Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Leo X on Luther

Do people still believe what Leo X said about Luther. Mr. Bellisario (editor of the "Catholic Champion" blog) has republished part of an English translation of one of Leo X's writings against Luther. (link).

What's interesting is that the the decree Mr. Bellisario cuts and pastes from here (link) makes reference to an earlier bull, Exsurge Domine, also by Leo X, in which Leo X says:

Moreover, because the preceding errors and many others are contained in the books or writings of Martin Luther, we likewise condemn, reprobate, and reject completely the books and all the writings and sermons of the said Martin, whether in Latin or any other language, containing the said errors or any one of them; and we wish them to be regarded as utterly condemned, reprobated, and rejected. We forbid each and every one of the faithful of either sex, in virtue of holy obedience and under the above penalties to be incurred automatically, to read, assert, preach, praise, print, publish, or defend them. They will incur these penalties if they presume to uphold them in any way, personally or through another or others, directly or indirectly, tacitly or explicitly, publicly or occultly, either in their own homes or in other public or private places. Indeed immediately after the publication of this letter these works, wherever they may be, shall be sought out carefully by the ordinaries and others [ecclesiastics and regulars], and under each and every one of the above penalties shall be burned publicly and solemnly in the presence of the clerics and people.


Indeed, the bull pasted by Bellisario makes reference to this particular section, noting: "in several states and localities of the said Germany the books and writings of the said Martin were publicly burned, as we had enjoined."

The document concludes (in a style normal for papal bulls): "X No one whatsoever may infringe this our written decision, declaration, precept, injunction, assignation, will, decree; or rashly contravene it. Should anyone dare to attempt such a thing, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul."

I've asked before, and I'll ask again: who has infringed this written decision and/or contravened it? Did they do so with a greater authority than that of Leo X?

I've heard people claim that "canon law" has done away with the penalty announced by Leo X for reading Luther, but I have not seen how they propose to use canon law to overcome, infringe, or contravene a papal bull.

-TurretinFan

12 comments:

Kelly said...

Oh boy. What a shocker. :)

In light of this post, the Galileo one, and the one where you made a passing reference to the changing tradition in the Church because of the whole Latin thing, might I suggest that you read either "Magisterium" or "Creative Fidelity: Weighing and Interpretting the Documents of the Magisterium," because once again, shock, you show a blatant disregard for any understanding of how the Church approaches something like infallibility for example... You seem to feel that reversing positions is somehow problematic to a supposedly infallible Church. Read the Books. Understand what infallibility really is. I'm asking too much I know, to hope for a certain prerequisite amount of knowledge before commenting on Catholicism, but here's hoping.

ps. Both books are by a Jesuit named Francis Sullivan.

Turretinfan said...

Kelly,

Thanks for your comment. However, your comment itself demonstrates that you don't understand the logical consequences of a holding to a doctrine of papal infallibility.

May I suggest that you adopt a more helpful attitude, wherein you don't assume that your theological opponents are uninformed. Within that framework, you may begin to appreciate how a rejection of Leo X's rejection of Luther creates epistemic problems for papal infallibility, even despite the attempted distinction between dogma and discipline.

Yes, reversing positions is problematic for a supposedly infallible church.

-TurretinFan

Kelly said...

It seems you've missed the point. Oh well...

Turretinfan said...

Kelly,

Your "point" is plain. Rather than actually discussing the issues, you are asserting ignorance.

I appreciate your apparently well-intentioned offers to educate. The problem is that these well-intentioned offers are misguided. I understand, but reject, popery.

You will make more headway here if you don't assume I don't understand.

That said - I do make mistakes from time to time, just like anyone else. It can be helpful for people to point out those mistakes. Simply making remarks like "shocker" doesn't advance the dialog.

Now, I recognize that you've tried to do more than that in some of your other posts, and I want to encourage you to take that approach rather than this one.

-TurretinFan

Alexander Greco said...

