Saturday, December 25, 2010

A short history of the Hootenanny Mass & other absurdities... part 7

Letter to Harold “Hoot” and Annie Gibson cont. part 7


Henry VIII (1491-1547), King of England from 1509. Remember Luther? He tacked up his 95 Theses and started the whole ball rolling around 1517. Henry was staunchly Catholic, but un-staunched as the Reformation unfolded. (Staunch: firm and steadfast; true. One often hears of staunch Republicans, though I have never heard of a staunch Democrat but there must be some. Where was I? Oh yes... the Reformation) He was so staunch that he wrote a book in 1521 called “The Defense of the Seven Sacraments” for which Pope Leo X (not very staunch) rewarded Henry the title “Defender of the Faith.”

Henry’s life was charmed. He was young, handsome, both scholarly and athletic. His father Henry VII, had been so tight that he squeaked and thus left Henry with a full treasury. He had a lovely Spanish wife, the aunt of Emperor Charles V, the most powerful man on earth, (very, very staunch). She adored him. He was the very model of the Renaissance prince and was loved by all, except for the people whose heads he lopped off, beginning early in his reign with his miserly father’s finance ministers. Having taken care of the treasury department, he promptly started to spend all that money on his two favorite hobbies: building palaces and invading France.

Did I mention he was loved by all? Especially the Boleyn girls. There was a rumor that young prince Henry had been a very close friend of Lady Elizabeth Boleyn. Just scurrilous court gossip probably, but he was definitely a special friend of her daughter, Mary Boleyn by whom he may have had one or perhaps two children, and her little sister, Ann. All three of the Boleyn girls, mother and both daughters were ladies in waiting at the Tudor court. One wonders just what they were waiting for. Well, with Ann it became pretty clear. She was waiting for a wedding ring and the crown of England. Meanwhile, Henry’s Spanish wife had managed to produce one measly daughter and Henry wanted a son and heir a Henry IX, if you will.

He decided that he had sinned by marrying Queen Catherine who had been his brother’s wife. His brother had died and the king, Henry VII, (the miser), had not wanted to return Catherine’s dowry to her Spanish relatives, so he asked the pope for permission to marry his second son off to the first son’s widow. No problem. It seems that Prince Arthur and Princess Catherine had never managed to complete the nuptials (remember this is a family column), so what was the issue? A dead prince who had never really been a husband?

Well, much later, Henry decided that he was living in sin with a Spanish princess who had been his brother’s true wife. His conscience was sore grieved. It wasn’t sore grieved by the fact that he was catting about with any lady in waiting who didn’t have the good sense to wait somewhere else, including a couple of sisters who were young enough to have been his daughters, one of whom may well have been, (though modern scholars dispute this. I still can’t help mentioning it. It makes for fun reading.) Ann had more sense than most of them. She refused the king which drove him wild with etc., etc. So he decide to dump his Spanish wife, who had let herself go a little bit anyway, and petitioned the pope for an annulment.

The pope had problems with the annulment. Queen Catherine’s nephew, (remember him? the most powerful man in the world who had an army that had just sacked Rome). There was the little matter that the woman Henry wanted to marry was the sister of Henry’s former girlfriend and he was probably the father of two children to whom he would soon be uncle by marriage and heaven knows what else, and had a legitimate daughter, Mary, by his first wife, who was supposed to inherit the crown. All this would make birthdays and Christmas a little confusing, to say the least. What to do, being a staunch Catholic and all? Ann was a clever girl and gave the king a book called “The Obedience of the Christian Man” which essentially said that there are kings in the Bible, but no popes, and that the king should run the Church in his own country. Wycliff had said as much a long time ago. So to get on with the story.

Henry declared himself head of the Church in England, gave himself an annulment, married Ann, crowned her queen and then chopped her head off. Really. She was only queen for three years, but oh, what eventful years they were! She convinced Henry to appoint one of her family friends, Thomas Cranmer, as the Archbishop of Canterbury, who in turn sponsored Thomas Cromwell for the job of Chancellor. They were both convinced Protestants and helped Ann bring the Calvinist version of the Reformation to England. Cranmer was useful theologically and Cromwell politically. All those palaces and invasions of France were expensive, so Cromwell got the idea that if they closed down the monasteries, and confiscated their lands and the incomes, all would be well. Slight problem: the monasteries maintained the schools, orphanages, hospitals, soup kitchens, homes for poor and aged and rented the land at low rates to the rural poor.

