By quoting exclusively from Luther’s own writings, Fr. Connor gives us a clear and unbiased picture of what kind of a man Luther really was. The booklet can be downloaded for free from the link above. We reproduce here the summary and conclusion given at the end of the booklet.
The following facts have been clearly established from Luther’s own writings:
At the beginning of the Reformation, Luther acted as a downright hypocrite towards Pope Leo X, and shortly before dying, he wrote a most low, coarse, disreputable, and satanical book of one hundred and fifty-seven pages, against Pope Paul III. Even supposing Protestantism was right and the Catholic Church was wrong, such a book as Luther wrote “Against the Popery of Rome, instituted by the Devil,” would be a lasting disgrace to any author.1
Having rejected the authority of the Pope, he admits the authority of Satan; for he informs us in plain, unmistakeable words, that the Devil argued in favour of his doctrine of justification by faith alone, and against Mass, Mary, and the Saints.
Strange to say, he expects Christ will approve of his preaching those very doctrines, which had met with the sanction of Satan. For Luther has the boldness to assure us, that Our Lord looks upon him as an Evangelist, and that he himself will not allow his teaching to be judged by anyone, not even by an Angel.
Having thus set the authority of the Pope at nought, admitted the authority of Satan, proclaimed his own authority as that of an Evangelist, who is not even to be judged by an Angel, Luther boldly rejects the inspired Word of God, as contained in St Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, and in the Apocalypse or Book of Revelations. As to the Epistle of St. James, it is only a straw epistle, because, in opposition to Luther, St. James ventures to “attribute justification to the works.”2
Not satisfied with this, he even falsifies the Bible by adding the word “alone” to Rom. III. 28. He has the honesty to tell us why he does so. It was in order to express his doctrine of justification by faith alone in a more “clear and powerful” manner. The text in the English Protestant Bible is: “We conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” Luther translates : “So we now hold it, that man is justified, without doing the works of the law, alone by faith.”3
We can hardly expect, that a man who thus deals with the inspired Word of God, will respect the laws of God. Now, one of the most fundamental laws, promulgated here on earth by the Son of God, is the law concerning the unity of Christian marriage. Luther’s teaching, however, is in direct opposition to this. He says : “I cannot forbid a person to marry several wives.” Nor does he, in the case of Prince Philip of Hesse, shrink from putting this his doctrine into practice; for Luther wilfully and deliberately signed a document granting his Highness leave to have two wives at the same time. Moreover, in one of his sermons, the Reformer of Germany did not blush to sanction adultery under circumstances, which ought never to be mentioned from a Christian pulpit4
Is it God, or is it Satan who speaks through Luther ?
Whilst constantly asserting his own authority and acting with the utmost recklessness, concerning the Holy Bible and the unity of marriage, Luther treats with an insufferable arrogance and intolerance all those who refuse to submit to his authority. As to the Jews, it is well known how, in the Middle Ages, they were constantly protected by the Popes, even in Rome itself, where they had a special quarter of the town allotted to them. How differently Luther acts. He says the churches (synagogues) and schools of the cursed Jews are to be burnt down, their houses destroyed, their Prayer Books taken away from them, their Rabbis forbidden to teach, they are to be refused all legal protection when they go into the country; all their money is to be taken from them, and if all that is not sufficient, they are to be driven off like mad dogs.5
A satanical hatred of the Pope and of all Roman Catholics is one of the characteristic features in the history and character of Luther. According to his views Popery is instituted by the Devil, the Pope is Antichrist, whose tongue ought to be torn out through the hack of his neck and nailed to the gallows; the Catholic Bishops are “wolves, tyrants,murderers of souls, and the Apostles of Antichrist;” every Catholic is “at least a murderer, a robber, a persecutor.” And he asks the Princes : “Why do we not wash our hands in their blood?”6
But even Protestants differing from him do not fare any better. So, for example, he denounces those who do not believe that the very same Body of Our Lord which was nailed to the Cross is received in the Last Supper, as blasphemers and enemies of Christ, and he adds that they cannot hope for any communion with him (Luther). He says: “I should have to condemn myself with them into the depths of Hell, if I were to hold with them.”7
Now, many Protestants in this country do not believe in the Real Presence, and, nevertheless, they praise Luther who condemns them to the everlasting flames of Hell.
The results of his teaching are such as might be expected from what we have already said. He maintains that the poor man “has ample reason to break forth with the flail and the club.” The peasants do break forth with the flail and the club. Luther now advises them to go home quietly. They refuse. Luther then orders everybody to “strike in to strangle and stab, secretly or openly.” “For in the case of a man in open rebellion everybody is both chief justice and executioner.”8
One hundred thousand peasants are killed or executed.
Such were the political consequences of his teaching. The moral results were even more disastrous; for wherever Luther’s teaching was accepted, the Last Supper was treated with contempt, the former generosity in supporting the clergy, churches, schools, the sick and the poor, ceased; children were neglected, drunkenness began to spread like a deluge, in fact every virtue decreased, and every kind of vice increased. Luther tells us that, under the Pope, people had had only one Devil, and that now, under the Gospel, they had “seven worse ones.”9
Would it not have been better if he had left the poor people with the one Devil, and had spared them the six other worse ones ?
A man who pretends to be a Reformer is sent either by God or by Satan. Now, every single sign of a Divine mission is utterly wanting, both in Luther’s teaching, and in the results of his teaching. How different in every respect are not Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, and the prophets of old from the would be Reformer? But, can Luther perhaps be compared to the Apostles? Let us see. Did St. Peter, or St. Paul, or any of them, ever dare to allow a Christian to have two wives at the same time? Is not this fact alone sufficient to prove to every fair-minded man, that Luther was not sent by God? Moreover, was the result of St. Paul’s teaching an increase of drunkenness and every kind of vice, and a decrease of every kind of virtue? No, certainly not. Luther, therefore, bears no resemblance to any of those men, of whom the Scripture tells us that they were sent by God as Reformers of their nation or of the world. We, therefore, refuse to believe in his Divine mission, and that on Scriptural grounds. But mark also another reason. Luther refused to believe that Carlstadt had the sanction of Heaven, and for a reason which is very instructive. Writing against this pretended Reformer, he says, “God does not break up the old order for a new one without working great signs. Therefore we cannot believe a person, who appeals to his own spirit and to his inward feeling, and rushes head-long against the usual order of God, unless he also performs miracles.”10
Now, Luther, I judge you by your own test. Where are the miracles, with which you prove your Divine mission? You know very well, that you never performed a single one. And therefore we would be acting in opposition to your own advice, were we to believe in you.
But, if Luther was not commissioned by God, then the glorious old Church of our Forefathers, the Church of which we say, in the Apostle’s Creed : “I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church” is the true Church of God. And, in that case, not Luther, but the great and illustrious St. Ignatius, was the real Reformer of the sixteenth century.