The Glory Has Departed
Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence
Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Lutheran Pastors Want To Be Priests Now - And Called Father - No Change from Luther on the Priesthood
Luther's Epiphany Sermon
186. In the twelfth place, they are unchaste. How could it be otherwise when they are leading such a haughty, free, secure, indolent, gay and wanton life? How is it possible that they should remain chaste, addicted to all the aforesaid vices, when those scarcely succeed who live an irreproachable, virtuous life? Now, this vice is publicly known to exist among them, they indulge in it immeasurably and yet go unpunished. But no one is responsible for this unchastity but the pope, because he has forbidden the clergy to marry. If they were allowed to marry, many would abstain from the vices, but many of them would be obliged to choose a different calling. The evil spirit knew this well, and in order that such vice may be strengthened, he prompted the pope to forbid marriage. Thus has originated this peculiar institution, which is pleasing unto themselves. And lastly, he has beguiled them with this pretense, that they do not acknowledge, never regret, nor repent of, the eleven vices previously described, but regard them as right and virtuous, and enter heaven with them. But this twelfth vice is so coarse that they can not deny it. Here they do penance and confess it and thereby become as white again as snow, just as a sow that lies in the mud with its entire body. but keeps only one ear and a few bristles on its back clean.
187. In the thirteenth place, they are fierce; that is, they are entirely untried, untrained, inexperienced people, who cannot understand any shame; when you touch them they loose their temper, and this must all follow from their unrestrained life in which they have been reared. As a child that has been left to do as it pleased becomes coarse and knotty, so they also are inflexible, ungentle, intolerable people. They are accustomed to be honored, to receive plenty, to have their will and to go unpunished; if anything else, therefore, comes in their way, they will not tolerate it. But if they were under discipline as others, they would oftentimes have to give way and abstain from that which they now freely do and would no doubt become more mellow and mild, so that one could get along better with them. This vice is also a very open one, especially in the monasteries, where they call themselves pas-donates; that is, such that easily become angry.
188. In the fourteenth place, they are no lovers of good; that is, they do not regard the good, they are entirely unconcerned about performing good works and proceed as though they were not in need of good works and as if they knew another and better way to heaven. For they maintain that they are so superabundantly rich in good works, through holding mass and praying their horas that they can even sell them to others. They simply know of no other good works than their own self-imposed and self-chosen works, concerning which God has commanded nothing. Those who are the most pious make their testament when they die, institute masses and vigils, increase the fees of the officiating clergy and improve the possessions and the worship of the holy church. These are their good works; besides this their whole life is of no good and no benefit to anyone. Or would you call that a good work when they extort money from the poor people, as the Jews did, practice usury in all the lands and levy taxes on every house and head? Do not believe that they would ever give without returns, or loan without interest; on the contrary, they must gather for their wills and soulmasses.
Therefore it has become proverbial that a priest’s testament is a sausage, remains a sausage, and will be a sausage. Therefore the will passes through and through the testators from one to the other; that the property is not worthy to be of any benefit to the poor people. Thus also other good works, such as visiting the sick, clothing the naked, comforting the downcast and the like; being of service and benefit to neighbors, is with them neither a matter of concern nor an act of worship. They abide by their masses and church — howling and make of the mass a good work and offering. This costs them neither trouble nor money, but brings money and secures indolent and good days.
Posted by Gregory Jackson at 7:27 PM