Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cipriano de Valera: A Spanish Reformer, Part 1

I’ve looked in vain for a decent and thorough biography of Cipriano de Valera. Valera was a Spanish Reformer, a contemporary of Martin Luther and John Calvin. Unfortunately, the Reformation never caught on in Spain like it did in Germany, Switzerland, England, and elsewhere. As such, much of the history of Spanish Reformers has been neglected in modern works.

Yet the Reina-Valera translation of the Bible stands as the most popular Spanish Bible translation today. Cipriano de Valera served as its chief editor after his good friend Casiodoro de Reina passed away.

Though I know little and am still in pursuit of a descent biography, I felt it worth sharing what little I could find through GoogleBooks.

A theologian of Seville, Pedro de Fuentidueña, had said in a sermon which he delivered before the members of the Tridentine Council, that the protestant heretics sought to subvert the two pillars of the church, viz. the mass and the Pope. Valera did his best to merit this reproach. (152, emphasis mine).
Valera, like Luther, recognized the abuses in the Catholic Church and sought both to identify them and call people to the true faith, not just empty practice. To do this, he adamantly opposed the absolute authority of the Pope. One quote I found from his work “Two Treatises on the Pope and on the Mass,” should give you a feel for why Pedro de Fuentidueña leveled this charge against the Protestants:

“Money is the Holy Spirit that elects the Pope.”
Though the Reformers first set out to reform the Catholic Church, it became apparent quite early on that such a reformation would not be permitted. As such, they had to choose between bowing to the ecclesiastical structures or to their convictions based on the Bible as their sole authority. Praise God they went with conviction!

Boehmer, Edward & Benjamin B. Wiffen. (1904). Bibliotheca Wiffeniana: Spanish Reformers of Two Centuries from 1520. Karl J. Trübner: Strassburg. Google Books. Digitized May 15, 2008.


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