What does Luther do? He said: “No sacrament is effective by itself without full participation of the personal center, I. e., without the listening to the word connected with the sacrament, and the faith which accepts it. The sacrament qua sacrament cannot help at all. The magic side of sacramental thinking is destroyed.
From this follows that transubstantiation is destroyed because this doctrine makes the bread and wine a piece of Divine reality put on the altar. But such a thing does not exist. The presence of God is not a presence in terms of objective presence, on a special place, in a special form; but it is a presence for the faithful alone. There..are two criteria for this: it is only for the faithfu1, then it is only an action: Then if you come to a church and there is no sacrament spread; you don’t need to do anything about it because it is pure bread,.. It: becomes more .than this only in action, only in the moment in which it is given to those who have faith. For the Roman theory it is there all the time.. If you come into an empty Roman church, you must bow down before the shrine because there God Himself is present., even if there is nobody else present except you and this sacrament. “Present” means transformation, transubstantiation. This Luther abolished. He denounced the character indelibilis as a human fiction – the character which you get in baptism, confirmation, and in ordination, that whenever you have it you are always a Christian, and for instance, under the heresy laws and an object of persecution, which the Pagans and Jews are not; or if you are confirmed, you are always a soldier of Christ and have, so to speak, the invisible uniform of the Church. Or if you are ordained, you always have the power of the sacraments, so that even it you are thrown out of the Church, you can perform sacramentally valid marriages, and other things.
All this, Luther denied, calling it a human fiction. There is no such thing as a character which cannot be destroyed. If you are called to the ministry, you must minister exactly as everybody does who is called to some profession. If you go away rom it, if you become a businessman or professor or shoemaker, than you are this and no longer a minister at all, and you have no sacramental power at all. You can have priestly power, if you are a pius Christian towards everybody else. But this is going on all the time, and doesn’t need ordination.
Now this took away the sacramental foundation of the whole hierarchical system.
But most important was his attack on the Mass. The Mass is a sacrifice we bring to God, but we have nothing to bring to God, and therefore it is a blasphemy, a sacrilege. And in most Protestant countries in the period of the Reformation, the state government, prohibited – as still in many countries today there are laws against printed or spoken, blasphemy – the Mass, which was supposed to be such a blasphemy, and therefore it was persecuted and it a blasphemy because here man gives something to God, instead of expecting that God has given everything He has to give, namely Himself in Christ, and that nothing more than this was needed.