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How to Say “BOO!” to an Anglo-Catholic
Wannabe/Newbie Anglican ^ | 10/31/2006 | Mark Marshall

Posted on 10/31/2006 5:36:45 PM PST by sionnsar

Just greet him with “Happy Reformation Day!” Further, I recommend that all trick-or-treaters going to All Too Common’s house dress as Luther or Calvin to give him a good scare. He is not at all happy about it being Reformation Day.

I have to admit he has some good points. The Romans are certainly doing better than the Protestants when it comes to avoiding apostasy and schism.

But the Roman Catholic Church has only itself to blame for the Reformation. Its Medieval corruption made the Reformation necessary. And remember that Luther wanted to reform the church, not split it. But the Catholic hierarchy wanted none of it.

I’m not as uncritical of the Reformation as I once was. I think much of it went too far in a number of ways. And now it’s many of the Reformation churches that are rotten to the core.

The irony is that the Reformation goaded the Catholics to finally reform themselves. And their reforms have been more persistent. So maybe Catholics should be thankful for the Reformation!

So BOO! – I mean – Happy Reformation Day!

TOPICS: Catholic; Humor; Mainline Protestant
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1 posted on 10/31/2006 5:36:47 PM PST by sionnsar
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2 posted on 10/31/2006 5:37:30 PM PST by sionnsar (††|Iran Azadi| 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY) | UN: Useless Nations)
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To: sionnsar

In parochial school, we called it the "Protestant Revolt". Just a little laugh from 30 years ago.

3 posted on 10/31/2006 5:51:27 PM PST by PatrickF4
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To: sionnsar

Quote: "But the Roman Catholic Church has only itself to blame for the Reformation. Its Medieval corruption made the Reformation necessary. And remember that Luther wanted to reform the church, not split it. But the Catholic hierarchy wanted none of it."

That is nothing but crap.

1) The Catholic Church is not responsible for the sinful schism of anyone, ever.

2) Medieval corruption was did not make any schism necessary. "Medieval corruption" is also largely a phony notion anyway.

3) The idea that Luther wanted to reform the Church but not split it is neither here nor there. a) It shows Luther to be a fool, for individuals of lowly rank are not going to reform the Church unless they possess great virtue. Luther was never known for his great virtue. b) Good popes, Councils and new religious orders reform the Church. This task is not accomplished by oft drunken German monks.

4) Much of the Catholic hierarchy DID WANT reform. It is simply a lie to say otherwise. This was true for over a century by the time anyone heard of Luther. Some reforms were enacted at the Council of Constance before 1418, for instance.

Was the Medieval Church Corrupt?


Frans van Liere (Assistant Professor of Medieval History)

Just as the myth that medieval people believed the earth to be flat is persistent and attractive mainly because it offers an easy explanation for Columbus's voyages of discovery, the myth that the medieval church was a landmark of corruption is often used to explain the success of Luther's Reformation. It depicts the church as ruled in a totalitarian and authoritarian way by power-hungry popes, aided by the Holy Inquisition, enriching themselves by exacting tithes from impoverished peasants and extorting indulgence money from misguided believers. From this point of view, Luther and the other reformers are credited with bringing the church back to the original New Testament ideal. There may be traces of a barely concealed anti-Catholicism lurking here (even though the identification of the medieval Church with the present-day Roman Catholic church is an unfortunate anachronism), but this notion is more widespread than just Protestant churches; the same view is often promoted in movies 1 and taught in high schools. It is hard to disprove, because a large amount of historical evidence, ranging from medieval fabliaux to Reformation polemics, can be manipulated to perpetuate it.

