Skip to comments.What are the 95 Theses of Martin Luther?
Posted on 10/18/2019 3:39:19 AM PDT by ealgeone
In case no one has ever actually read what Luther wrote. Some additional background is available at the link provided.
Out of love for the truth and from desire to elucidate it, the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and ordinary lecturer therein at Wittenberg, intends to defend the following statements and to dispute on them in that place. Therefore he asks that those who cannot be present and dispute with him orally shall do so in their absence by letter. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.
1. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, in saying, "Repent ye, etc.," intended that the whole life of his believers on earth should be a constant penance.
2. And the word "penance" neither can, nor may, be understood as referring to the Sacrament of Penance, that is, to confession and atonement as exercised under the priest's ministry.
3. Nevertheless He does not think of inward penance only: rather is inward penance worthless unless it produces various outward mortifications of the flesh.
4. Therefore mortification continues as long as hatred of oneself continues, that is to say, true inward penance lasts until entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven.
5. The Pope will not, and cannot, remit other punishments than those which he has imposed by his own decree or according to the canons.
6. The Pope can forgive sins only in the sense, that he declares and confirms what may be forgiven of God; or that he doth it in those cases which he hath reserved to himself; be this contemned, the sin remains unremitted.
7. God forgives none his sin without at the same time casting him penitent and humbled before the priest His vicar.
8. The canons concerning penance are imposed only on the living; they ought not by any means, following the same canons, to be imposed on the dying.
9. Therefore, the Holy Spirit, acting in the Pope, does well for us, when the latter in his decrees entirely removes the article of death and extreme necessity.
10. Those priests act unreasonably and ill who reserve for Purgatory the penance imposed on the dying.
11. This abuse of changing canonical penalty into the penalty of Purgatory seems to have arisen when the bishops were asleep.
12. In times of yore, canonical penalties were imposed, not after, but before, absolution, as tests of true repentance and affliction.
13. The dying pay all penalties by their death, are already dead to the canons, and rightly have exemption from them.
14. Imperfect spiritual health or love in the dying person necessarily brings with it great fear; and the less this love is, the greater the fear it brings.
15. This fear and horror - to say nothing of other things - are sufficient in themselves to produce the punishment of Purgatory, because they approximate to the horror of despair.
16. Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven seem to differ as perfect despair, imperfect despair, and security of salvation differ.
17. It seems as must in Purgatory love in the souls increase, as fear diminishes in them.
18. It does not seem to be proved either by arguments or by the Holy Writ that they are outside the state of merit and demerit, or increase of love.
19. This, too, seems not to be proved, that they are all sure and confident of their salvation, though we may be quite sure of it.
20. Therefore the Pope, in speaking of the perfect remission of all punishments, does not mean that all penalties in general be forgiven, but only those imposed by himself.
21. Therefore, those preachers of indulgences err who say that, by the Pope's indulgence, a man may be exempt from all punishments, and be saved.
22. Yea, the Pope remits the souls in Purgatory no penalty which they, according to the canons, would have had to pay in this life.
23. If to anybody complete remission of all penalties may be granted, it is certain that it is granted only to those most approaching perfection, that is, to very few.
24. Therefore the multitude is misled by the boastful promise of the paid penalty, whereby no manner of distinction is made.
25. The same power that the Pope has over Purgatory, such has also every bishop in his diocese, and every curate in his parish.
26. The Pope acts most rightly in granting remission to souls, not by the power of the keys - which in Purgatory he does not possess - but by way of intercession.
27. They preach vanity who say that the soul flies out of Purgatory as soon as the money thrown into the chest rattles.
28. What is sure, is, that as soon as the penny rattles in the chest, gain and avarice are on the way of increase; but the intercession of the church depends only on the will of God Himself.
29. And who knows, too, whether all those souls in Purgatory wish to be redeemed, as it is said to have happened with St. Severinus and St. Paschalis.
30. Nobody is sure of having repented sincerely enough; much less can he be sure of having received perfect remission of sins.
31. Seldom even as he who has sincere repentance, is he who really gains indulgence; that is to say, most seldom to be found.
32. On the way to eternal damnation are they and their teachers, who believe that they are sure of their salvation through indulgences.