Suddenly all the monks and nuns and the people they had served were homeless and wandered the countryside begging. Toward the end of Henry’s life, Cromwell tried to solve the problem by declaring vagrancy a crime punishable by enslavement and worse. That must have helped. The estimates vary, but usually hover around 70,000 dead in Henry’s reform of the Church in England.

As I mentioned, Ann got her crown but didn’t long have a head on which to wear it. She was accused of incest, adultery and a host of other things, having also produced one measly girl, Elizabeth. More about her later. Henry managed to carry on somehow. He managed to carry on with another lady in waiting. One day after Anne's execution, Henry got engaged to Jane Seymour, with whom he had recently been keeping company. They were married 10 days later.

She died in 1537 from complications of childbirth, but she had produced a male heir, Edward (more later). Henry went on to wed Anne of Cleves, a German Protestant princess whose Teutonic charms did not appeal to Henry. He annulled the marriage and moved on to Catherine Howard, you guessed it, another lady in waiting whom he eventually beheaded, and finally Catherine Parr, who managed to out-live the old goat. And so Henry died in 1547, he started out a young, athletic Catholic with a happy marriage. He died obese, crippled, and heretical, the husband of six wives and numerous mistresses. England was in turmoil and tens of thousands dead and many more homeless, but Henry did manage to produce three children and the Church of England.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

A short history of the Hootenanny Mass & other absurdities... part 6

Letter to Harold “Hoot” and Annie Gibson cont. part 6

“JEAN CAUVIN et SON AMI FLAMBEE“ (That’s French for John Calvin and his toasted friend.)

Luther lost control of “his” reformation and pretty much everybody in Europe lost control of everything. The peasants of Germany decided to celebrate their new found Christian freedom by slaughtering the landowners to whom they had owed a feudal obligation. They figured if the priests no longer needed popes and bishops who needed landlords? So in 1525, the peasants rose up to throw off their shackles and establish the kingdom of God on Earth. This was not what Fr. Luther had in mind, so he wrote a tract to the German nobility asking for their help. It has the charming title “Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants” which urged the nobility to treat the rebels like mad dogs. Allow me to quote : “Therefore let everyone who can, smite, slay, and stab, secretly or openly, remembering that nothing can be more poisonous, hurtful, or devilish than a rebel... For baptism does not make men free in body and property, but in soul;” Thus Luther.

The German nobility were only to happy to help out. They slaughtered about 100,000 peasants and thus began a century of war in Europe that, when it ended in 1652, had taken between 8 and 10 million lives. This figure counts the English Civil Wars (Why do they call wars “civil”?) in which the followers of Calvin tried to stamp out the last vestiges of Catholicism in the British Isles. That meant 200,000 dead in Scotland and England, and 618,000 in Ireland or about 40% of that island’s population, The total population of Europe in 1600 was 78 million, so “reformation” was accomplished by the death of one out ten people. The death toll in Germany was more like 1 out of every 3. They certainly took Luther seriously when he told them “smite, slay and stab.” (Oddly enough Spain was the safest place to be at the time. The Spanish Inquisition hadn’t let the lunacy get a foothold and not one person died in religious wars in Spain.)

Between his failure to control the reformation and his cooperation with Phillip of Hesse’s odd marital situation, Luther lost the initiative. Father Ulrcih Zwingli (1484-1531) was the pastor of the parish church in Einsiedeln, Switzerland. He thought Luther hadn’t gone far enough. There should be no mass, no saints, no bishops no vestments, not no how. Eventually he died with sword in hand at the battle of Kappel in 1531, aged only 47. The mantle of reform was taken up by a recent immigrant to Switzerland, a Frenchman named Jean Cauvin, or as we call him John Calvin (1509-1564). Like Luther, Calvin was trained as a lawyer. He broke from the Catholic Church around 1530. (To put things in perspective In 1530 Luther was 47 years old, Calvin a lad of 21, and the reformation had been rolling along for ten years and the death toll was only up to 100,000. After a violent reaction against Protestants in France, Calvin fled to Basel, Switzerland. There he was recruited by William Farel to help reform the Church in Geneva. Calvin created new forms of Church government and liturgy, and wrote his masterwork, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. He taught five central points that can be remembered by the acronym T-U-L-I-P:

