EWTN Catholic Q&A
Quotes from Martin Luther
Question from Don on 10-17-2001:

Dr. Carroll,

Here are some quotes that I found in an article from the Old Catholic Encyclopedia that were attributed to Martin Luther.

1) The "gospel cannot be introduced without tumult, scandal, and rebellion"; "the word of God is a sword, a war, a destruction, a scandal, a ruin, a poison" (De Wette, op.cit., I, 417). As for the Pope, cardinals, bishops, he says, "the whole brood of Roman Sodom", why not attack it "with every sort of weapon and wash our hands in its blood" (Walch, XVIII, 245).

2) In "Against the falsely called spiritual state of Pope and Bishops", he asks, "But they say, 'there is fear that a rebellion may arise against the spiritual Estate'. Then the reply is 'Is it just that souls are slaughtered eternally, that these mountebanks may disport themselves quietly'? It were better that all bishops should be murdered, and all religious foundations and monasteries razed to the ground, than that one soul should perish, not to speak of all the souls ruined by these blockheads and manikins" (Sammtl. W., XXVIII, 148).

3) "I will curse and scold the scoundrels until I go to my grave, and never shall they hear a civil word from me. I will toll them to their graves with thunder and lightning. For I am unable to pray without at the same time cursing. If I am prompted to say: 'hallowed be Thy name', I must add: 'cursed, damned, outraged be the name of the papists'. If I am prompted to say: 'Thy Kingdom come', I must perforce add: 'cursed, damned, destroyed must be the papacy'. Indeed I pray thus orally every day and in my heart without intermission" (Sammtl. W., XXV, 108).

4) On the Papacy, Luther said, "We are convinced that the papacy is the seat of the real and actual Antichrist, and believe that against its deceit and iniquity everything is permitted for the salvation of souls" (De Wette, op. cit., I, 478).

5) Luther appealed to the Emperor in his three primary pamphlets: to destroy the power of the pope, to confiscate for his own use all ecclesiastical property, to abolish ecclesiastical feasts, fasts, and holidays, to do away with Masses for the dead, etc.

6) "As for me, the die is cast: I despise alike the favor and fury of Rome; I do not wish to be reconciled with her, or ever to hold any communion with her. Let her condemn and burn my books; I, in turn, unless I can find no fire, will condemn and publicly burn the whole pontifical law, that swamp of heresies" (De Wette, op. cit., 466).

7) Luther wanted his epitaph to say "living I was a pest to thee, O Pope, dying I will be thy death"

8) In this reply to the "Defense of the Seven Sacraments" by King Henry VIII, he called him "impudent liar".

9) In reference to the Augustinian Friars refusing to say Mass and the wholesale destruction of Church property, Luther wrote "All I see and hear", he writes to Spalatin, 9 Dec., "pleases me immensely" (Enders, op. cit., III, 253)

10) In "Against the murderous and robbing rabble of Peasants", Luther calls upon the princes to slaughter the offending peasants "like mad dogs, to stab, strangle and slay as best one can".

11) The poor man was to be "forced and driven, as we force and drive pigs or wild cattle" (Sammtl. W., XV, 276)

12) In allusions to the German princes, "generally the biggest fools and worst scoundrels on earth" (Walch, op. cit., X, 460-464)

13) In reference to Zwingli, he said, "your spirit is not our spirit" (De Wette, op. cit., IV, 28) and said his disciples were "not only liars, but the very incarnation of lying, deceit, and hypocrisy".

14) On conscience he said, "What harm would there be, if a man to accomplish better things and for the sake of the Christian Church, does tell a good thumping lie" (Lenz, "Briefwechsel", I, 382; Kolde, "Analecta", 356)

15) On Justification by Faith, Luther said, "Be a sinner and sin on bravely, but have stronger faith and rejoice in Christ, who is the victor of sin, death, and the world. Do not for a moment imagine that this life is the abiding place of justice: sin must be committed. To you it ought to be sufficient that you acknowledge the Lamb that takes away the sins of the world, the sin cannot tear you away from him, even though you commit adultery a hundred times a day and commit as many murders" (Enders, "Briefwechsel", III, 208) Don

Answer by Dr. William Carroll on 10-17-2001:

You show again why I have said so often, that the old Catholic Encyclopedia is the best of all Catholic sources. Any reader can access it any time at www.newadvent.org/cathen/a.htm - Dr. Carroll