I note that eight DUP and two Ulster Unionist MPs signed a House of Commons Motion acknowledging the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation.
The DUP MP Mr Gregory Campbell, who submitted the motion, is reported as saying: “In 1517, the then German Catholic monk nailed his 95 theses to the church door at Wittenberg. This action is widely viewed as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.”
The motion acknowledged that freedom and prosperity followed this 1517 Reformation religious awaking.
Far from ushering in freedom and prosperity, Martin Luther’s revolt splintered and gravely weakened Europe, and Christendom, and caused much unwarranted bloodshed and destruction; for instance, arising from the Protestant revolt, Germany was torn asunder, in a 30 years war, in which millions were slaughtered and thousands of towns and villages destroyed.
Ireland, too, suffered greatly from the Protestant Reformation. The mainly Catholic population of Ireland was estimated at 2,000,000 before the Tudor Wars. According to a census made in 1659, after the Elizabethan and Protestant (Puritan) wars in Ireland, the population of Ireland had been reduced to approximately 500,000.
The Jewish genocide in Germany, in the middle of the last century, can be seen as an implementation of Martin Luther’s reforming Protestant crusade; Adolf Hitler considered Theodor Fritsch, who drew on Luther’s 1543 violently anti-Jewish book, On the Jews and Their Lies, in an anti-Semitic compendium, titled, Handbuch der Judenfrage - Handbook of the Jewish Question (Fritsch died in 1931), and which ran to forty-four editions by 1944, to have been a forerunner of his own ideas.
For example, an extract from the Protestant Reformer’s 288 page book, On the Jews and Their Lies (see recently published, Luther’s Jews), reads: “We are at fault for not killing them (the Jews) but rather, as a reward for all their murders, curses, blasphemies, lies and defilements, we allow them to remain freely in our midst, protecting and safeguarding their synagogues, houses, persons and property.”
Gregory Campbell MP’s adulatory Common’s motion, regarding Martin Luther’s reforming Protestant campaign and its effects, I suggest, does not reflect well on him or his House of Commons backers.
Micheal O’Cathail, Fermanagh