Total depravity (Good name for a punk rock band)
Unlimited election (Sounds like Chicago politics)
Limited atonement (Sounds like the fine print in a car warranty)
Irresistible Grace (Sounds like something from a beauty pageant)
Perseverance of the Saints (Sounds like a New Orleans football game)

Perhaps I should define a little more precisely.
Total depravity: there is nothing left of the divine image in humanity.
Unconditional election: God created us to go to heaven in order to show His mercy and created you to go to hell to show his justice. (Us and You in the equation depends on whose Church we’re talking about.) In other words some people were designed for eternal suffering. The whole concept makes Hitler look like a Campfire Girl.
Limited atonement: Jesus only died for the saved.
Irresistible grace: You have no free will. God’s grace is so great that if he chooses to save you, you are powerless to resist.
Perseverance of the saints: Once saved, always saved. (Wouldn’t that be nice?)

In addition to his T-U-L-I-P, Calvin taught that each congregation was a Church in itself and needed no pope or bishop and that each individual inspired by the Holy Spirit was sufficient to interpret the Scriptures. In other words, each church its own denomination and everyone his own pope. And so 500 years after the reformation we have 30 or 40 thousand different kinds of Christianity. Thank you, Monsieur Calvin.

Don’t think for a moment that Calvin, believed that everyone was entitled to his opinion. You were only entitled to Calvin’s opinion. If you disagreed with Calvin you were exiled from Geneva or worse. Once a man said publicly that he didn’t care what Calvin taught, he was sure that he himself had free will, he was quickly tried and sentenced to exile. He promised he would believe what Calvin taught, but please don’t send him away from wife, children and home. Calvin magnanimously allowed him to stay if he did public penance by walking through the streets of Geneva in his undershirt carrying a lighted candle, begging Calvin’s forgiveness.

Fun was pretty much outlawed in the New and Reformed Geneva, drinking frowned on, singing and dancing and the like. Calvin banned plays and tried to introduce religious pamphlets and psalm singing into Geneva's taverns. At one point Calvin closed the taverns and replaced them with “evangelical refreshment places” where moderate drinking was allowed, but only when accompanied with Bible reading. There were laws against certain clothes and work or pleasure on Sunday. Those found guilty of wild dancing were severely punished. Those condemned for “bawdy singing” had their tongues pierced. (I wonder what Calvin would have made of the tongue piercing craze of our times. Would he have become a body piercing enthusiast? He seems to have liked piercing but disapproved of jewelry.)

Calvin rediscovered the Old Testament which clearly calls for strict punishments. Jesus’ dialogue with the woman caught in adultery, “Has no one condemned you? Neither, then, do I” does not seem to cross Calvin’s mind or heart. Idolatry, as Calvin defined it, rosaries, religious images and the like, was punished with death, as was blasphemy. As in the Law of Moses, to curse or strike a parent, should be punished with death and so Calvin once had a child executed for striking his parent. The penalty for adultery is, of course, death. Calvin had his own stepdaughter, among others, burned at the stake for adultery as well as her husband, his son-in-law, in a separate incident.

But the icing on the Calvinist cake is the death of Michael Servetus. Servetus was a Unitarian. He did not believe in the Trinity and so fled the Inquisition in his native Spain. Calvin was an old acquaintance, and Servetus assumed he would be safe in Geneva’s anti-Papist republic. Calvin and Servetus had written about thirty letters to each other, debating doctrine until Calvin got angry and stopped corresponding. The greatest offense was that Servetus had sent Calvin a copy of Calvin’s own Institutes of the Christian Religion with corrections in the margins pointing out Calvin’s errors. Servetus decided to visit Geneva with Calvin’s permission in 1547. Calvin, however wrote a letter to Farel, his aforementioned collaborator, saying that if Servetus came to Geneva there would be trouble, “for if he came, as far as my authority goes, I would not let him leave alive.” On his way to Italy, Servetus was dumb enough to pass through Geneva where he attended one of Calvin's sermons. Calvin had him arrested. After a long trial designed by Calvin’s opponents to irritate him, the town council, at Calvin’s bidding, condemned Servetus to death as a heretic. Calvin had a moment of pity and asked that Servetus be beheaded instead of burnt. No Luck. Servetus was burnt on a pyre of his own books.