33. Beware well of those who say, the Pope's pardons are that inestimable gift of God by which man is reconciled to God.
34. For the forgiveness contained in these pardons has reference only to the penalties of sacramental atonement which were appointed by men.
35. He preaches like a heathen who teaches that those who will deliver souls out of Purgatory or buy indulgences do not need repentance and contrition.
36. Every Christian who feels sincere repentance and woe on account of his sins, has perfect remission of pain and guilt even without letters of indulgence.
37. Every true Christian, be he still alive or already dead, partaketh in all benefits of Christ and of the Church given him by God, even without letters of indulgence.
38. Yet is the Pope's absolution and dispensation by no means to be contemned, since it is, as I have said, a declaration of the Divine Absolution.
39. It is exceedingly difficult, even for the most subtle theologists, to praise at the same time before the people the great wealth of indulgence and the truth of utter contrition.
40. True repentance and contrition seek and love punishment; while rich indulgence absolves from it, and causes men to hate it, or at least gives them occasion to do so.
41. The Pope's indulgence ought to be proclaimed with all precaution, lest the people should mistakenly believe it of more value than all other works of charity.
42. Christians should be taught, it is not the Pope's opinion that the buying of indulgence is in any way comparable to works of charity.
43. Christians should be taught, he who gives to the poor, or lends to a needy man, does better than buying indulgence.
44. For, by the exercise of charity, charity increases and man grows better, while by means of indulgence, he does not become better, but only freer from punishment.
45. Christians should be taught, he who sees his neighbor in distress, and, nevertheless, buys indulgence, is not partaking in the Pope's pardons, but in the anger of God.
46. Christians should be taught, unless they are rich enough, it is their duty to keep what is necessary for the use of their households, and by no means to throw it away on indulgences.
47. Christians should be taught, the buying of indulgences is optional and not commanded.
48. Christians should be taught, the Pope, in selling pardons, has more want and more desire of a devout prayer for himself than of the money.
49. Christians should be taught, the Pope's pardons are useful as far as one does not put confidence in them, but on the contrary most dangerous, if through them one loses the fear of God.
50. Christians should be taught, if the Pope knew the ways and doings of the preachers of indulgences, he would prefer that St. Peter's Minster should be burnt to ashes, rather than that it should be built up of the skin, flesh, and bones of his lambs.
51. Christians should be taught, the Pope, as it is his bounden duty to do, is indeed also willing to give of his own money - and should St. Peter's be sold thereto - to those from whom the preachers of indulgences do most extort money.
52. It is a vain and false thing to hope to be saved through indulgences, though the commissary - nay, the Pope himself - was to pledge his own soul therefore.
53. Those who, on account of a sermon concerning indulgences in one church, condemn the word of God to silence in the others, are enemies of Christ and of the Pope.
54. Wrong is done to the word of God if one in the same sermon spends as much or more time on indulgences as on the word of the Gospel.
55. The opinion of the Pope cannot be otherwise than this:- If an indulgence - which is the lowest thing - be celebrated with one bell, one procession and ceremonies, then the Gospel - which is the highest thing - must be celebrated with a hundred bells, a hundred processions, and a hundred ceremonies.
56. The treasures of the Church, whence the Pope grants his dispensation are neither sufficiently named nor known among the community of Christ.
57. It is manifest that they are not temporal treasures, for the latter are not lightly spent, but rather gathered by many of the preachers.
58. Nor are they the merits of Christ and of the saints, for these, without the Pope's aid, work always grace to the inner man, cross, death, and hell to the other man.
59. St. Lawrence called the poor of the community the treasures of the community and of the Church, but he understood the word according to the use in his time.
60. We affirm without pertness that the keys of the Church, bestowed through the merit of Christ, are this treasure.
61. For it is clear that the Pope's power is sufficient for the remission of penalties and forgiveness in the reserved cases.
62. The right and true treasure of the Church is the most Holy Gospel of the glory and grace of God.
63. This treasure, however, is deservedly most hateful, for it makes the first to be last.
64. While the treasure of indulgence is deservedly most agreeable, for it makes the last to be first.
65. Therefore, the treasures of the Gospel are nets, with which, in times of yore, one fished for the men of Mammon.
66. But the treasures of indulgence are nets, with which now-a-days one fishes for the Mammon of men.
67. Those indulgences, which the preachers proclaim to be great mercies, are indeed great mercies, forasmuch as they promote gain.
