AUGUSTINIANS FOR AND AGAINST MARTIN LUTHER (2)
(In 1512 Bartholomäus (Bartholomew) von Usingen had become an Augustinian at the age of fifty years. Later stationed in Wurzburg, he attended the Diet of Augsburg in 1850 to be part of the rebuttal of the Augsburg Confession. He published at least ten books against Lutheranism, and died in 1532.)
From the pulpit and by the written word, Nathin and von Usingen opposed Luther's teaching, and earned the wrath of Martin Luther for their opposition.
The death in 1547 of Johann Hoffmeister before his fortieth birthday was a great loss to the German Catholic defence against Luther, and Wolfgang Kappelmaier (died 1531) of Munich was early in challenging Luther.
In Switzerland, Konrad Treger (died 1542) of Freiburg opposed the teaching of Luther, and in 1528 was authoritative in the religious discussions at Bern.
When he began twelve years as Prior General in 1539, Seripando began a reform of doctrine in the Order, and made it the principal duty of his administration.
He not only combatted Lutheranism but also positively promoted a wholesome spirituality based on a Catholic interpretation of the doctrine of Saint Paul and the writings of Augustine.
Italian Augustinians, Pietro Sanudo (died 1553), Pellegrino Naselli and Agostino Moereschini, who both died in 1559, wrote against the teaching of Luther.
Moreschini detailed the clear distinction between Augustine's doctrine on grace
and the one that Luther claimed he had taken from Augustine.
In England, (Saint) John Stone O.S.A. was executed for his unfailing defence of the supremacy of the pope; in Portugal there was Luis de Montoya (1497-1567).
In Spain Saint Thomas of Villanova O.S.A., "the glory of the Spanish Church," had before his death in 1555 anticipated and implemented in his Diocese of Valencia many of the reforms of the Council of Trent.
The best theologians in the Order of Saint Augustine in this period were not in Germany and Italy, as had been the case in the Middle Ages, but were now in Spain.
Largely untouched by the Protestant Reformation in a direct way, the Church and the Augustinian Order in Spain - necessarily attentive to orthodoxy because of the feared powers of the Spanish Inquisition - was strong (although not creative) in theological scholarship.
In the Low Countries there was the Augustinian, Roger de Jonghe (1492-1579), who became a theologian at the Council of Trent in 1551 and 1552.
He led Augustinian reform locally from 1532 onwards, and restored the Cologne Province of the Order (which included the Low Countries). His successors also were men of distinction.
A few young Dutch Augustinians who had studied under Luther in Wittenberg incited some turmoil, but were quickly and sternly subdued by the imperial government.
Even so, four Augustinian houses came to an end in the Calvinist uprisings.
The Belgian Augustinians Augustin Ruviere (died 1621), Antoine Keerbeck (died 1629) and Henri Lancilottus (died 1643) wrote against Calvinism, as did William Patterson (died 1622), who was a Scottish-born Augustinian refugee in Belgium.
(Continued on the next page.)
Photos (at right):
Picture 1: A room in the former Wittenberg Priory that became Luther's house in 1522.
Picture 2: The church doors at Wittenberg, on which Luther's theses may have been nailed.
Picture 3: The castle church at Wittenberg.