Calvin was the consummate work-aholic. He wrote night and day corresponding with his followers from Poland in the east to England in the west. One of his most important correspondents was the Duke of Somerset, the regent of England for the boy king, Edward Tudor, son of Henry VIII. In 1546 in a letter to Somerset, he expounded on his theory about the right of punishment taught in the Law of Moses, which threatened stiff-necked people with death, just what of England wanted to hear.

Somerset raised his nephew, King Edward, as a strict Calvinist and thus set the stage for the English civil wars. When Edward died at age 15, his very Catholic sister, Mary, decided to bring England back to the Catholic church. Like rats from a sinking ship, Protestant leaders fled England. Calvin was more than happy to shelter English exiles in Geneva starting in 1555 Eventually, they formed their own reformed churches under the tutelage of John Knox and William Whittingham and so carried Calvin's ideas back to England and Scotland, and thence to the whole English speaking world. Before we can move on to the Pilgrims and their progress, we need to take a side trip to figure out just how Calvin took the Merry out of Merry Olde England.


Friday, December 10, 2010

A short history of the Hootenanny Mass & other absurdities... part 5

Letter to Harold “Hoot” and Annie Gibson cont. part 4


After the Parliament at Worms, Luther spent the next ten months hiding out. Duke Frederick III, Elector of Saxony “kidnapped” him on his way back home to Wittenberg and took him to the Wartburg Castle at Eisenach in a kind of protective custody, thus saving him from the emperor who was loyal to the traditional Church. There he had nothing to do but translate the scriptures, hunt wild boar and write vitriolic pamphlets against the papacy and the faith.

Many people are under the assumption that Luther first translated the Bible into a common tongue. Not so! There were fourteen perfectly good translations of the Bible in the German language. Luther produced a New Testament while he was in hiding. It was not the first of its kind, but was significant for its de-emphasis of certain books, notably the epistle of James which Luther called “an epistle of straw,” in which he found “little that pointed to Christ and His saving work.” Neither was he very fond of the book of Revelation, in which he could “in no way detect that the Holy Spirit produced it.” Luther took a dim view of Esther, Hebrews, and Jude as well, and denied the canonical nature of seven Old Testament books that were held as Scripture by all Christians from the most ancient times. These are the books of Tobit, Judith, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, and Baruch, and some of Esther and Daniel. The whole hatchet job on God’s written Word began in 1522 and was finished in 1534.

As important as what he took out of the Bible was what he put in. Luther added the word “alone” to Romans 3:28 so that it reads, “man is justified without the works of the law but through faith ALONE.” The word "alone" does not appear in the original Greek text. In fact, the only place where the phrase “faith alone” appears in the New Testament is in James 2:24 “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” Remember? Luther wanted to dump the Letter of St. James. It didn’t agree with his theology.

In Germany, the main meal is still at noon. (Ah, I think fondly of the old country and Aunt Lisa’s pot roast.....) Anyway, Luther would dig into the sauerkraut and spaetzle, wash it down with a beer and get to talking. (Allow me to quote Luther regarding beer “Whoever drinks beer, he is quick to sleep; whoever sleeps long, does not sin; whoever does not sin, enters Heaven! Thus, let us drink beer!” And again “The Word is the principal part of baptism. If in an emergency there’s no water at hand, it doesn’t matter whether water or beer is used.” I include these two quotes just to irritate Baptists.) Thus refreshed, Dr. Luther would begin to hold forth while his students furiously took notes, and Luther would say the darndest things. For instance during his lunchtime pontifications, Luther, claimed that his idea that people need to commit real and honest sins had originated in a conversation with the Devil!

At one of these lunches Luther was apparently questioned by one of his students regarding his addition of the word “ALONE” to Romans 3:28. The student said that all of Christendom wondered why Luther had added the word “alone” to the text. Luther responded, “ Tell them that.....Luther will have it so, and he is a doctor above all the doctors in Popedom.” (Amic. Discussion, 1, 127,'The Facts About Luther,' O'Hare, TAN Books, 1987, p. 201. and John Lawson Stoddard. Rebuilding a Lost Faith. 1922, pp 101-102. I am having a little trouble with this footnote. I cannot find out what Amic. Discussion is. If anyone knows, I would be grateful for the information. I like to have primary sources whenever possible.) Apparently Luther denied papal infallibility, but not his own.