68. And yet they are of the smallest compared to the grace of God and to the devotion of the Cross.
69. Bishops and curates ought to mark with eyes and ears, that the commissaries of apostolical (that is, Popish) pardons are received with all reverence.
70. But they ought still more to mark with eyes and ears, that these commissaries do not preach their own fancies instead of what the Pope has commanded.
71. He who speaks against the truth of apostolical pardons, be anathema and cursed.
72. But blessed be he who is on his guard against the preacher's of pardons naughty and impudent words.
73. As the Pope justly disgraces and excommunicates those who use any kind of contrivance to do damage to the traffic in indulgences.
74. Much more it is his intention to disgrace and excommunicate those who, under the pretext of indulgences, use contrivance to do damage to holy love and truth.
75. To think that the Popish pardons have power to absolve a man even if - to utter an impossibility - he had violated the Mother of God, is madness.
76. We assert on the contrary that the Popish pardon cannot take away the least of daily sins, as regards the guilt of it.
77. To say that St. Peter, if he were now Pope, could show no greater mercies, is blasphemy against St. Peter and the Pope.
78. We assert on the contrary that both this and every other Pope has greater mercies to show: namely, the Gospel, spiritual powers, gifts of healing, etc. (1.Cor.XII).
79. He who says that the cross with the Pope's arms, solemnly set on high, has as much power as the Cross of Christ, blasphemes God.
80. Those bishops, curates, and theologists, who allow such speeches to be uttered among the people, will have one day to answer for it.
81. Such impudent sermons concerning indulgences make it difficult even for learned men to protect the Pope's honor and dignity against the calumnies, or at all events against the searching questions, of the laymen.
82. As for instance: - Why does not the Pope deliver all souls at the same time out of Purgatory for the sake of most holy love and on account of the bitterest distress of those souls - this being the most imperative of all motives, - while he saves an infinite number of souls for the sake of that most miserable thing money, to be spent on St. Peter's Minster: - this being the very slightest of motives?
83. Or again: - Why do masses for the dead continue, and why does not the Pope return or permit to be withdrawn the funds which were established for the sake of the dead, since it is now wrong to pray for those who are already saved?
84. Again: - What is this new holiness of God and the Pope that, for money's sake, they permit the wicked and the enemy of God to save a pious soul, faithful to God, and yet will not save that pious and beloved soul without payment, out of love, and on account of its great distress?
85. Again: - Why is it that the canons of penance, long abrogated and dead in themselves, because they are not used, are yet still paid for with money through the granting of pardons, as if they were still in force and alive?
86. Again: - Why does not the Pope build St. Peter's Minster with his own money - since his riches are now more ample than those of Crassus, - rather than with the money of poor Christians?
87. Again: -Why does the Pope remit or give to those who, through perfect penitence, have already a right to plenary remission and pardon?
88. Again: - What greater good could the Church receive, than if the Pope presented this remission and pardon a hundred times a day to every believer, instead of but once, as he does now?
89. If the Pope seeks by his pardon the salvation of souls, rather than money, why does he annul letters of indulgence granted long ago, and declare them out of force, though they are still in force?
90. To repress these very telling questions of the laymen by force, and not to solve them by telling the truth, is to expose the Church and the Pope to the enemy's ridicule and to make Christian people unhappy.
91. Therefore, if pardons were preached according to the Pope's intention and opinion, all these objections would be easily answered, nay, they never had occurred.
92. Away then with all those prophets who say to the community of Christ, "Peace, peace", and there is no peace.
93. But blessed be all those prophets who say to the community of Christ, "The cross, the cross," and there is no cross.
94. Christians should be exhorted to endeavor to follow Christ their Head through Cross, Death, and Hell,
95. And thus hope with confidence to enter Heaven through many miseries, rather than in false security.
M. D. XVII
And you must eat a Diet of Worms!
The Diet of Worms was an imperial diet (assembly) of the Holy Roman Empire called by King Charles V.
It was held at the Heylshof Garden in Worms, then an Imperial Free City of the Empire. An imperial diet was a formal deliberative assembly of the whole Empire.
