On Oct 31, 1517, a German Augustinian monk named Martin Luther, posted a document on the doors of the church you see above that included ninety five propositions that he thought deserved to be debated publicly. The propositions questioned the right of the Roman Catholic church, and the rights of the Pope more specifically, to sell indulgences. Luther’s public action unleashed an international rage that had been building for decades. Within weeks his Ninety-Five Theses were being read all over the world, translated and printed on the hundreds of printing presses all over Europe. The international Roman Catholic church was never the same again.
The Early Life of Luther
|1483 November 10||Luther is born at roughly 11:00 p.m. in Eisleben to Hans and Margaretta Luther. On November 11 Luther is baptized in the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul.|
|1484||Hans Luther, disappointed with business prospects in Eisleben, moves to Mansfeld, hoping to make a living in the copper mines there.|
|1491||Hans Luther leases a smelter from the count of Mansfeld. The family's financial security improves. Later Hans becomes very successful owning a number of smelting businesses. In March, Luther begins school at the Mansfeld Latinschule.|
|1497||Luther begins boarding school in Magdeburg where he boards with the Brethren of the Common Life.|
|1498||Luther begins attending the parish school of St. George in Eisenach.|
|1499||Luther moves in with Heinrich Schalbe, one of the leading men of the city and father of one of Luther's classmates.|
|1501 May||Luther begins studying liberal arts at the University of Erfurt, one of the best universities at the time. His father picked the school and paid the tuition. Erfurt: Population, 20,000. 22 monasteries, 23 churches, 36 chapels, 6 hospitals.|
|1502||Elector Frederick the Wise founds Wittenberg University. In September, Luther takes the baccalaureate exams at Erfurt and finishes 30th in a group of 57 and receives his Baccalaureate degree. He begins studying for his Masters.|
|1505 January||Luther receives his Masters degree at the University of Erfurt. His father gives him a copy of Corpus Iuris and arranges for his entry into law school. Luther is planning to be a lawyer. In May Luther begins law school at University of Erfurt. He is required to teach philosophy for the Liberal Arts program.|
|1505 July 2||Luther, on his way back to Erfurt from parents' house, is caught in a bad thunderstorm. He is nearly struck by lightening and thrown to the ground. He vows he will become a monk if St. Ann will save him.|
|1505 July 17||Luther enters the Black Monastery in Erfurt, joining the Augustinian Hermits, a strict but not terribly austere order of mendicant monks. His friends walk him to the door crying. His father, who wants him to be a lawyer, is furious.|
|1506 July||Luther takes his monastic vows|
|1507||Luther begins to study theology at the University of Erfurt. In April, Luther is ordained to the priesthood.|
|1508||Luther teaches during winter semester at the new Wittenberg University. As part of his university duties he has to teach Aristotle. He hates it! This is important since it reminds us that the whole of the Western Tradition has varying relationships to Plato and Aristotle. We remember that Abelard adored Aristotle. Now we meet a theologian who detests Aristotle. In other words, the 1800-year reign of Aristotle is now coming to an end. Other thinkers will join Luther in rejecting Aristotle: Descartes and Galileo.|
|1509 October 1||Luther returns to Erfurt from Wittenberg.|
|1511 January||Luther in Rome. A delegation of Luther's Augustinian Order goes to Rome to discuss affairs of the order. Luther is invited to go. Thus 28-year old Luther spends one month in Rome at the same time that Michelangelo is painting the Sistine Chapel and Raphael is painting the "School of Athens."|
|1511 April||Staupitz arranges that Luther come to Wittenberg to stay. He moves into the newly constructed (Augustinian) Black Cloister.|
|1512||Professor at University of Wittenberg. In May, Luther begins teaching again at the University of Wittenberg. In October, Luther becomes a Doctor of Theology at the University of Wittenberg, at a very young age, (not yet 30).|
|1513 August||Luther begins lecturing on the Psalms.|
|1515 May||Paul's' Epistle to the Romans. Luther begins a year of lectures on the Epistle to the Romans. These lectures are crucial in his intellectual development and creates a bond between him and Paul that is at the center of his intellectual revolution. In a certain sense, one can see the whole of the Reformation as the triumph of Paul.|
|1516 October||Luther begins a year of lectures on Galatians.|
|1517||The Ninety-Five Theses. Johann Tetzel begins selling indulgences on the borders of Saxony. Among his customers are Luther's parishioners. He finds out about Tetzel's activities and begins preaching against indulgences.|
