Locusts and Luther – Oh My!

luther-wittenbergChapter 9 of the Apocalypse opens with Saint John’s terrifying vision:

“And the fifth Angel sounded the trumpet; and I saw a star fall from Heaven upon the earth, and to him was given the key to the bottomless pit.

“And he opened the bottomless pit: and the smoke of the pit ascended as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun was darkened, and the air with the smoke of the pit:

“And from the smoke of the pit, there came out locusts upon the earth, and power was given to them, as the scorpions of the earth have power.” (Apoc: 9:1-3)

Devout Catholic Scriptural commentators for the past 500 years have seen in this vision a prediction of Luther and his Protestant Revolt.

Father Herman Bernard Kramer, in The Book of Destiny, explains, “Luther did truly open the pit and let loose against the Church all the fury of hell. Therefore modern interpreters almost universally see in this fallen star, Luther.”[1] Father Kramer references the eminent Scriptural commentator, Cornelius a Lapide as making this point.[2]

“The whole description of the locusts”, Father Kramer explains, “fits down to the last detail the kings and princes who established by force the heresy of the 16th Century.” He continues:

“When Luther propounded his heretical and immoral doctrine, the sky became as it were obscured by smoke. It spread very rapidly over some regions of the earth, and it brought forth princes and kings who were eager to despoil the Church of her possessions. They compelled the people of their domains and in the territories robbed from the Church to accept the doctrines of Luther. The proponents of Protestantism made false translations of the Bible and misled the people into their errors by apparently proving from the ‘Bible’ (their own translations) the correctness of their doctrines. It was all deceit, lying and hypocrisy. Bad and weak, lax and lukewarm, indifferent and non-practicing Catholics and those who had neglected to get thorough instruction were thus misled; and these, seeing the Catholic Church now through this smoke of error from the abyss and beholding a distorted caricature of the true Church, began both to fear and hate her.”[3]

As for Luther, he did “everything to instill hatred of the [Catholic] Church into the hearts of his followers.”

“Celebrating” the Fifth Centenary of the Protestant Revolt