From a historical point of view, the idea that the medieval church was corrupt is based on a couple of methodological fallacies, such as disrespect for the peculiarities of medieval religion, arbitrary use of historical evidence, and ignorance of the situation in the medieval church. To represent "the medieval Church" as a corrupt institution lumps one thousand years of Church history together with a complete disregard for any form of historical development, and also applies the label "medieval" somewhat arbitrarily. After all, the pope who eventually excommunicated Luther in 1521, Leo X, behaved as a Renaissance prince rather than a medieval pope, and Luther's own ideas have recently been reinterpreted as having more in common with medieval thought than any of his adversaries.2 It is also worth remembering that not all reform-minded contemporaries, including Catholic humanists such as Erasmus, joined Luther's Reformation.

This is not to deny that there were some instances of clerical abuses during the later Middle Ages, that were correctly addressed by the Protestant reformers. One of these was the traffic in indulgences. An indulgence is "the remission of the temporal penalty due to forgiven sin, in virtue of the merits of Christ and the saints."3 The granting of indulgences, a practice that became generally accepted with the first Crusade and grew considerably during the later Middle Ages, had fallen victim to commercial exploitation; professional pardoners sold indulgences on a large scale. The practice of Luther's adversary Tetzel went far beyond the legal and doctrinal limits the official church had set, even though it was encouraged by the financial policy of Renaissance popes like Julius II and Leo X, whose maecenate of the arts left them in a dire want of cash. The commercial trafficking in indulgences was eventually prohibited by Pius V in 1567. The late medieval malversations with benefices might be considered another abuse; while it became a lucrative enterprise for clerics to accumulate ecclesiastical functions and collect revenues, these offices required no presence or care of souls in the place where they were held. The result was a misuse of ecclesiastical funds and an increasing absenteeism of the clergy.

But Luther's main point of difference with the Church of his time was theological, not practical. The main issue was not the abolition of clerical abuses; the central question was "How does Man partake in God's salvation"? After all, many of the abuses Luther fulminated against were abolished some fifty years later at the Council of Trent (1545-63); the result was hardly a reconciliation of the Protestant and Catholic churches. Luther's Reformation was more than just the righting of a number of abuses and corruption; it brought a new type of spirituality, which in its emphasis on the centrality of Christ's passion did have some medieval precedents. 4

Luther and his contemporaries were certainly not the first to bring up the theme of "reform". In medieval monastic and theological sources, corruption, and the wealth and luxury of monastic orders was almost a topos. One should keep in mind that these texts may not give an historically accurate representation of the state of church affairs in their own time; they are coloured by what Giles Constable calls the "rhetoric of reform". 5 Many polemical monastic treatises do their best to make their opponent as black as possible, and by depicting their opponents' lives as filled with luxury, worldliness, and corruption, they establish a raison d'être for their renovation of the old monastic ideal. The call for reform in Christianity is as old as the New Testament itself (Rm. 12, 2); it hardly reflects a realistic representation of the state of affairs in the Church, but rather a call to internalize religion and heed the call to conversion.

This constant call to reform, a constant reapplication of old Christian ideals to new situations, is in fact typical of the spirit of medieval Christianity. Looking at the period c. 500 - 1500 in Church history, an image of stagnation, of "thousand years of uncertainty" 6 is certainly misplaced. Christianity established itself firmly in Western Europe, and it displayed an extreme vitality and creativity, witnessed by an adaptation of Christianity to the specific Western European situation, a diversification of the monastic ideal, a resurgence of lay piety, and creative and original political experimentation. In short, medieval Christianity experienced a transformation that makes it almost impossible to speak of "the medieval Church" as if it were a unified entity. The diversity of the medieval Church is not only diachronic, but also synchronic. Studying medieval Christianity, one will discover a multiformity of religious experiences, depending on the differences between social classes and estates, between clergy and laity, between the various monastic orders, and between monks and mendicants. In this way, both reformations of the sixteenth century, Protestant and Catholic, constitute a break with the past and mark the transience of Christianity into the modern age.