|1517 October 31||Luther posts the Ninety-five Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church. His intent is to spur debate. He also sends copies of the theses to a few bishops and some friends. The work is an instant success and is translated from the Latin to German and printed and circulated widely.|
|1518||The Debate Begins. The Disputation at Heidelberg. It is a debate of Luther's ideas at a meeting of the Augustinian chapter.|
|1518 Summer||The Papal Court begins an inquisition in Rome in response to Luther's ideas. Luther is tried in his absence on charges of heresy.|
|1518 August 7||Luther is summoned to Rome within sixty days to answer charges against him.|
|1518 October 12||Luther begins his interview with Cardinal Cajetan in Augsburg (in lieu of going to Rome). Cajetan tells him to recant.|
|1518 October 20||Luther flees from Augsburg in fear of his life.|
|1518 October 30||Luther arrives back in Wittenberg and places himself under the protection of Elector Frederick III ("Frederick the Wise") of Saxony.|
|1518 November 8||Pope Leo X issues Cum Postquam, outlining the church's doctrine of indulgences.|
|1518 December 18||Luther is ready to go into exile. But Frederick decides not to banish him, despite requests by the pope (via his representative Carl von Miltitz) to do so.|
|1519||The Leipzig debate. March, Luther writes a Letter to Pope Leo X. In the letter he states that it was not his intention to undermine the authority of the pope or the church. Attempting some rapprochement with the papacy.|
|1519 June 27||The Leipzig Debate. Luther debates Johann Eck in Leipzig. At the heart of the debate is the issue of indulgences and the unique authority of the pope and the Roman church. The debate is huge event with hundreds of students flooding in to Leipzig to watch. It goes on for days and both debaters talk for hours with no notes. Result of the debate is to explode the Lutheran issue into a national event.|
|1520||Martin Luther Versus Pope Leo X.|
|1520 January 9||Rome restarts the inquisition against Luther and his ideas.|
|1520 March 15||Rome sends a letter to Staupitz, the vicar of Luther's order and Luther's good friend and mentor telling him to restrain Luther or be dismissed. Staupitz resigns his position two months later.|
|1520 May||Luther writes his Treatise on Good Works.|
|1520 June||Luther writes The Papacy in Rome. Luther writes The Open Letter to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation. Luther receives an offer of protection from 100 knights.|
|1520 June 15||Pope Leo X issues Bull of Excommunication against Luther. It is entitled Exsurge Domine ("Arise, Lord, and defend thine own vineyard against the wild boar that is devouring it.") Luther has 60 days to recant.|
|1520 July 20||Luther finishes writing Appeal to the German Nobility.|
|1520 September||Johann Eck posts the bull of excommunication throughout Saxony|
|1520 October||Luther writes The Babylonian Captivity. It attacks the denial of the cup to laity, the mass as a sacrifice, and the seven (as opposed to two) sacraments. It sets Luther irrevocably against Rome. This is his most radical publication to date since now he was attacking the entire structure of the Roman Catholic Church and its power in its role as administrator of the many sacraments throughout the Christian life.|
|1520 October 10||Luther receives the papal bull, though he probably knew about it as early as late September.|
|1520 Mid-October||At the University of Erfurt, students rip up a copy of the papal bull and throw it into the water. University officials take no action against them.|
|1520 November 12||Luther's books are burned in Cologne. Burning of his book in other cities follows shortly thereafter.|
|1520 November 20||Luther writes Freedom of the Christian Man and publishes it along with an open letter to Pope Leo X. In the letter Luther apologizes to the pope personally, but continues to denounce what he sees as false doctrine and corruption. In the treatise he speaks of the freedom a Christian gains with justification. He attacks directly the whole Roman Catholic Church position on good works and salvation and thus attacks the whole structure of intercessions, prayers and offerings for the dead through the church.|
|1520 December 10||Luther burns Exsurge Domine and other papal documents under a large oak outside the walls of the city. He also burns books of church law and books written by his enemies.|
|1521 January 3||The Diet of Worms. Luther is excommunicated in the bull Decet Romanun Pontificem.|
|1521 February||Elector Frederick the Wise demands Luther not be outlawed or imprisoned without being given the chance to defend himself at a hearing.|
|1521 March 6||The Emperor Charles V summons Luther to appear before the Diet of Worms|
|1521 March 8||An edict mandating the sequestration of Luther's books is issued at the Diet of Worms.|
|1521 April 6||Luther begins The Journey to Worms, stopping along the way to preach in Erfurt, Eisenach, Gotha, and Frankfurt. This event has taken on a special significance in the history of the Protestant church since it is viewed as a spectacularly courageous act on Luther's part: confronting the Emperor and all the power of the Empire and the Papacy in his one lonely person.|
