Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Bergoglio’s Gig: “Reformation Reconsidered”

Get ready. Please.

Reformation's anniversary brings commemorations, reconsiderations.

When Pope Francis visits Sweden at the end of October for the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, it will herald fresh debates on the greatest rift in Western Christianity.

The Roman Catholic message will likely be some variation of this:

“I hope Protestants will appreciate the effort Catholics are making for this event."

That is: “Be thankful for the Roman Catholic Church”.

The Roman Catholic Church is the source of all grace in the world

But really, the Roman Catholic Church wants to sweep its own past under the rug and have you forget about it. Yes, we see a lot of that today. But Rome was the first, and is still the oldest practitioner of this type of head fake. Keep in mind this one example of Roman Catholic repression of knowledge:

In 1543 a little book was published in Venice with the title Trattato utilissimo del beneficio di Giesu Christo crocifisso i cristiani (A Most Useful Treatise on the Merits of Jesus Christ Crucified for Christians), written by an elusive Benedictine monk called Benedetto da Mantova (dates of birth and death unknown, but his surname seems to have been fontanino) with some help from the humanist and poet Marcantonio Flaminio (1498-1550), a popular work of piety that was translated into several languages including Croat.

At first sight this may appear to be a piece of native Italian Christocentrism, part of a Pauline and Augustinian renaissance known to have been nourished by a Spanish humanist and biblicist, Juan de Valdes (1500-1541), whose pious circle in Naples had included Flaminio. But the Beneficio can be read in more than one way. It proves to have been made up from a number of transalpine Protestant texts, and especially the 1539 edition of Calvin's Institutes. Whether or not Benedetto had come across Calvin in his monastery on the slopes of Mount Etna, which seems unlikely, the Institutes was known to Flaminio.

It is hard to distinguish between the theology of the Beneficio and Protestantism. "Man can never do good works unless he first know himself to be justified by faith." Other scholars insist, however, that the Beneficio is an expression of Evangelism, a movement that was not generated by Protestantism and should be distinguished from it. What is certain is that the Beneficio was placed on the Index and so successfully repressed by the Roman Inquisition that of the many thousands of copies of the Italian edition that were once in existence only one is known to survive, discovered in the library of a Cambridge college in the nineteenth century. That sort of successful repression was the Counter-Reformation. (The Reformation, a History, Patrick Collinson, (c)2003, pgs 105-106.)


  1. Don't they mean the 499th anniversary? Or is Francis going next year?

  2. He's going this year, but it may be counted something like "this is the 500th year" -- just as a baby who's born is in his "first" year. There will no doubt be lots of exciting announcements this year!