Aside from the rhetoric of Protestant reformers, certain other historical realities of the late medieval church also contributed to the persistence of the myth of pervasive corruption. First of all, the period the papacy resided in Avignon is often quoted as an example of the degeneration of the medieval papacy. In fact, medieval popes rarely resided in Rome. The idea that Rome is the inalienable turf of the representative of Saint Peter is of more recent date, and, as is often the case, later ideals may have been projected onto a non-existent medieval reality. The Avignon papacy probably received its bad name from Luther himself, who called it the "Babylonian captivity of the papacy", and Umberto Eco's novel The Name of the Rose certainly did popularize this notion. How accurate is this representation? It may be true that the Avignon popes were inclined to nepotism; one might also see it as an attempt to build a reliable curia in a period when the increased political prestige of the papacy led to undesirable party struggles between French and Italian cardinals. The Avignon popes were generally able popes, most of whom were dedicated to reform and abolishment of clerical abuses. John XXII (1316-34) was intent on reforming the church administration and sanitizing the church finances, which were in a disastrous state after rule the rule of his predecessor, Clement V. His successor, Benedict XI (1334-42) was a stern ascetic, dedicated to ending nepotism, corruption, and malpractice among the clergy. He reduced the papal bureaucracy and the distribution of benefices, and tried to ensure that benefices were only given to clergy of good repute. He greatly reduced the number of clergy residing in Avignon. The beneficial effect of most of these measures was, however, undone by the largesse of his spendthrift successor, Clement VI (1342-52). One of the unwanted effects of the reform policy of the Avignon popes, however, was an ever increasing centralization and bureaucratization of church leadership, in a period when decentralization might have been a wiser policy.

Another instance that has often been cited to show the corruption of the medieval Church is the Western Schism (1378- 1417). Although this was only a brief interlude in the long period that the Middle Ages span, and although it was certainly not the first time there had been two (or even more) popes in Western Christendom, this episode certainly did hurt the notion of papal monarchy that had developed since the thirteenth century. Upon the death of Gregory XI (1370-78), who had brought back the papacy from Avignon to Rome, the cardinals were divided into two factions, Italian and French. Under pressure from riotous crowds of Rome Urban VI was elected, while many French cardinals were still at Avignon. The Italian Urban VI was not exactly a tactful personality, and insulted and threatened the French cardinals, who eventually decided that the election was made under pressure and was not valid. They elected another pope, Clement VII, who took up residency Avignon. But there is a bright side to this dark page; while the schism did much damage to the reputation of the church and the papacy (most of Europe's countries now divided their allegiance along political lines), it also was the direct cause of the growth of conciliarism, the notion that not the pope, but all bishops in council together are qualified to make canonical decisions.

A third element in the myth representing the medieval church as not only corrupt but intolerant, totalitarian, and even murderous, is the persistent misrepresentation of the medieval Inquisition. The work of the distinguished Protestant scholar Henry Charles Lea seems to have exacerbated this. 7 The myth probably originated by projecting the organization and practices of the Spanish Inquisition back onto the Middle Ages. The perception of the Spanish Inquisition, undoubtedly influenced by the infamous "black legend", is interesting in itself, but one should point out that the Spanish Inquisition, established in 1480 as an independent organization responsible only to the crown, was quite different from common medieval inquisitorial proceedings. Lateran Council IV, in 1215, had referred the problem of heresy to the bishop's ecclesiastical court, and admonished the bishops to hold visitations (i.e., an "inquisition", or inquest) to elicit testimonies from parishioners. Those persisting in doctrinal error after correction should be handed over to secular authorities for further punishment. To aid the bishop in his task, the bishop could be assisted by papal judge delegates, often mendicants. This eventually, as of 1243, became an official function: "inquisitor of heretical depravity". In special cases, these inquisitors were given a certain measure of autonomy and were made only responsible to the pope, but there was never a permanently established "Inquisition" as organization in the Middle Ages, only inquisitors.

