Martin Luther, Roman Catholic Prophet

By Gregory Sobolewski | Go to book overview
Save to active project


The books of those heresiarchs, who after the aforesaid year [1521]
originated or revived heresies, as well as those who are or have been
the heads or leaders of heretics, as Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Balthasar
Friedberg, Schwenkfeld, and others like these, whatever may be
their name, title or nature of their heresy, are absolutely forbidden.

—Tridentine Index of Books, 1564 1

But if we are to speak the truth we cannot do otherwise than confess
that we are conscious of having been greatly wanting in fulfilling
the duties imposed on us; and indeed of having in no small part
been the cause of the very evils we have been summoned to mend.

—Cardinal Pole's Admonitio to the Council of Trent, 1546 2

Sixteenth-century magisterial assessments of Martin Luther can be divided into two areas: his person and his teachings. Given the indisputable charisma of the Wittenberg reformer, the rapid escalation of Catholic polemics against him, and the uneven coalescence of official Roman reaction to the events in Saxon Germany between 1517 and 1530, these two aspects are not always neatly divided. Thus the papal bull that sought Luther's recantation and proposed his excommunication, Exsurge Domine (1520), introduced both evaluations while the canons and decrees of the Council of Trent (1545–63) produced no explicit reference to Luther personally in their judgments against his theology. Nonetheless, these twin verdicts promoted an initially decisive and later probative locomotion of official Catholic teaching against the professor of Bible from the young University at Wittenberg.

In contending that Catholic magisterial statements of the twentieth century project an understanding of Luther as a prophetic reformer rather than a misguided renegade, I have introduced a spectrum of Catholic theological studies in order to appreciate any claim of a Catholic reconsideration of Luther, to establish current ecumenical


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Martin Luther, Roman Catholic Prophet


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 187

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?