At what point did the reformers cease being Catholic?

At what point did Luther’s teachings transgress the bounds of ‘Catholic’ orthodoxy? This question, which fascinated some older scholars, rests on an assumption unacceptable to modern historians: namely, that there exists an eternal standard of ‘Catholic’ truth independent of name and place against which Luther can be judged. … As late as the mid-sixteenth century there were those, even within the papal curia, who believed that a core of Catholic truth could be extracted from Luther’s message. (Cameron, The European Reformation, 119)

The first edition [of the Book of Common Prayer], of 1549…found an unfortunate…ally in the Catholic bishop Stephen Gardiner, who, though confined to the Tower, produced a work arguing, among other things, that the book was compatible with Catholic belief in the real presence in the eucharist. (Bagchi and Steinmetz, The Cambridge Companion to Reformation Theology, 169)

QVO and I are having an interesting conversation on his blog over the question as to whether a Protestant can consider himself a Sedevacantist Catholic justifiably as well. It would mean that the Popes in the 16t century had to be legitimately guilty of heresy and the Protestant main body was accurately carrying Catholic truth in comparison to the Pope in order for the argument to uphold but indeed radical evidence can be found that Catholic orthodoxy has been sufficiently retained in many sects of Anglicanism today as well as to some extent in Lutheranism. Keeping in mind the amount of Catholic monastic groups that held competing theologies in the High Middle Ages leading up to the Protestant Reformation as well and a sufficient and legitimate case can be made that many Reformers held to quite orthodox truths when they split up from the Papacy throughout the 16th century. Luther could have been said to have died a Catholic. Anglicans didn’t have their XXXIX Articles from the start nor did corruption in doctrine persist until quite a bit later in the Anglican reformation. Regardless, the claim that Anglican Catholics are equivalent to Sedevacantist Catholics is perfectly legitimate. The Pope’s heresy was his abuse of authority in the High Middle Ages. Digest that, QVO.

About Emperor Thomas I

Catholic monarch of the New Roman Coalition. Consecrated to the Apostle Thomas, the Holy Martyr Sigismund, and the Holy Martyr Olaf II.
This entry was posted in Anglicanism, Catholicism, High Church, Western Rite. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to At what point did the reformers cease being Catholic?

  1. quiavideruntoculi says:

    Schism is as much a sin as heresy, and – like heresy – places the sinner ipso facto out of the Church. If a reformer was only guilty of schism, that would be sufficient.

    Abuse of authority is not heresy. If the Pope had taught “authority should be abused”, that would possibly qualify.

    Anglican “Catholics”, rejecting as they do many legitimate pontiffs on a cavalier and spurious basis, and with them the dogmata they infallible defined, separate themselves from that One Ark of Salvation, which is the Catholic Church, both by schism and by black heresy, which is to God the loathsomest thing under the sun.

    • The Papacy was guilty of schism. Hence the Reformation. And OMG, Anglican Catholics are NOT outside the Catholic Church…they are a BRANCH of the Catholic Church. We’ve been over this NUMEROUS TIMES MAN! NUMEROUS TIMES!

      • quiavideruntoculi says:

        ha ha ha

        It was right the first time you said it, and it’s still going to be right no matter how many times you repeat it.

      • That is absolutely correct QVO! Finally glad you and I are getting somewhere!

      • quiavideruntoculi says:

        I really ought to go to bed. It’s getting quite late here.

        I should have said it was SOUND the first time &c.
        Though I’m still trying to disagree with you. I’ll think about this and get back to you tomorrow. G’night.

      • Get some sleep. We’ll continue tomorrow.

      • quiavideruntoculi says:

        Deo volente.


      • Nighty night, honey.

      • quiavideruntoculi says:

        The Papacy is the principle of unity. A true Pope cannot be guilty of a schism; it is not possible. He cannot be insubordinate to himself.

        An Antipope may be a schismatic, but only by heretically denying his own authority, or – per impossibile – the authority of his own predecessors.

      • All Popes were antipopes from Paul III onward!

      • quiavideruntoculi says:

        Why would you want to believe that?

        Don’t you like the dogma of the Assumption? Don’t you like the dogma of the Immaculate Conception?

        What’s not to like? Weirdo.

      • Actually, I choose to remain agnostic on the immaculate conception. I believe in the Assumption though I prefer the term Dormition better since the Eastern Churches also believe in her dormition/assumption.

      • quiavideruntoculi says:

        Sorry that was garbage.

        A FALSE Pope could be a schismatic, but only by denying his PUTATIVE authority &c.

        An Antipope is always in schism. It goes with the job.

      • YOUR Popes declare my church schismatic. MY CHURCH declares your popes schismatic.

      • quiavideruntoculi says:

        But it doesn’t work, because the whole idea of schism presupposes a visible datum of unity from which to to be schismed.

        The Pope is that datum; there is no other.

      • The Popes from Paul III on were false Popes. A false Pope is no Pope at all. When we get a real Pope, then the church will be healed of its brokenness. Until then, think again.

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