets shared by this Declaration. In §3, The Common Understanding of Justification, we read, no. 15: “Together we confess: By grace alone, in faith in Christ’s saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works” . Same paragraph, no. 17: it is jointly declared that “God’s saving action in Christ tells us that as sinners our new life is solely due to the forgiving and renewing mercy that God imparts as a gift and we receive in faith, and never can merit in any way” . Finally, there is §4.1, Human Powerlessness and Sin in Relation to Justification, no. 19, where it is jointly stated, as if it were absolutely obvious to us Catholics, that “[j]ustification takes place solely by God’s grace” . As far as good works are concerned, the Declaration proclaims, in §4.7, The Good Works of the Justified, no. 37: “We confess together that good works – a Christian life lived in faith, hope and love – follow justification and are its fruits.” This last sentence appears to contradict the truths defined by the Council of Trent, which has solemnly reaffirmed the meritorious character of the good works for eternal life, given the fact that, according to Holy Scripture, they necessarily concur in obtaining it. All this considered, we cannot be amazed at Pope Francis’s devastating proclamation that “on this very important point Luther was not mistaken.” Indeed, if he was not mistaken, his doctrine of the justification was correct. If it was theologically correct, then Luther was in the right – so much in the right that this doctrine of his is nowadays clearly purported by the Joint Declaration. Can we accept this? No. As Catholics, as milites Christi, it is our duty to proclaim that this joint profession of faith with the Lutherans openly contradicts the true doctrine of the justification solemnly defined by the dogmatic Council of Trent. At the end of its Decree on Justification, 13 January 1547, we find 33 canons that recapitulate the doctrine expounded and inflict the related anatemata. Canon no. 9, condemning the heresy of justification sola fide: If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.