Turretinfan,

I am curious, are you stating that you "fully understand" the papacy and the charism of infallibility? Are you actually making the claim that any discussion in academic scholarship would be futile in your mind because you already know it all? Or would it be better stated that from what you know you reject, and that which you know is limited by the very nature of memory and exposure? Would this not be the mature approach?

Turretinfan said...

AG wrote: "Or would it be better stated that from what you know you reject, and that which you know is limited by the very nature of memory and exposure? Would this not be the mature approach?"

I'm not claiming to know everything or to know every nuance that has been addressed by every scholar. Obviously, when I say I "fully understand" it doesn't mean that I've read and heard every argument/explanation that exists by every one of the billion or so living alleged members of Catholicism.

It would be absurd to read my comment that way, and only someone truly stupid or contentious would seek to make it have that kind of meaning.

On the other hand, there is a much more limited amount of source material for topics like papal infallibility, and I'm familiar with that material. Hopefully, you see the difference.

Further comments on this totally irrelevant tangent have a very high probability of getting rejected.

-TurretinFan

Alexander Greco said...

Turretinfan stated: only someone truly stupid or contentious would seek to make it have that kind of meaning.

Me: Actually, I was thinking that you were going to respond more along the lines of stating that whatever further positive teaching or discussion comes out regarding the papacy, it would not refute the positive teachings found in Sacred Scripture which do not indicate a papacy or papal infallibility thereby rendering any further discussion or development mute.

Turretinfan: On the other hand, there is a much more limited amount of source material for topics like papal infallibility, and I'm familiar with that material. Hopefully, you see the difference.


Me: Again, to your knowledge.

Turretinfan said...

AG: "Actually, I was thinking that you were going to respond more along the lines of stating that whatever further positive teaching or discussion comes out regarding the papacy, it would not refute the positive teachings found in Sacred Scripture which do not indicate a papacy or papal infallibility thereby rendering any further discussion or development mute."

I'm sure you mean "moot."

I guess you were surprised then, by my response. My suggestion, stick to the topic, and avoid these tangents.

AG wrote: "Me: Again, to your knowledge."

Bringing this up, in the absence of evidence of some overlooked source, is an exercise in futility. I'm not claim omniscience, as I already pointed out.

-TurretinFan

Alexander Greco said...

Turretinfan: I'm sure you mean "moot."

Me: Oops, I did.

Turretinfan: I'm not claim omniscience

Me: I'm sure you meant to say "claiming." :)

Turretinfan: Bringing this up, in the absence of evidence of some overlooked source, is an exercise in futility.

Me: I was addressing the concept of knowledge and attempting to lead into certainty over knowing God's revealed truth, free will, sin, and morality in general. Oh well.

Turretinfan said...

"I'm sure you meant to say "claiming." :)"

Bingo :)

"I was addressing the concept of knowledge and attempting to lead into certainty over knowing God's revealed truth, free will, sin, and morality in general. Oh well."

I think it would be a stretch to connect that to Leo X on Luther.

-TurretinFan

natamllc said...

Well now, what is the infallibility?

Is God?

Yes.

Is the doctrine that the [p]ope is God in the flesh when he ascends by a vote of his peers the papist chair in Rome infallibility?

No.

I would note, had the [p]ope, Leo X, actually been God in the flesh, his degree would have accomplished its task, wouldn't it?

Well, just in my city alone we have several Lutheran Churches. Hmmmmmm?

Was Leo's degree infallible?

No.

Well?

From where I sit, so many years later, it seems to me God in Heaven has infringed upon the RCC's [g]od's infallibility on earth by the papist decree of Leo X to completely "....immediately after the publication of this letter these works, wherever they may be, shall be sought out carefully by the ordinaries and others [ecclesiastics and regulars], and under each and every one of the above penalties shall be burned publicly and solemnly in the presence of the clerics and people failed....".

Now isn't that fallibility?

Is God fallible?

No.

Alexander Greco said...

I wasn't really trying to connect it to Leo X. My post is guilty as charged...a tangent.