|1521 April 15||Luther enters Worms in triumphal procession. A crowd has gathered to cheer him.|
|1521 April 17||The first hearing of the Diet of Worms begins. An official of Trier points to a table of books and asks Luther if he is willing to recant. Luther sees that some of the books are his writings on Scripture. These he is unwilling to recant. He asks for a recess.|
|1521 April 18||During the second hearing of the Diet, Luther says, "Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason-- I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other-- my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me."|
|1521 April 19||Emperor Charles V sides with Rome, wants Luther condemned immediately. The imperial estates want to give Luther a few more days to recant.|
|1521 April 24||Elector Frederick the Wise tells his brother about his decision to support Luther.|
|1521 April 25||Diet of Worms is dismissed. Luther leaves the negotiations room and says, "I am finished."|
|1521 April 26||Luther leaves Worms as quietly as possible.|
|1521 May 4||Luther is captured by "bandits" on his way home from Worms. He is taken to safety in Wartburg. Luther knew about the capture beforehand. The ruse allows Frederick to escape charges of harboring a heretic.|
|1521 May 10||Luther arrives at Wartburg castle, near Eisenach. He hides there for 11 months (from 5/4/1521 to 2/29/1522). During that time, he grows his hair and a beard and calls himself Junker JÃrg (Knight George).|
|1521 May 26||Edict of Worms is signed by the emperor and issued. It formally condemns Luther's teachings and places him under the ban of the Empire.|
|1521 December||Luther begins work on Sermon Postils, a collection of sermons, and on the German New Testament|
|1521 December||A ban is issued against Luther and his followers.|
|1522||Luther at Wartburg. While Luther is Wartburg, a number of changes take place in Wittenberg. Monks first refuse to say private Mass, then begin leaving the Augustinian congregation until it is finally disbanded. The minister at the castle church marries. Students destroy the altar at the Franciscan monastery. An Evangelical Lord's Supper begins to be celebrated with the liturgy in German and the cup offered to the laity. These developments show how widespread was the support for Luther's position. He was not alone.|
|1522 February||The ban on Luther and his followers is lifted.|
|1522 March 1-6||Luther leaves Wartburg and travels to Wittenberg accompanied by several knights. Upon arriving in Wittenberg, he immediately preaches in the parish church. Luther begins two years of preaching. He travels throughout central Germany, including Erfurt and Weimar.|
|1522 August 4||Martin Luther writes Contra Henricum Regem Anglicum, a response to King Henry VIII of England's Assertio septem sacramentorum adversus Martinum Lutherum (Defense of the Seven Sacraments Luther was neither subtle nor tactful, and his encounter with Henry cost him most of his support in England.|
|1522 September 21||Luther publishes the German New Testament.|
|1523 March 6||A New Mass. The General Council of the Diet of NÃ¼rnberg orders Luther and his followers to stop publishing. It outlaws the preaching of anything other than established Roman Catholic doctrine.|
|1523 June 1||Luther publishes his first Forma Missae et Communionis, a description of the Mass as it is celebrated in Wittenberg. It is in Latin, and is largely the traditional Mass with a few Evangelical touches. Congregational singing and the sermon are in German, but everything else is Latin. Luther expresses the hope that the Mass will soon be celebrated solely in the vernacular. He calls on poets and musicians to develop the appropriate settings. This move is the beginning of the transformation of the Roman Catholic service into a new Protestant vernacular service. A parallel movement is going on in England and will soon create the Book of Common Prayer.|
|1523 July 1||The first Protestant martyrs are burned in Brussels.|
|1524||Luther and Erasmus. Renaissance and Reformation. The Third Imperial Diet of Nuremberg renews the banishment of Luther. By this time, however, he is so popular it is unlikely he would be arrested. He continues his life and work in Germany. Luther begins two years of argument with Desiderius Erasmus. It causes bad feelings and a minor split with the humanists, who had previously welcomed Luther's ideas. This relationship between Luther and Erasmus raises one of the most central issues in understanding the Reformation: what did the humanists whether in Italy or elsewhere in Europe contribute to the coming of the Reformation. In other words, what is the relationship between the Renaissance and the Reformation? Luther, with Johann Walther's assistance, publishes the Wittenberg Gesangbuch, a songbook for church use. Luther writes some of the words and tunes, adapts others from popular music. Luther writes Letters to the Princes of Saxony Concerning the Rebellious Spirit. Luther and his fellow reformers are worried about the relationship between religious rebellion and social rebellion. Most of the early reformers are NOT social radicals. They hope to reform the church at the same time that they maintain traditional social order. Luther writes To the Councilmen in All Cities in Germany that they Establish and Maintain Christian Schools Peasants rise up in southwest Germany. They cite Luther's teachings as authority and demand more just economic conditions. They are ready to overthrow the authorities if necessary. This is exactly what Luther and other reformers had feared: that they would unwittingly end up leading a social revolution.|
