Luther's Theses Against the Church Martin Luther was a Theologian who was on his way to becoming a lawyer until an event that altered his life. In July 1505, Luther was caught in a terrible thunderstorm where he genuinely feared he may die. During the storm, he cried out to St. Anne, the patron saint of miners and said "Save me, St. Anne, and I'll become a monk! ". (A;E Networks 1) When he told his parents of his decision, his father was deeply disappointed in him.
Luther also was driven by the wrath of God and felt as if his decision would help him gain salvation. When Luther finally realized that the answer to spiritual salvation was not to fear God or religious dogmas, but that faith alone would bring salvation. After hearing of Pope Leo the 10th's new round of indulgences in order to help pay for building St. Peter's Basilica in 1517, Luther had had enough. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.
The theses listed many critiques of the Catholic Church, such as the corruption of the Church through the indulgences and taking money from the poor to construct buildings. Copies of the 95 theses were spread throughout Europe within two months of being nailed to the door on the Castle Church, in large thanks to the invention of the printing press. In Luther's 82nd these, he talks about the church's indulgences and how immoral it is. He asks "Why does not the pope liberate everyone from purgatory for the sake of love and because of the supreme necessity of their souls? . In that, he is saying that the pope should let everyone into heaven and not have to wait in purgatory, and not have to pay an indulgence to the church. He also mentions that the money is a much perishable thing and that the building of St. Peter's Basilica is such a minor purpose, and gets away from the ideals of the early Catholic Church which were that you should not have many possessions and give to the less fortunate whenever you can.
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The church's view on indulgences, which were certificates that were produced in bulk and been pre-signed by the pope, were that they gave you access to heaven by pardoning your sins or your relative's sins who had already died and could not purchase one themselves. The money gained from the indulgences were put to constructing new churches and buildings to praise Jesus Christ. The Church also said by doing this, you were committing a Christian act and this would get you closer to God.
In Luther's 86th these, he talks about how the church is getting away from the basics of the early teachings of having very little and giving away most of its possessions. He says "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... rather han with the money of indigent believers? ". From this quote, he is saying that the rich should not be getting richer trom the money ot the poor, like the Baurys Pope is from his poor believers, who should be the ones getting extra money to help them live.
The view the Church took of indulgences were that they helped fund the church's expenditures and that the indulgences helped people bypass purgatory and go straight to heaven. Martin Luther's 52nd these, he talks about how you cannot rely on the pope himself even though you have a letter of indulgence. Luther is saying that the letters of indulgences are nothing more than a piece of paper and have no more value to them than the paper they are written on.
Another interpretation of this these would be that you have to rely on your faith and not an indulgence to get yourself into heaven. The church told anyone that bought an indulgence was promised entry into heaven, regardless of their faith. In the 6th these, Luther tells how the pope can't remit any guilt himself, but only can be only be a middleman from God to tell people that their sins are forgiven. The only power that the pope has is that he can remit sins in cases reserved to his discretion.
In this these specifically, Luther is saying that the pope is not the highest authority of power but is only a facilitator for God on Earth, and in this show that the pope could not do what only God could do, mainly guarantee rights into heaven. Martin Luther with his 95 theses wanted to bring a debate about certain ideas that were prevalent in the church at that time. He noticed people in his own parish had stop coming to Baurys 3 hurch because they believed their indulgences guaranteed them access into heaven, no matter how bad of a life they lived, or how often they came to church.
Luther wanted to bring reform to the church and show mainly poor people that they did not have to give away a majority of their money to the church for material gain for the church. Also, he wanted to the poorer people that they could live with good faith and still get into heaven without living in complete poverty.
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