Thursday, September 22, 2005

Is THIS "Religious Anti-Catholicism"? YOU be the Judge

Birth and Origin of the Pope; one of a series of eight pieces of "art" commissioned by Martin Luther, by the artist Lucas Cranach, for Luther's work Against the Papacy at Rome, Founded by the Devil (March 1545). Luther told Cranach what to depict, and wrote a rhyming verse for each plate. Here is a clear example of religious anti-Catholicism, as opposed to political and social. Luther's intent (based on the false premises of the book to which this was attached) was to belittle and mock and publicly embarrass the Catholic Church (hence the childish, vulgar toilet humor, etc.).

This is classic anti-Catholicism, which makes sense, since Luther virtually originated the tendency which has persisted ever since in certain minority Protestant circles. He generally didn't advocate corporate persecution of Catholics; he saved that for the fellow Protestant Anabaptists, for whom he sanctioned the death penalty for believing in adult baptism - James White or Frank Turk or Phil Johnson might very well have been put to death by Luther's edict, but not a Catholic like myself. Protestant scholar Mark Edwards, from whose book I found this "art" (Luther's Last Battles: Politics and Polemics, 1531-1546; Ithaca, New York and London: Cornell University Press, 1983) wrote, describing this travesty:
[It] shows the Pope and three cardinals being expelled from the anus of a female devil while three furies are nursing and caring for three infant popes . . . a graphic echo of Luther's assertion in his treatise that the pope had been born from the devil's behind.

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