Was the medieval church corrupt? Certainly there were abuses, grounded in human weakness, but the overall impression of vitality and diversity that characterized the medieval church does not justify this generalizing conclusion. To call the abuses that occurred during the Middle Ages "typical of the medieval church", while depicting its critics and reforms as "ahead of their time" is an historical fallacy. In the medieval church, good and bad were mixed together, as they were (and are) in the church throughout all ages. One need only watch a modern-day televangelist to see that the abuse of religion to extort money is by no means unique to the late Middle Ages.


1. One recent film that seems to propagate this image is Annaud's The Name of the Rose, an adaptation of the much more complex novel by Umberto Eco. I have shown this film in various college courses related to the Middle Ages. My students seemed univocal in deciphering the message of this film: for them it showed that the medieval church was utterly corrupted.

2. Heiko A. Oberman, Luther, Mensch zwischen Gott und Teufel (Berlin, 1982).

3. "Indulgences," in F.L. Cross and E.A. Livingstone, Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford, 1974), p. 700.

4. On the Reformation in its medieval context, see Heiko A. Oberman, The Dawn of the Reformation; Essays in Late Medieval and Early Reformation Thought (Edinburgh, 1986).

5. Giles Constable, The Reformation of the Twelfth Century, (Cambridge, 1996), p. 125.

6. Kenneth S. Latourette, A History of the Expansion of Christianity, vol. 2: The Thousand Years of Uncertainty, A.D. 500-A.D. 1500 (London, 1938).

7. Henry Charles Lea, A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages (New York, 1887).


Arnold Angenendt, Geschichte der Religiosität im Mittelalter. Darmstadt, 1997.

Geoffrey Barraclough, The Medieval Papacy (History of European Civilization Library). New York, 1968.

Giles Constable, The Reformation of the Twelfth Century. Cambridge, 1996.

Gerhardt B. Ladner, The Idea of Reform; Its Impact on Christian Thought and Action in the Age of the Fathers. Cambridge, MA, 1959.

Henry Charles Lea, A History of Auricular Confession and Indulgences in the Latin Church. New York, 1968.

Bernard McGinn, John Meyendorff, Jean Leclercq, eds., Christian Spirituality (World Spirituality, An Encyclopedic History of the Religious Quest, 16-17). New York, 1996-97.

Edward Peters, Inquisition. Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1988.

Richard Southern, Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages. (The Pelican History of the Church 2) Harmondsworth, 1970.

4 posted on 10/31/2006 6:50:41 PM PST by vladimir998 (Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ. St. Jerome)
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To: sionnsar

Are there any Anglo-Catholics left? I mean, there are an awful lot of Nashotah House diplomas on the walls or in the desk drawers or attics of priests of the Antiochian Archdiocese. Most of them came with a fair portion of the flock, and that doesn't include the ones in the OCA or who went to the Latins.

5 posted on 10/31/2006 6:52:05 PM PST by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: PatrickF4

A better name than Reformation. Over the span of centuries it is easy to ignore how radical Luther was and so hard to reconcile. Richard Marius, a secular biographer of Luther, has opined that in view of what happened between 1519 and 1648, it probably would have been better if Luther had suffered the fate of Hus.

6 posted on 10/31/2006 7:00:09 PM PST by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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To: The_Reader_David
try - would that be of assistance?

Im still trying to sort out all the disparate threads that have come out of the desire to break away from the ECUSA. I think the ACC finds itself in an uncomfortable middle : too Catholic for the old guard Episcopalian, and too Protestant for the RCCer looking for tradition.

I just know Im sick and tired of the "its all Henry VIII's fault!" Just tells me people are woefully ignorant of Western civilization history.

I think the RCC needs a good swift kick every now and then - hence Martin Luther.


Am tired of hearing mainline Protestants talk about how good they were to throw out the baby with the bathwater and then wonder why people arent more cognizant of the history behind Christianity. I swear its amazing to me sometimes to hear a Protestant express amazement over some of the Old Testament teachings, or suddenly get a clue as to why the Jews considered the Tabernacle such a holy place to enter. As a catholic, my first response is " DOH!"