|1524 October 9||Luther stops wearing the religious habit.|
|1525||The Peasant's Rebellion. Luther writes Against the Heavenly Prophets. In it he calls for a truly German Mass.|
|1525 April 19||Luther writes Admonition to Peace, a reply to the twelve articles of the Peasants in Swabia.|
|1525 May 2||Frederick the Wise dies. John the Steadfast becomes Elector of Saxony.|
|1525 May 5||Luther writes against the peasants in Against the Murderous and Thieving Hordes of Peasants.|
|1525 May 13||Luther is betrothed to Katherine von Bora.|
|1525 May 15||The Peasants Rebellion. At the Battle of Frankenhausen, 50,000 peasants are cut down. Before the uprising is quelled, most of the year's crops, hundreds of villages, 1000 castles and monasteries are destroyed. Nearly 100,000 die. Protestant ministers are hanged by Catholic princes. The peasants believe that they were betrayed by Luther who refuses to join their rebellion.|
|1525 June 13||Luther marries Katharine von Bora. They take up residence in the Black Cloister, the former Augustinian monastery in Wittenberg.|
|1525 July||Luther writes Open Letter Concerning the Hard Book Against the Peasants.|
|1525 December||Luther publishes De Servo Arbitrio (Bound Will), which answers Erasmus' De Libero Arbit (Free Will). Luther maintains that sin hinders human ability to work out their own salvation. We all need God's Grace to be saved. (Paul).|
|1525 December 25||Luther begins to use the German Mass.|
|1502||Columbus sails on fourth & last voyage to Honduras and Panama. Amerigo Vespucci second voyage to South America, proclaims it is not India but "a new world."|
|1503||Prince Henry of England marries Princess Catherine of Aragon. Death of Pope Alexander VI (Borgia); Election of Giuliano della Rovere as Pope Julius II. Leonardo da Vinci paints the Mona Lisa.|
|1504||Death of Queen Isabella of Castile, Ferdinand now has difficult situation in the control of Spain since he is not the legal heir to Isabella but instead the heiress is their daughter Juana. Raphael paints The Marriage of the Virgin (now in Brera, Milan).|
|1505||Foundation of Christ's College, Cambridge, by Margaret Countess of Richmond, beginning of the great days of Cambridge with generous royal patronage.|
|1506||Death of Christopher Columbus.(b. 1451)|
|1507||Ordination to the priesthood of Martin Luther. Map maker Martin Waldseemuller proposes the new world on maps be named "America" after Amerigo Vespucci of Florence.|
|1508||Michelangelo in Rome: paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.|
|1509||Henry VIII becomes King of England. (d. 1547)|
|1510||Martin Luther in Rome as delegate of his monastic order. Death of Botticelli. Passing of the Florentine artistic Renaissance.|
|1511||Erasmus nominated professor of Greek at Cambridge.|
|1512||Michelangelo finishes the Sistine Ceiling and Raphael finishes the frescoes in the Stanza della Segnatura (School of Athens) next door to the Sistine.|
|1513||Death of Pope Julius II. Election of Michelangelo's childhood friend from the Medici palace, Giovanni de'Medici as Pope Leo X. Michelangelo finishes Moses for tomb of Pope Julius II.|
|1515||Death of the King of France Louis XII. succeeded by his nephew Francis I (to 1547). Now begins life long duel between two young kings: Hen VIII and Francis I.|
|1516||Death of Ferdinand of Spain, his grandson Charles age 16 succeeds to throne of Spain. (His mother Junana supposedly insane is locked up in a monastery for decades to keep her off the throne.)|
|1517||(Oct 31) Martin Luther, 95 Theses, Begin of Reformation. Luther protests the sale of Indulgences by the church.Coffee arrives in Europe for the first time.|
|1518||Diet of Augsburg. Luther called before Diet by Cardinal Cajetan. Luther refuses to recant. Raphael paints portrait of Pope Leo with Cardinals (Uffizi). Foundation of the Royal College of Physicians in London. The beginning of modern scientific medicine.|
|1519||Charles, King of Spain, also elected Holy Roman Emperor at the death of his grandfather Maximilian. Now unites all of Spain, the Low Countries, Ger. and all of new lands of America in one empire. Martin Luther, in Leipzig Disputation: questions infallibility of the Pope. Death of Leonardo da Vinci.Cortes enters Tenochtitlan, capital of Aztec empire, meets Montezuma.|
