Wednesday, January 31, 2007

"Are Protestants Heretics"

I saw this post on Cyberbrethren, and I find it fascinating. Martin Luther (I think it was him) said that quite a few people "get" the Gospel on their death bed. And what do we read about St. Therese? Have a look!

"I am very happy that I am going to heaven. But when I think of this word of the Lord, “I shall come soon and bring with me my recompense to give to each according to his works,” I tell myself that this will be very embarrassing for me, because I have no works. … Very well! He will render to me according to His works for His own sake."

Can you believe it? I suppose death does really focus the mind.

And if you like conspiracy theories, these passages were suppressed for over a century.(Please see update below)

Now, her writing here sounds very, very Lutheran to me. The author of the article, Edward T. Oakes, S.J., agrees.

The overall point of the article is that many RC people throw the "heretic" label around a little too liberally, as to many prots who can never seem to find Christ inside the RCC--even though he is there in the Sacraments.

Anyway, I suggest anyone who reads this blog read the whole article, it is really pretty interesting.


I am revising this post because Fr. Oakes removed the reference to suppression of St. Therese's works; Rusty pointed out this never happened. There was no suppression of St. Therese's works because they sounded too Lutheran, in fact there was no supression at all. Upstate Lutheran regrets the error.


Rusty T said...

I thought I'd find this on your blog. Care to correct yourself? I know you were only relying upon secondary sources (kinda like Steve Ray), but Fr. Oakes and First Things felt it wise to correct their mistakes after I pointed it out to them ( Would you like to follow suite?

Edward Reiss said...


Where are the mistakes Fr. Oaks corrected?

Rusty T said...

These two paragraphs were completely removed:
Sometimes, when I'm in an impish mood with the seminarians in my class, I like to quote something out of character from someone famous and have the students guess who said it. When I read these quotes from Thérèse, they'll take a stab and say it's from Martin Luther in one of his more pious moods, or John Calvin, or maybe Karl Barth. Imagine the shock when I tell them it came from that "Lutheran Carmelite," the Little Flower!

Not surprisingly, these passages were suppressed from the first edition of her writings (edited by her fellow nuns at the Carmel in Lisieux) but were restored by more scientifically inclined scholars in the 1950s. These restored passages brought about a revolution in the interpretation of Thérèse, showing her to be a theologian of remarkable depth and uncanny insight, though unschooled in every way except in the crucible of her own experience. In fact, it was these very passages that led Pope John Paul II to declare her a Doctor of the Church.

Because, as I pointed out to Fr. Oakes and the editors of First Things, those comments were based on an error on Fr. Oakes' part.

Now . . . your turn.

Rusty T said...

Didn't know if you got my first response to your last question, but in short (if you didn't), Fr. Oakes removed the two paragraphs which characterized the two quotes as being repressed by the Catholic Church because of their 'Lutheranist' qualities. This is entirely false, of course, because as anyone who cared to look could see that the earliest versions of St. Theresé's autobiography contained BOTH of the quotes used by Fr. Oakes.

I'm glad they chose to remove those two paragraphs, although they should have notified the reader of their correction.

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