Luther also denied the right of the pope to give dispensations, but Luther himself seemed to have given a real whopper of a dispensation. One of Luther’s great protectors was the Duke of Hesse, Phillip II. But Phillip had a problem. In 1526 he had married Christine of Saxony, who was reputedly ugly, sick, and drunk most of the time. He fell in love with a 17-year-old, named Margarethe von der Saale. He couldn’t divorce Christine, but didn’t want to make Margarethe his mistress. After all, that would be adultery. In the end, he got permission from Martin Luther, who decided that bigamy was less sinful than divorce.

The bigamous wedding took place in 1540 witnessed by Martin Bucer and Philip Melanchthon, two of Luther’s followers. Luther, claiming that he had given this advice in the confessional, refused to admit his role in the marriage! I mention this sordid affair not merely to snipe at heretics, though that is certainly fun. I do it because Father Luther’s modern day disciples in the Catholic Church often do the same thing. I have heard of priests in the confessional passing out “annulments” and giving permission to use artificial birth control or not to worry about some sin or the other. Like Luther, they have a power to dispense from the very law of God that the Catholic Church has never claimed even for the pope in Rome. “Father knows better than the Pope!” It was Luther’s motto, and it’s the motto of quite a few of his present day descendants.

Back to the Wartburg! Luther was very upset that people back at Wittenberg were going too fast and that they had not asked his permission for the things they were initiating, such as destroying religious images, and changing the liturgy. It was HIS reform and they should not proceed without HIS direction. But it was too late. The genie was out of the bottle and every man was his own pope, just like Luther. It was while Luther was at the Wartburg that he came up with the idea that is most important for our discussion of the roots of the Hootenanny Mass. It was in the Wartburg he decided that the Mass was not a sacrifice but that it existed for the consolation and the instruction of the faithful. Thus did much of the Christian world stop worshiping God. The liturgy was no longer the fitting sacrifice of the Blood shed on Calvary, but had become the exercise in narcissism that passes for worship in most mega-churches and now infects Catholicism wherever she is not persecuted.

Luther left the Wartburg with his program in order and Europe in chaos. Bible alone, faith alone and Luther alone would make everything better. He returned to the university, dumped his religious attire and married a former nun, Katherine von Bora in 1525. They went on to have six children. He blathered while Europe bled. He held forth at lunch, in the lecture hall, and the pulpit, wrote diatribes and attended the occasional meeting, and became increasingly irrelevant to the revolution he had started. His last sermon was delivered at Eisleben on February 15, 1546, three days before his death. It was about the “...obdurate Jews, whom it was a matter of great urgency to expel from all German territory.” It ended by urging the congregation “to drive the Jews bag and baggage from their midst, unless they desisted from their calumny and their usury and became Christians.”

“We want to practice Christian love toward them and pray that they convert... but also that they are our public enemies ... and if they could kill us all, they would gladly do so. And so often they do.” He died on February 18, 1546. It would be almost 400 years before an unemployed Austrian painter fulfilled Luther’s dying admonition.

Just a final thought. I once visited the Wartburg with Jacob von der Suppe Kueche, a dear friend and convert to Catholicism. He was shaking his head as he returned from freshening up. In the washroom of this reformation shrine, there was a machine for dispensing (family column; euphemism to follow) intimate male protection/birth control devices. He said “I’ve been all over Europe and have never seen such a machine in a Catholic shrine." All his arguments with his Protestant relatives were over. He had seen the inevitable absurdity of Fr. Luther’s reformation. “Blessed the womb that never bore, the breast that never nursed.” (Luke 11:27)


Saturday, December 4, 2010

A short history of the Hootenanny Mass & other absurdities... part 4

Letter to Harold “Hoot” and Annie Gibson cont. part 4
I hope by now I’ve convinced you that things were a mess in Christendom by around 1500. People knew that reform and renewal were necessary if Europe and Christianity were going to continue, but what form would the renewal of the Church take? 