|1520||Pope Leo X excommunicates Martin Luther and declares him a heretic. Luther publicly burns the Papal Bull. Reformation is under way. (April 6)Death of Raphael, Rome mourns passing of an age.Magellan on his circumnavigation of globe passes through the Straits of Magellan heads into the Pacific.|
|1521||Death of Pope Leo X. Magellan killed in the Philippines but the expedition continues and finally reaches Portugal completing first round the world navigation.|
|1522||Luther finishes his translation into German of the New Testament, Wittenberg printer Hans Lufft begins to print what will be 100,000 copies over the years. Other vernacular translations follow.|
|1523||Elect Giulio de' Medici: Pope Clement VII (to 1534).|
|1524||Zurich: Zwingli abolishes the Roman Catholic Mass.|
|1525||Battle of Pavia. Disaster for France. King Francis I is captured. Spain now in complete control of Italy.|
|1527||May 5: Sack of Rome. Imperial troops loyal to King of Spain Charles (and Holy Roman Emperor) go crazy and loot the Holy City and kill more than 4,000 inhabitants and steal all the art treasures. The Pope hides in Castel Sant Angelo. Usually cited as the End of the Renaissance.|
|1528||King Henry VIII begins his proceedings: Requests "divorce" (annulment) from Catherine of Aragon.|
|1530||In Germany, write the Confession of Augsburg, to unite all of Protestant Germany. Sign the Schmalkaldic League, alliance of all Prot Ger against the Roman Catholic Emperor Charles. Germany at war.|
|1531||King Henry VIII recognized: Supreme Head of the church in England.|
|1532||John Calvin: leading the Reformation in France.|
|1533||ENGLAND: Thomas Cranmer becomes Archbishop of Canterbury. He proclaims marriage of Hen and Cath void and proclaims marriage of Hen and Anne Boleyn lawful. Pope excommunicates Henry. Anne crowned as Queen of England. Birth of daughter Elizabeth to Henry and Anne. FRANCE: Pope Clement VII (Medici) marries his relative Catherina de' Medici to the future King of France, Henry Valois.|
|1534||King Henry of England makes a final break with Rome and proclaims himself head of his own English Reformed church (Anglican international church=Episcoal in USA). Thomas Cranmer Archbishop of Canterbury. Death of Pope Clement VII, elect Alessandro Farnese as Pope Paul III.|
|1540||First publish versions of Copernicus' heliocentric theory. Establish the new order of the Jesuits as new troops in the Roman Catholic war with the Protestants.|
|1543||Publish Copernicus' De Revolutionibus: proposes the sun at the center of the universe.|
|1545||Convene the Council of Trent as the Roman Catholic Church tries to organize to fight the spreading Reformation (this effort to be known as the Counter Reformation).|
|1546||Death of Martin Luther. Michelangelo designing the dome of Saint Peter's. Titian paints his portrait of Pope Paul III and his nephews.|
|1547||Death of Henry VIII: succeeded by his son Edward VI (1537-1553). Death of Francis I of France. succeeded by his son Henry II(1519-1559). Birth of Cervantes(1547-1616).|
|1549||English church publishes the new Book of Common Prayer (much of which is written by Thomas Cranmer).|
|1550||Publish Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists. Marks new attitude to artists: artists are special, almost divine.|
|1553||Death of King Edward VI of England: succeeded by his Roman Catholic half-sister Mary.|
|1554||Queen Mary: marries Philip of Spain, future king.|
|1555||Elect Giovanni Pietro Caraffa: Pope Paul IV.|
|1556||Charles V abdicates giving Spain to his son Philip and the Empire to his brother Ferdinand I and retires to a monastery. Queen Mary burns the Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer at the stake when he refuses to recant his Protestantism.|
|1558||Mary Queen of England dies and is succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth as Queen Elizabeth I. Protestant Church of England re-instated. Death of Charles V former King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor.|
|1564||(Feb)Death of Michelangelo.(b. 1575)|
|1564||(Feb 15) Birth of Galileo. (d. 1642)|
|1564||(April 23) Birth of William Shakespeare. (d. 1616)|
|1568||Revolt of the Protestant Netherlands from control of Spain. Birth of new Protestant Republic of Netherlands and birth of new alliance between the two Protestant countries of Eng and Neth.|
|1572||Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day, Paris: kill thousands of Protestants.|
|1573||Birth of Caravaggio. (d. 1609)|
|1585||Shakespeare comes to London.|
|1586||Unveil the plot to kill Queen Eliz and put Mary Queen of Scots on throne. Mary sentenced to death (executed 1587).|
|1588||Spanish Armada, Spain's attempt to destroy Protestant England with the cooperation of the Papacy fails. This final blow to idea of reuniting all of Europe under renewed Roman Catholic Papacy. Marlowe's Doctor Faustus.|
|1589||Henry of Navarre becomes King of France as Hen IV. Galileo professor of mathematics at University of Pisa.|
|1593||King Hen IV converts to Rom Catholicism ("Paris is well worth a mass.")|
|1594||Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet.|
|1595||Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream.|