This one is most memorable for the Edict of Worms (Wormser Edikt), which addressed Martin Luther and the effects of the Protestant Reformation. It was conducted from 28 January to 25 May 1521, with the Emperor Charles V presiding.
The original tweet storm.
Great minds think alike.
I recalled the 1521 condemnation at the Diet of Worms by the Holy Roman Empire called by King Charles V.
Don’t stop at the 95 Theses! Continue on to Luther’s next work, The Heidelberg Disputation of 1518:
50 Reasons Why Martin Luther Was Excommunicated
1. Separation of justification from sanctification.
2. Extrinsic, forensic, imputed justification.
3. Fiduciary faith.
4. Private judgment over against ecclesial infallibility.
5. Rejection of seven deuterocanonical books.
6. Denial of venial sin.
7. Denial of merit.
8. Sola Scriptura and radically private judgment: if we are all priests . . . why should we not also have the power to test and judge what is right or wrong in matters of faith?
9. Denial that the pope has the right to call a council.
10. Only justified men can do good works.
11. Denial of the sacrament of ordination.
12. Denial of exclusively priestly absolution. Anyone in the Christian community can grant absolution.
13. God has not instituted the office of bishop.
14. God has not instituted the office of the papacy.
15. Priests have no special, indelible character.
16. Temporal authorities have power over the Church; even bishops and popes: The pope should have no authority over the emperor.
17. Vows of celibacy are wrong and should be abolished.
18. Denial of papal infallibility.
19. Unrighteous priests or popes lose their authority.
20. The keys of the kingdom were not just given to Peter.
21. Private judgment of every individual to determine matters of faith.
22. Denial that the pope has the right to confirm a council.
23. Denial that the Church has the right to demand celibacy of certain callings.
24. God has not instituted the vocation of monk
25. Feast days should be abolished.
26. Fasts should be strictly optional.
27. Canonization of saints is thoroughly corrupt and should stop.
28. Confirmation is not a sacrament.
29. Indulgences should be abolished.
30. Dispensations should be abolished.
31. Philosophy (Aristotle as prime example) is an unsavory, detrimental influence on Christianity.
32. Transubstantiation is a monstrous idea.
33. The Church cannot institute sacraments.
34. Denial that the Mass is a good work.
35. Denial that the Mass is a true sacrifice.
36. Denial of the sacramental notion of ex opere operato.
37. Denial that penance is a sacrament.
38. Assertion that the Catholic Church had completely abolished the practice of penance.
39. Claim that the Church had abolished faith as an aspect of penance.
40. Denial of apostolic succession.
41. Any layman who can should call a general council.
42. Penitential works are worthless.
43. The seven sacraments lack any biblical proof.
44. Marriage is not a sacrament.
45. Annulments are a senseless concept and the Church has no right to grant them.
46. Whether divorce is allowable is an open question.
47. Divorced persons should be allowed to remarry.
48. Jesus allowed divorce when one partner committed adultery.
49. The priests daily office is vain repetition.
50. Extreme unction is not a sacrament (the only two sacraments are baptism and the Eucharist).
Bachelor of Arts, Sociology (cum laude) from Wayne State University, Detroit, 1982; a broad liberal arts education, including much philosophy and history, and a minor in psychology. Multiple thousands of hours studying theology, Church history, philosophy, and general Christian and Catholic apologetics since 1981 (no formal training in theology). I have about 2000 books in my own library (mostly these same subjects).
And, during the Cold War, located in the FRG. Wittenberg OTOH was in the GDR.
Meanwhile, we fight the good fight.
“...Continue on to Luthers next work...”
What about his final work? Some attest that it was the same as Judas’.
The Death of Luther
How did Luther Die?
The official Protestant version narrates that the greatest architect of the Christian rupture died of a natural death on February 15, 1546, after a trip to Eisleben and suffering from angina pectoris; Was it really like this?
A contemporary German scholar, Dietrich Emme, offers a very different version in a review of events. In his book “Martin Luther, Seine Jugend und Studienzeit 1483-1505. Eine dokumentarische Darstelleng “ (”Martin Luther: Youth and Years of Study from 1483 to 1505. Bonn 1983”) points out that Luther committed suicide, and he is not alone in pointing this out.