Would it be inspired by people like Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) a Spanish knight from a Basque noble family, hermit, priest, and founder of the Jesuits and Saint Peter of Alcántara (1499 -1562) a Spanish Franciscan and the woman he inspired, Saint Teresa of Ávila, ( 1515- 1582) Carmelite nun and reformer of convents, and her friend Saint John of the Cross (1542-1591), Spanish mystic and Carmelite friar and priest? They taught that only a renewal of the soul, particularly among the clergy and religious could untie the knot. Not everyone thought this way. As the 1500's dawned, the world stood at the brink of a whole new world, Columbus had returned to Spain after finding a whole new world. The Spanish speaking world exploded with growth in a way that had never happened before, and with the Spanish language and culture, the reforms of St. Teresa and St. Ignatius and the others traveled around the world.
But in the cold north, there was another kind of reform brewing. The great minds of France and England and the German speaking lands thought that perhaps a council should be called to govern the Church. Where the ideas of Huss and Wycliff had taken root, a council seemed the only possible solution. Enough of popes. Let a council elected by the rulers of Europe run things. Change was inevitable. But there was a fuse that lit the fire that soon burned out of control in all the lands north of the Alps and Pyrenees. That fuse was Father Martin Luther, an unhappy Catholic priest.
Martin Luther was born November 10, 1483 (he died February 18, 1546). He was the son of a man who was on his way up from being a miner. Hans Luther had started his own mining company in order to better the position of the family. He wanted the best for son Martin,  and the best was law school as far as Hans was concerned. In 1501, at the age of nineteen, Martin entered the University of Erfurt to study law. Eventually he left law school and entered religious life. On July 2, 1505, he was returning to school after a visit home. There was a terrible thunderstorm and a lightning bolt struck near him. Terrified, he cried out “Help! Saint Anna, I will become a monk!”

Being a German and a law student he believed he had made a vow and would not break it. He left law school, sold his books, and entered an Augustinian friary (something like a monastery) in Erfurt on July 17,1505. Luther was depressed by his own decision. He said to his friends at a farewell party, “This day you see me, and then, not ever again.” Luther was depressed, but his father was furious over the waste of an expensive education. To make the long story short, Luther tried his best, but never liked the religious life. Luther said this period of his life was one of spiritual despair. He said, “I lost touch with Christ the Savior and Comforter, and made of Him the jailor and hangman of my poor soul.” Eventually he became a teacher. In 1512, he joined the faculty of the University of Wittenberg and spent the rest of his life as a theology professor there.
I’ve already told you about Tetzel and the 95 Theses. Remember I told you about the German princes who were sick and tired of having popes tell them not to oppress their peasants, and the crowd that was in Rome at the time seemed for the most part like money crazed frat boys. The German emperor summoned Fr. Luther to explain himself at the annual parliament, called the Diet, held that year in the town of Worms (pronounced “voorms”). How many school children have learned not that Luther was summoned to the parliament at the German town of “Voorms, but rather that Luther forced by the pope to eat a diet of worms? But as I always say the German language of my ancestors is in fact the language of romance.

Where was I? Oh yes the Diet of Worms. Luther was not merely opposed to the abuse of power on the part of some churchmen. He questioned the whole theological structure of the faith. During his years of teaching theology and hating his own religious life, he had drunk deeply of the ideas then current in central Germany. The pope’s authority was inferior to that of a council, one is saved by faith alone, good works are unimportant, man is not free. God’s grace is so sovereign that man had no free will, we are predestined to heaven or hell and there is nothing we can do about it. He once wrote: “Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your faith in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where righteousness can exist….No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery a thousand times each day” He believed that if we were among the chosen, our sinning could not keep us from heaven. Faith alone, grace alone Bible alone!
At the Diet of Worms Luther was presented with copies of his writings laid out on a table and asked if he had written them and stood by them. Luther said they were his, but asked for a night to think over the second part of the question. The next day he said “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything.” 

It is said that the Emperor at one point asked him if after 1500 years of Christian faith, he, Martin Luther, was the first one to get it right. Luther essentially said yes. He did not trust popes nor councils, but he asked Europe to trust him and his interpretations. He left the Diet unharmed, having been given a safe conduct, but on his way home, he was kidnapped by one of the German princes who hid Luther in his castle, the Wartburg, (another unfortunate name). Luther grew a beard, donned civilian clothes and spent his time in protective custody in the castle writing anti Catholic tracts translating the Bible in a way that agreed with him and hunting wild boars. Meanwhile, outside the castle the dying started. Untold hundreds of thousands and even millions died over the next century and in fact, that is when Europe began to die.