|1596||Shakespeare: Merchant of Venice. Birth of Descartes.|
|1598||Shakespeare: Henry V.|
|1599||Shakespeare: Julius Caesar.|
|1600||Burn Giordano Bruno on the Campo de'Fiori in Rome for heresy. King Henry IV of France marries Marie de' Medici. Shakespeare: Hamlet.|
|1603||Death of Queen Elizabeth of England. She is succeeded by her cousin James (Stuart) in Scotland.|
|1610||Galileo, The Starry Messenger, published in Venice. One of the most shocking and exciting works of scientific advance ever experienced in modern Europe. Galileo becomes an overnight sensation, a scientific rock star. Letters pour into Padua from all over Europe.|
Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences Commonly Known as the Ninety-Five Theses By Dr. Martin Luther
Out of love and concern for the truth, and with the object of eliciting it, the following heads will be the subject of a public discussion at Wittenberg under the presidency of the Reverend Father, Martin Luther, Augustinian, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and duly appointed Lecturer on these subjects in that place. He requests that whoever cannot be present personally to debate the matter orally will do so in absence in writing.
1.When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said "Repent", He called for the entire life of believers to be one of penitence.
2.The word cannot be properly understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, i.e. confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.
3.Yet its meaning is not restricted to penitence in one's heart; for such penitence is null unless it produces outward signs in various mortifications of the flesh.
4.As long as hatred of self abides (i.e. true inward penitence) the penalty of sin abides, that is, until we enter the kingdom of heaven.
5.The pope has neither the will nor the power to remit any penalties beyond those imposed either at his own discretion or by canon law.
6.The pope himself cannot remit guilt, but only declare and confirm that it has been remitted by God; or, at most, he can remit it in cases reserved to his discretion. Except for these cases, the guilt remains untouched.
7.God never remits guilt to anyone without, at the same time, making humbly submissive to the priest, His representative.
8.The penitential canons apply only to men who are still alive, and, according to the canons themselves, none applies to the dead.
9.Accordingly, the Holy Spirit, acting in the person of the pope, manifests grace to us, by the fact that the papal regulations always cease to apply at death, or in any hard case.
10.It is a wrongful act, due to ignorance, when priests retain the canonical penalties on the dead in purgatory.
11.When canonical penalties were changed and made to apply to purgatory, surely it would seem that tares were sown while the bishops were asleep.
12.In former days, the canonical penalties were imposed, not after, but before absolution was pronounced; and were intended to be tests of true contrition.
13.Death puts and end to all the claims of the Church; even the dying are already dead to the canon laws, and are no longer bound by them.
14.Defective piety or love in a dying person is necessarily accompanied by great fear, which is greatest where the piety or love is least.
15.This fear or horror is sufficient in itself, whatever else might be said, to constitute the pain of purgatory, since it approaches very closely to the horror of despair.
16.There seems to be the same difference between hell, purgatory, and heaven as between despair, uncertainty, and assurance.
17.Of a truth, the pains of souls in purgatory ought to be abated, and charity ought to be proportionately increased.
18.Moreover, it does not seem proved, on any grounds of reason or Scripture, that these souls are outside the state of merit, or unable to grow in grace.
19.Nor does it seem proved to be always the case that they are certain and assured of salvation, even if we are very certain ourselves.
20.Therefore the pope, in speaking of the plenary remission of all penalties, does not mean "all" in the strict sense, but only those imposed by himself.
21.Hence those who preach indulgences are in error when they say that a man is absolved and saved from every penalty by the pope's indulgences.
22.Indeed, he cannot remit to souls in purgatory any penalty which canon law declares should be suffered in the present life.
23.If plenary remission could be granted to anyone at all, it would be only in the cases of the most perfect, i.e. to very few.
24.It must therefore be the case that the major part of the people are deceived by that indiscriminate and high-sounding promise of relief from penalty.
25.The same power as the pope exercises in general over purgatory is exercised in particular by every single bishop in his bishopric and priest in his parish.
26.The pope does excellently when he grants remission to the souls in purgatory on account of intercessions made on their behalf, and not by the power of the keys (which he cannot exercise for them).