Likewise, a Freudian psychoanalyst, M. Roland Dalbiez, in his study Luther’s Anguish , attributes him “... a very serious neurosis of anguish, so grave that one may wonder whether it has not been due to a border-state between neurosis on the one hand and suicide raptus on the other, a teleological anti-suicidal automatism”.
Indeed, Luther had suicidal tendencies, as it can be corroborated in his own “Tischreden” (”Table Talk”), where one of his conversations with Pastor Güben Leonhard Beyer, in 1551 is documented:
“He told us that when he was a prisoner the devil had wickedly tormented him and that he had laughed heartily when he (Luther) took a knife in his hand, saying:” Go ahead! Kill yourself! “(...). This has happened to me very often, so much as to put a knife in my hand ... and what evil thoughts came to mind in this way, so evil that I could no longer pray “.
In 1606, Franciscan Heinrich Sedulius in his “Preaescriptiones adversus haereses”, narrates something analogous bringing up the valuable testimony of Ambrosio Kudtfeld, a witness and man of confidence of the “reformer” who, far from accounting a death from angina , says:
“On the night before his death, Martin Luther let himself be overcome by his habitual intemperance and in such excess that we were obliged to take him, completely drunk, and place him in his bed. Then, we retired to our bedroom, without sensing anything unpleasant! The next morning, we went back to our lord to help him get dressed, as usual. Then - oh, what a pain! - we saw our master Martin hanging from the bed and strangled miserably! His mouth was crooked, th right part of his face was black, his neck was red and deformed.”
Indeed, at that time raised beds supported by columns were used.
“In the face of this horrible spectacle, we felt great fear! We ran, without delay, to the princes, his guests of the day before, to announce to them the execrable end of Luther! They, full of terror like us, immediately promised us, with a thousand promises and the most solemn oaths, to observe, with respect to that event, an eternal silence. Then they ordered us to remove the rope from Luther’s hideous corpse, lay him on his bed, and then report to the people that “Master Luther” had suddenly abandoned this life!”
Maritain himself points out that Dr. De Coster, who examined Luther, explained that the deceased’s mouth was crooked with the face black and the neck red and deformed .
Likewise, Oratorian priest Bozio, in his book “De Signis Ecclesiae”, published in 1592 , points out that one of the reformer’s household indicated that his lord was found hanged from the columns of his bed; Dr. Géorges Claudin says the same: .
As Villa points out, “Luther, then, did not die a natural death, as has been falsely written in all the history books of Protestantism, but died as a suicidal, hanged from his bed after a splendid dinner, in which, as usual, he had drunk too much and was satisfied with food beyond all bounds!”.
Paradoxically, that February 15, 1546, feast of the Chair of St. Peter, he, who had railed against the Church, the Papacy, and the Catholic doctrine, voluntarily abandoned his mortal life at three in the morning, the anti-hour of Redemption that Our Lord Jesus Christ brought to us on Calvary.
It’s sad: but that’s the end of those who live in a bad way.
Dont let them deceive you
P. Javier Olivera Ravasi
SOURCE. Translated from Spanish by Catholicity blog.
Only the Douay-Rheims translates the verse this way.
The NRSVACE renders the passage as:
No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did.
By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!
Another example of a bad translation leading to bad theology.
God’s Truth is already with us. His mysteries will be explained to us later.
It is man’s attempt to falsely interpret God’s Truth that causes disputes in understanding God’s Truth.
Peter taught that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of ones own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God (2 Pet. 1:2021) and went on to warn about those who taught without authority: There will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction (2 Pet. 2:1).
Paul instructed, Stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15), and If any one refuses to obey what we say in this letter, note that man, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not look on him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother (2 Thess. 3:1415).
If we are open to God’s Truth and defend it, a reasonable discussion can lead us to a better understanding God’s Truth.
Bible study 101:
What is the context of these "traditions" Paul is writing about?
Now this was interesting to me because the Japanese legislative branch is called a Diet and I always wondered where that term came from as I haven’t seen it in use elsewhere.
“Another example of a bad translation leading to bad theology.”
Here are the bad translations: NRSVACE and the NABRE.
They are approved translations by the Roman Catholic church. You have an issue with them you know who to write to.
Luther may have committed suicide, but the evidence of it is not strong.
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