7 posted on 10/31/2006 7:26:03 PM PST by Alkhin (I think Im in love)
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To: vladimir998

The medival church was not corrupt?

Simple questions

1) What is 'supererogation'?
1a)What specific group, or individual scripture(s) indicate that any church leader has this authority.

2) What is an 'Indulgence'?
2a) What specific group, or individual scripture authorize the sale or even the concept of an 'Indulgence'?

8 posted on 10/31/2006 7:30:07 PM PST by Hodar (With Rights, come Responsibilities. Don't assume one, without assuming the other.)
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To: Alkhin

Now, has the ACC dropped the filoque? I know one of the Anglo-Catholic continuing Anglican groups has.

An Orthodox monk of whom I am very fond (whose monastery, incidentally, uses the Coverdale Psalter, rather than the translation from the LXX from Holy Transfiguration Monastery most of us English-speaking Orthodox use) has expressed the view that the non-filioquist continuing Anglicans are the only Western confession worth having ecumenical dialogs with. (Of course that was before the Latins got a Pope of Rome given to quoting Nicholas Cabasilas and Emperor Manuel II.)

9 posted on 10/31/2006 7:58:18 PM PST by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: Hodar

Watch out Hodar!

The Catholic church still hands out indulgences...just not for cash money anymore.

10 posted on 10/31/2006 8:07:05 PM PST by Ottofire (Fire Tempers Steel)
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To: Hodar
And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.


According to this promise of the Lord, the Apostolic Church of Peter remains pure and spotless from all leading into error, or heretical fraud, above all Heads and Bishops, and Primates of Churches and people, [p. 586] with its own Pontiffs, with most abundant faith, and the authority of Peter. And while other Churches have to blush for the error of some of their members, this reigns alone immoveably established, enforcing silence, and stopping the mouths of all heretics; and we [ed. note: The editions read here, 'et nos necessario salutis,' the meaning of which, says Nicolai, it is impossible to divine], not drunken with the wine of pride, confess together with it the type of truth, and of the holy apostolic tradition.

Chrys.: Then He speaks of another honour of Peter, when He adds, "And I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven;" as much as to say, As the Father hath given thee to know Me, I also will give something unto thee, namely, the keys of the kingdom of heaven.

Raban.: For as with a zeal beyond the others he had confessed the King of heaven, he is deservedly entrusted more than the others with the keys of the heavenly kingdom, that it might be clear to all, that without that confession and faith none ought to enter the kingdom of heaven. By the keys of the kingdom He means discernment [margin note: discretio] and power; power, by which he binds and looses; discernment, by which he separates the worthy from the unworthy.

It follows, "And whatsoever thou shalt bind;" that is, whomsoever thou shalt judge unworthy of forgiveness while he lives, shall be judged unworthy with God; and "whatsoever thou shalt loose," that is, whomsoever thou shalt judge worthy to be forgiven while he lives, shall obtain forgiveness of his sins from God.

Origen: See how great power has that rock upon which the Church is built, that its sentences are to continue firm as though God gave sentence by it.

Chrys.: See how Christ leads Peter to a high understanding concerning himself. [p. 587] These things that He here promises to give him, belong to God alone, namely to forgive sins, and to make the Church immoveable amidst the storms of so many persecutions and trials.

Raban.: But this power of binding and loosing, though it seems given by the Lord to Peter alone, is indeed given also to the other Apostles, [margin note: see Matt 18:18] and is even now in the Bishops and Presbyters in every Church. But Peter received in a special manner the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and a supremacy of judicial power, that all the faithful throughout the world might understand that all who in any manner separate themselves from the unity of the faith, or from communion with him, such should neither be able to be loosed from the bonds of sin, nor to enter the gate of the heavenly kingdom.