27.There is no divine authority for preaching that the soul flies out of the purgatory immediately the money clinks in the bottom of the chest.
28.It is certainly possible that when the money clinks in the bottom of the chest avarice and greed increase; but when the church offers intercession, all depends in the will of God.
29.Who knows whether all souls in purgatory wish to be redeemed in view of what is said of St. Severinus and St. Pascal? (Note: Paschal I, pope 817-24. The legend is that he and Severinus were willing to endure the pains of purgatory for the benefit of the faithful).
30.No one is sure if the reality of his own contrition, much less of receiving plenary forgiveness.
31.One who bona fide buys indulgence is a rare as a bona fide penitent man, i.e. very rare indeed.
32.All those who believe themselves certain of their own salvation by means if letters of indulgence, will be eternally damned, together with their teachers.
33.We should be most carefully on our guard against those who say that the papal indulgences are an inestimable divine gift, and that a man is reconciled to God by them.
34.For the grace conveyed by these indulgences relates simply to the penalties of the sacramental "satisfactions" decreed merely by man.
35.It is not in accordance with Christian doctrines to preach and teach that those who buy off souls, or purchase confessional licences, have no need to repent of their own sins.
36.Any Christian whatsoever, who is truly repentant, enjoys plenary remission from penalty and guilt, and this is given him without letters of indulgence.
37.Any true Christian whatsoever, living or dead, participates in all the benefits of Christ and the Church; and this participation is granted to him by God without letters of indulgence.
38.Yet the pope's remission and dispensation are in no way to be despised, form as already said, they proclaim the divine remission.
39.It is very difficult, even for the most learned theologians, to extol to the people the great bounty contained in the indulgences, while, at the same time, praising contrition as a virtue.
40.A truly contrite sinner seeks out, and loves to pay, the penalties of his sins; whereas the very multitude of indulgences dulls men's consciences, and tends to make them hate the penalties.
41.Papal indulgences should only be preached with caution, lest people gain a wrong understanding, and think that they are preferable to other good works: those of love.
42.Christians should be taught that the pope does not at all intend that the purchase of indulgences should be understood as at all comparable with the works of mercy.
43.Christians should be taught that one who gives to the poor, or lends to the needy, does a better action than if he purchases indulgences.
44.Because, by works of love, love grows and a man becomes a better man; whereas, by indulgences, he does not become a better man, but only escapes certain penalties.
45.Christians should be taught that he who sees a needy person, but passes him by although he gives money for indulgences, gains no benefit from the pope's pardon, but only incurs the wrath of God.
46.Christians should be taught that, unless they have more than they need, they are bound to retain what is only necessary for the upkeep of their home, and should in no way squander it on indulgences.
47.Christians should be taught that they purchase indulgences voluntarily, and are not under obligation to do so.
48.Christians should be taught that, in granting indulgences, the pope has more need, and more desire, for devout prayer on his own behalf than for ready money.
49.Christians should be taught that the pope's indulgences are useful only if one does not rely on them, but most harmful if one loses the fear of God through them.
50.Christians should be taught that, if the pope knew the exactions of the indulgence-preachers, he would rather the church of St. Peter were reduced to ashes than be built with the skin, flesh, and bones of the sheep.
51.Christians should be taught that the pope would be willing, as he ought if necessity should arise, to sell the church of St. Peter, and give, too, his own money to many of those whom the pardon-merchants conjure money.
52.It is vain to rely on salvation by letters if indulgence, even if the commissary, or indeed the pope himself, were to pledge his own soul for their validity.
53.Those are enemies of Christ and the pope who forbid the word of God to be preached at all in some churches, in order that indulgences may be preached in others.
54.The word of God suffers injury if, in the same sermon, an equal or longer time is devoted to indulgences than to that word.
55.The pope cannot help taking the view that if indulgences (very small matters) are celebrated by one bell, one pageant, or one ceremony, the gospel (a very great matter) should be preached to the accompaniment of a hundred bells, a hundred processions, a hundred ceremonies.
56.The treasures of the church, out of which the pope dispenses indulgences, are not sufficiently spoken of or known among the people of Christ.
57.That these treasures are note temporal are clear from the fact that many of the merchants do not grant them freely, but only collect them.
58.Nor are they the merits of Christ and the saints, because, even apart from the pope, these merits are always working grace in the inner man, and working the cross, death, and hell in the outer man.
59.St. Lawrence said that the poor were the treasures of the church, but he used the term in accordance with the custom of his own time.
60.We do not speak rashly in saying that the treasures of the church are the keys of the church, and are bestowed by the merits of Christ.
