Page 5, 20th June 1969

20th June 1969
Page 5
Page 5, 20th June 1969 — Neither a hero nor a villain
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Organisations: Catholic Church
Locations: Bell IIenfield, Rome

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Neither a hero nor a villain

MAY I be allowed to make a few comments on the letter from your correspondent. Frances Burke, in your issue of June 6? New research on Luther has made it clear that he was neither hero nor villain.

Over the centuries the pressure for reform had been gathering momentum and it was the continual prodding by Luther and others which forced the pace. The Church was obliged by events to put her home in order.

Just as the revolution in Russia was the result of the corrupt Czarist regime, the unchecked abuses in the Catholic Church were a direct (not indirect) cause of the catastrophic events of the sixteenth century.

Luther had been a priest in good standing for some time before his excommunication. Leo X, well educated in the humanities, was no theologian and one cannot believe that he was greatly concerned with Luther's alleged heresies.

There was no doubt, however. that if Luther were allowed to continue his campaign against indulgences, the realisation of projects dear to the Pope's heart would be in jeopardy.

Henry VIII. by his break with Rome, initiated something the results of which he did not foresee. He had been a stalwart defender of Papal authority and believed that the Pope would not oppose the nullifification of his marriage.

Most of the bishops, it would seem, regarded the Papacy as expendable. Men of the calibre of Thomas More and John Fisher were few and far between, If it had been a simple decision, Thomas More would not have taken so long in making up his mind. A decision which might be simple for a twentieth century Catholic was less SO in the sixteenth.

R. M. Bell IIenfield, Sussex.

IREAD the letter from Miss Frances Burke (June 6) with great interest; but am intrigued to know on what sound authority she says that one heaven cannot hold Ignatius and Teresa, Luther and Calvin.

We must, indeed. bear in mind the possibility of damnation—but for ourselves, not for those with whom we happen, however rightly, to disagree; otherwise we make God our executioner. We must never assume that God is less merciful than man.

We must never try to see limits to the Divine mercy, if David Holliday Chesterfield, Derbyshire.




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