Reading the statements that Martin included in his 95 affirmations puts it all in perspective; it is unbelievable the state of degradation in which the Catholic Church had fallen during those years.
Clearly, from the statements that Martin wrote on his theses, the Catholic Church had become a business where salvation was a matter of money and power, and the Pope along with the entire clergy were corrupted. Church, by playing on the ignorance of people, started requesting “gifts”Reading the statements that Martin included in his 95 affirmations puts it all in perspective; it is unbelievable the state of degradation in which the Catholic Church had fallen during those years.
It is amazing to wonder what courage it took for Martin Luther to write these thesis in times when, even a single word against the pope or the Orthodox Church was considered blasphemous and punishable by death.
This work sent shock-waves through the Church and posed a real threat to their core beliefs and practices.
The Church knew that if people started following Luther, then their unquestionable belief in the Church would be challenged and this would put the Catholic Church in a very precarious position.
It was to mark the beginning of a long ensuing battle between the Catholics and the Protestants.Therefore he asks that those who cannot be present and dispute with him orally shall do so in their absence by letter. If his right to grant remission in these cases were disregarded, the guilt would certainly remain unforgiven. God remits guilt to no one unless at the same time he humbles him in all things and makes him submissive to the vicar, the priest. The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and, according to the canons themselves, nothing should be imposed on the dying. Therefore the Holy Spirit through the pope is kind to us insofar as the pope in his decrees always makes exception of the article of death and of necessity. Those priests act ignorantly and wickedly who, in the case of the dying, reserve canonical penalties for purgatory. Those tares of changing the canonical penalty to the penalty of purgatory were evidently sown while the bishops slept (Mt ). In former times canonical penalties were imposed, not after, but before absolution, as tests of true contrition. The dying are freed by death from all penalties, are already dead as far as the canon laws are concerned, and have a right to be released from them. Imperfect piety or love on the part of the dying person necessarily brings with it great fear; and the smaller the love, the greater the fear. This fear or horror is sufficient in itself, to say nothing of other things, to constitute the penalty of purgatory, since it is very near to the horror of despair. Hell, purgatory, and heaven seem to differ the same as despair, fear, and assurance of salvation. It seems as though for the souls in purgatory fear should necessarily decrease and love increase. Furthermore, it does not seem proved, either by reason or by Scripture, that souls in purgatory are outside the state of merit, that is, unable to grow in love. Nor does it seem proved that souls in purgatory, at least not all of them, are certain and assured of their own salvation, even if we ourselves may be entirely certain of it. Therefore the pope, when he uses the words “plenary remission of all penalties,” does not actually mean “all penalties,” but only those imposed by himself. Thus those indulgence preachers are in error who say that a man is absolved from every penalty and saved by papal indulgences. As a matter of fact, the pope remits to souls in purgatory no penalty which, according to canon law, they should have paid in this life. If remission of all penalties whatsoever could be granted to anyone at all, certainly it would be granted only to the most perfect, that is, to very few. For this reason most people are necessarily deceived by that indiscriminate and high-sounding promise of release from penalty. That power which the pope has in general over purgatory corresponds to the power which any bishop or curate has in a particular way in his own diocese and parish. The pope does very well when he grants remission to souls in purgatory, not by the power of the keys, which he does not have, but by way of intercession for them. They preach only human doctrines who say that as soon as the money clinks into the money chest, the soul flies out of purgatory. It is certain that when money clinks in the money chest, greed and avarice can be increased; but when the church intercedes, the result is in the hands of God alone. Who knows whether all souls in purgatory wish to be redeemed, since we have exceptions in St. Peter were burned to ashes than built up with the skin, flesh, and bones of his sheep. Christians are to be taught that the pope would and should wish to give of his own money, even though he had to sell the basilica of St. Lawrence said that the poor of the church were the treasures of the church, but he spoke according to the usage of the word in his own time. Without want of consideration we say that the keys of the church, given by the merits of Christ, are that treasure. For it is clear that the pope’s power is of itself sufficient for the remission of penalties and cases reserved by himself. The true