61.For it is clear that the power of the pope suffices, by itself, for the remission of penalties and reserved cases.
62.The true treasure of the church is the Holy gospel of the glory and the grace of God.
63.It is right to regard this treasure as most odious, for it makes the first to be the last.
64.On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is most acceptable, for it makes the last to be the first.
65.Therefore the treasures of the gospel are nets which, in former times, they used to fish for men of wealth.
66.The treasures of the indulgences are the nets to-day which they use to fish for men of wealth.
67.The indulgences, which the merchants extol as the greatest of favours, are seen to be, in fact, a favourite means for money-getting.
68.Nevertheless, they are not to be compared with the grace of God and the compassion shown in the Cross.
69.Bishops and curates, in duty bound, must receive the commissaries of the papal indulgences with all reverence.
70.But they are under a much greater obligation to watch closely and attend carefully lest these men preach their own fancies instead of what the pope commissioned.
71.Let him be anathema and accursed who denies the apostolic character of the indulgences.
72.On the other hand, let him be blessed who is on his guard against the wantonness and licence of the pardon-merchant's words.
73.In the same way, the pope rightly excommunicates those who make any plans to the detriment of the trade in indulgences.
74.It is much more in keeping with his views to excommunicate those who use the pretext of indulgences to plot anything to the detriment of holy love and truth.
75.It is foolish to think that papal indulgences have so much power that they can absolve a man even if he has done the impossible and violated the mother of God.
76.We assert the contrary, and say that the pope's pardons are not able to remove the least venial of sins as far as their guilt is concerned.
77.When it is said that not even St. Peter, if he were now pope, could grant a greater grace, it is blasphemy against St. Peter and the pope.
78.We assert the contrary, and say that he, and any pope whatever, possesses greater graces, viz., the gospel, spiritual powers, gifts of healing, etc., as is declared in I Corinthians 12 [:28].
79.It is blasphemy to say that the insignia of the cross with the papal arms are of equal value to the cross on which Christ died.
80.The bishops, curates, and theologians, who permit assertions of that kind to be made to the people without let or hindrance, will have to answer for it.
81.This unbridled preaching of indulgences makes it difficult for learned men to guard the respect due to the pope against false accusations, or at least from the keen criticisms of the laity;
82.They ask, e.g.: Why does not the pope liberate everyone from purgatory for the sake of love (a most holy thing) and because of the supreme necessity of their souls? This would be morally the best of all reasons. Meanwhile he redeems innumerable souls for money, a most perishable thing, with which to build St. Peter's church, a very minor purpose.
83.Again: Why should funeral and anniversary masses for the dead continue to be said? And why does not the pope repay, or permit to be repaid, the benefactions instituted for these purposes, since it is wrong to pray for those souls who are now redeemed?
84.Again: Surely this is a new sort of compassion, on the part of God and the pope, when an impious man, an enemy of God, is allowed to pay money to redeem a devout soul, a friend of God; while yet that devout and beloved soul is not allowed to be redeemed without payment, for love's sake, and just because of its need of redemption.
85.Again: Why are the penitential canon laws, which in fact, if not in practice, have long been obsolete and dead in themselves,-why are they, to-day, still used in imposing fines in money, through the granting of indulgences, as if all the penitential canons were fully operative?
86.Again: since the pope's income to-day is larger than that of the wealthiest of wealthy men, why does he not build this one church of St. Peter with his own money, rather than with the money of indigent believers?
87.Again: What does the pope remit or dispense to people who, by their perfect penitence, have a right to plenary remission or dispensation?
88.Again: Surely a greater good could be done to the church if the pope were to bestow these remissions and dispensations, not once, as now, but a hundred times a day, for the benefit of any believer whatever.
89.What the pope seeks by indulgences is not money, but rather the salvation of souls; why then does he not suspend the letters and indulgences formerly conceded, and still as efficacious as ever?
90.These questions are serious matters of conscience to the laity. To suppress them by force alone, and not to refute them by giving reasons, is to expose the church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies, and to make Christian people unhappy.
91.If therefore, indulgences were preached in accordance with the spirit and mind of the pope, all these difficulties would be easily overcome, and indeed, cease to exist.
92.Away, then, with those prophets who say to Christ's people, "Peace, peace," where in there is no peace.
93.Hail, hail to all those prophets who say to Christ's people, "The cross, the cross," where there is no cross.
94.Christians should be exhorted to be zealous to follow Christ, their Head, through penalties, deaths, and hells.
95.And let them thus be more confident of entering heaven through many tribulations rather than through a false assurance of peace.