Gloss., ap. Anselm: This power was committed specially to Peter, that we might thereby be invited to unity. For He therefore appointed him the head of the Apostles, that the Church might have one principal Vicar of Christ, to whom the different members of the Church should have recourse, if ever they should have dissensions among them.

But if there were many heads in the Church, the bond of unity would be broken. Some say that the words "upon earth" denote that power was not given to men to bind and loose the dead, but the living; for he who should loose the dead would do this not upon earth, but after the earth.


2 Corinth 2 2:10. And to whom you have pardoned any thing, I also. For, what I have pardoned, if I have pardoned any thing, for your sakes have I done it in the person of Christ:

Cui autem aliquid donatis et ego nam et ego quod donavi si quid donavi propter vos in persona Christi I also... The apostle here granted an indulgence, or pardon, in the person and by the authority of Christ, to the incestuous Corinthian, whom before he had put under penance, which pardon consisted in a releasing of part of the temporal punishment due to his sin.

11 posted on 11/01/2006 1:10:55 AM PST by bornacatholic
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To: sionnsar
And remember that Luther wanted to reform the church, not split it. But the Catholic hierarchy wanted none of it.

*LOL That isn't even close to the truth.

Anyhow, Luther got this right...

"We concede -- as we must -- that so much of what they [the Catholic Church] say is true: that the papacy has God's word and the office of the apostles, and that we have received Holy Scriptures, Baptism, the Sacrament, and the pulpit from them. What would we know of these if it were not for them?"

Sermon on the gospel of St. John, chaps. 14 - 16 (1537), in vol. 24 of LUTHER'S WORKS, St. Louis, Mo.: Concordia, 1961, 304

12 posted on 11/01/2006 1:49:21 AM PST by bornacatholic
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To: Hodar

You wrote:

"The medival church was not corrupt? Simple questions, 1) What is 'supererogation'?"

Not corruption certainly.

"1a)What specific group, or individual scripture(s) indicate that any church leader has this authority."

Even if it were none that would not indicate corruption since sola scriptura is not only not scriptural but was not an operative method of interpretation (because it didn't exist yet).

"2) What is an 'Indulgence'?"

Again, not corruption. The selling of indulgences was corruption, however. If you don't know what an indulgence is than you are not in a position to judge it to be corruption.

"2a) What specific group, or individual scripture authorize the sale or even the concept of an 'Indulgence'?"

Selling? None. And neither did the Church. The Church never approved of the selling of indulgences.

For everything else:

13 posted on 11/01/2006 5:47:05 AM PST by vladimir998 (Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ. St. Jerome)
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To: Ottofire

The Catholic Church NEVER handed out indulgences for cash. Some people may have, but NEVER the Church.

14 posted on 11/01/2006 5:53:50 AM PST by vladimir998 (Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ. St. Jerome)
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To: PatrickF4
Little joke from 30 years ago?
I know RC's who still say that, out loud even.
15 posted on 11/01/2006 6:14:52 AM PST by Bainbridge
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To: vladimir998

You might want to open with language more befitting a Christian.

16 posted on 11/01/2006 6:16:09 AM PST by Bainbridge
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To: vladimir998

Yeah, you're a great ambassador for your denomination.

17 posted on 11/01/2006 7:01:27 AM PST by Mr. Lucky
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To: Bainbridge

I used an apt description. You may not like it, but that won't change the fact that I properly described it.

18 posted on 11/01/2006 8:54:55 AM PST by vladimir998 (Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ. St. Jerome)
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To: Mr. Lucky

I have never been a member of a denomination.

19 posted on 11/01/2006 8:56:09 AM PST by vladimir998 (Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ. St. Jerome)
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To: vladimir998


So is the Catholic Church going to sell St. Peters back to the poor souls that are currently doing hard time in Purgatory? That is what Tetzel was selling them for, no? Did the Roman Catholic give the monies back? Or just deny that Tetzel was doing anything wrong?

20 posted on 11/01/2006 10:27:14 AM PST by Ottofire (Fire Tempers Steel)
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