This year the Christian World commemorates the five-hundredth anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, an event that tradition tells us began on October 31, 1517 when Martin Luther posted his ninety-five theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. At the center of this movement stands Luther’s rediscovery of the Gospel message: human beings do not earn their salvation by doing good works; rather, God freely offers salvation to all who believe. In last month’s column, I considered some protestant theological tenets (e.g. the “Sola Fide” principle) which, shifting the accent in the religious experience from “Works” to “Faith alone”, also provoked an important separation between Church and Society, thus introducing a huge cultural revolution. The resulting Voluntarism has been a positive ingredient in shaping today’s efficient societies and churches. But it has also become an ambivalent event that urgently demands a new theological and cultural reformulation.
A fifth main characteristic of the Reformation is represented by its radical defense of the “Soli Deo Gloria” principle. “Soli Deo Gloria”, or "glory to God alone", stands in opposition to the worship perceived by many to be present in the Roman Catholic Church through the veneration of Mary the mother of Jesus, the saints or angels. “Soli Deo Gloria” is the teaching that all glory is to be due to God alone, since salvation is accomplished solely through His will and action. The reformers believed that human beings (i.e. saints canonized by the Roman Catholic Church) are not worthy of the glory that was accorded them. That is, one should not exalt such humans for their good works, but rather praise and give glory to God who is the author and sanctifier of these people and their good works.
Soli - Deo - Gloria - Principle - Catholics
But the “Soli Deo Gloria” principle doesn’t apply only to Catholics. It...
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