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2017 marks the 500th anniversary of Fr. Martin Luther's revolt against the Church, a revolution which cost the Church a third of Europe and today is still tearing the Church apart.
Since the proliferation of so much error following Luther and the original revolutionaries, it's impossible for Catholics to speak of religious truth without being seen to at least be denigrating some other religion. This is a situation that Catholics need to be prepared to deal with because the foundational reality is true.
To say Catholicism is the One True Faith automatically says that all other religions are not. And that's correct. The Son of God incarnated and established only one Church, one Faith — outside of which there is no salvation. For the first 1,500 years of its existence, Christianity was Catholicism and Catholicism was Christianity (Eastern Orthodox excepted).
Then a renegade priest — Augustinian Friar Martin Luther — lashed out at the corruption he saw in the Church and shortly after, went off the rails denying virtually all the truths of the Church in the process. From this point forward, Christianity would be split between Catholics and Protestants, of which there are more than 40,000 denominations, each with its own major divisions.
The defining point of Protestantism is a denial of the authority of the Catholic Church. That authority is then transferred to the individual, for each to decide what is moral and immoral, negotiable in the Scripture and what is not, even which texts are canonical and which are not.
In Protestantism, there are potentially as many definitions of Christ and Church as there are individual Protestants. This also includes, importantly, morality.
It's significant to note that Protestantism denies more of the Catholic faith than it agrees with — from the Real Presence to the Blessed Virgin Mary to Purgatory to justification and redemptive suffering to the understanding of Church itself, practically every major teaching is either rejected, watered down or misunderstood.
What we witness today inside the Catholic Church is a rapidly growing acceptance of Protestant heresies. Virtually no area has been left undisturbed in the day-to-day life of the Church — from liturgy, to private devotion, to the cult of saints, to music, to education, to morality, to Scripture studies, to priestly formation to family life to the sacraments to ecumenism. No corner of the Church has not been rocked by the Protestant revolution.
This has caused a great diminution of Catholic identity. And a loss of Catholic identity has resulted in a loss of individual Catholics. For the first time in world history, the overall percentage of Christians who are Catholics is on the verge of slipping below 50 percent. As of 2015, just 50.1 percent of Christians worldwide are Catholics. Protestants comprise 36.7 percent, while the Orthodox churches account for 11.9 percent.
Catholics need to look at those numbers for a moment and consider — seriously consider — the state of affairs in the Church. Again, for the first time in world history, with the possible exception of the Arian crisis of the fourth century, Catholicism is about to be outnumbered by those in schism and heresy rather than those who belong to the One True Church established by Christ.
In this anniversary year of the revolt, it is protestantism which has invaded the Church, the 500-year-old heresy which faithful Catholics must resist.
St. Micheal, pray for us.
If you would like to support Church Militant's growing Resistance movement, please click on the link.
We have hundreds of members spread across multiple dozens of dioceses. This 500th anniversary year of the Protestant Revolt is the perfect moment to resist this evil in the Church.