Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Martin Luther 

I watched the third part (I missed the first two) of the Martin Luther story on PBS last night. What Luther sought, this piece said, was the democratization of the Catholic Church, but he wasn't happy with the violence that resulted. The show pointed out that Luther was the first propagandist since he was able to use the printing press to great effect in rallying the nobility against Rome.

A chart of the Christian Family Tree shows the result of the democratization (at least somewhat). I enjoyed the show because I enjoy history, in general. But Luther is difficult. One the one hand, Rome and the Pope etc. seemed clearly corrupt, but on the other hand (just look at his other writings) Luther was clearly not without error in his vision.

What do the resulting protestant faiths teach about saints and miracles? About Lourdes, about Fatima, about Juan Diego in Guadalupe? (It's interesting that while the Church in Europe was splitting into slivers, Juan Diego was being baptised in South America.) Well, at least in my case, Methodism totally ignores saints and miracles, as if any overt presence of God in either the world or in a person's life, is automatically suspect. Suspect of what?

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