treasure of the church is the most holy gospel of the glory and grace of God. But this treasure is naturally most odious, for it makes the first to be last (Mt. Told through a seamless combination of live-action storytelling and artistic animation, Martin Luther’s daring life is presented in extensive detail while still making the film relevant, provocative, and accessible.Peter, to many of those from whom certain hawkers of indulgences cajole money. It is vain to trust in salvation by indulgence letters, even though the indulgence commissary, or even the pope, were to offer his soul as security. They are the enemies of Christ and the pope who forbid altogether the preaching of the Word of God in some churches in order that indulgences may be preached in others. Injury is done to the Word of God when, in the same sermon, an equal or larger amount of time is devoted to indulgences than to the Word. It is certainly the pope’s sentiment that if indulgences, which are a very insignificant thing, are celebrated with one bell, one procession, and one ceremony, then the gospel, which is the very greatest thing, should be preached with a hundred bells, a hundred processions, a hundred ceremonies. The true treasures of the church, out of which the pope distributes indulgences, are not sufficiently discussed or known among the people of Christ. That indulgences are not temporal treasures is certainly clear, for many indulgence sellers do not distribute them freely but only gather them. Nor are they the merits of Christ and the saints, for, even without the pope, the latter always work grace for the inner man, and the cross, death, and hell for the outer man. Produced and just released by Haven Ministry’s Stephen Mc Caskell, this highly acclaimed 90-minute documentary will transport you back to the definitive moments that impacted the Church today.The church had the monopoly on the commodity of forgiveness, and its sale via indulgences was a significant source of revenue for the papacy.Luther marshals reasons against the legitimacy of indulgences by stressing the exclusivity of God’s ability to forgive (Theses 5, 6).However, I will say that having had the chance to study this historical period of time in depth from the European perspective, reading Martin’s words gave me a more complete picture of this Christian man who became a revolutionary for standing up for the truth.History teaches us that many times corruption, hegemony and evil, continue to get worse until someone takes a stand against what is wrong.Modern Protestants and Catholics may not see eye-to-eye on the actions and legacy of Martin Luther, but there is one thing we can all agree on—the church of 1517 was in dire need of a wakeup call.Popular legend asserts that on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther sparked the Protestant Reformation when he nailed a document to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church in Germany.For him, this document was a much-needed criticism of corrupt preachers and their abusive practices of selling plenary indulgences (certificates which would supposedly reduce the punishment for the sin of loved ones in purgatory) to Christians. Written first in Latin, it was quickly translated into German, distributed, and eventually led to Luther becoming a religious outlaw who could be killed on sight.[Click here to learn about the stunning new documentary exploring the life and legacy of Martin Luther.] But before you get into the nitty gritty of Luther’s arguments, here is a quick breakdown of some important highlights to look out for: theses 1-4 focuses on the need for repentance (not indulgences) in the Christian life, 5-13 concern the pope’s and priest’s power (or lack thereof) to influence someone’s status in purgatory, 14-16 challenges common beliefs about purgatory, 17-26 argue that no one can definitively say anything about the spiritual state of anyone in purgatory, 27-29 attacks the idea that payment of any kind can release the payer’s loved one from purgatory, 30-34 criticizes the false sense of certainty these indulgence preachers offered Christians, 35-80 gets into the meat of the argument against the role of indulgences in salvation and further problems with how they are being preached, 81-91 offers criticisms and objections from laypeople in Luther’s congregation, and 92-95 admonishes the reader to imitate Christ even if it brings pain and suffering. We say on the contrary that even the present pope, or any pope whatsoever, has greater graces at his disposal, that is, the gospel, spiritual powers, gifts of healing, etc., as it is written. To say that the cross emblazoned with the papal coat of arms, and set up by the indulgence preachers is equal in worth to the cross of Christ is blasphemy. The bishops, curates, and theologians who permit such talk to be spread among the people will have to answer for this. This unbridled preaching of indulgences makes it difficult even for learned men to rescue the reverence which is due the pope from slander or from the shrewd questions of the laity. Such as: “Why does not the pope empty purgatory for the sake of holy love and the dire need of the souls that are there if he redeems an infinite number of souls for the sake of miserable money with which to build a church?