Martin luther 92 thesis

It must needs be, therefore, that the greater part of the people are deceived by that indiscriminate and highsounding promise of release from penalty. The power which the pope has, in a general way, over purgatory, is just like the power which any bishop or curate has, in a special way, within his own diocese or parish.

The pope does well when he grants remission to souls [in purgatory], not by the power of the keys which he does not possess , but by way of intercession. They preach man who say that so soon as the penny jingles into the money-box, the soul flies out [of purgatory]. It is certain that when the penny jingles into the money-box, gain and avarice can be increased, but the result of the intercession of the Church is in the power of God alone.

95 Theses Years later: Luther’s List Speaks Powerfully Today | Southwood Presbyterian Church

Who knows whether all the souls in purgatory wish to be bought out of it, as in the legend of Sts. Severinus and Paschal. No one is sure that his own contrition is sincere; much less that he has attained full remission. Rare as is the man that is truly penitent, so rare is also the man who truly buys indulgences, i. They will be condemned eternally, together with their teachers, who believe themselves sure of their salvation because they have letters of pardon. They preach no Christian doctrine who teach that contrition is not necessary in those who intend to buy souls out of purgatory or to buy confessionalia.

Every truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without letters of pardon. Every true Christian, whether living or dead, has part in all the blessings of Christ and the Church; and this is granted him by God, even without letters of pardon.

Martin Luther: Top 5 of the 95

Nevertheless, the remission and participation [in the blessings of the Church] which are granted by the pope are in no way to be despised, for they are, as I have said, the declaration of divine remission. It is most difficult, even for the very keenest theologians, at one and the same time to commend to the people the abundance of pardons and [the need of] true contrition. True contrition seeks and loves penalties, but liberal pardons only relax penalties and cause them to be hated, or at least, furnish an occasion [for hating them]. Apostolic pardons are to be preached with caution, lest the people may falsely think them preferable to other good works of love.


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Christians are to be taught that the pope does not intend the buying of pardons to be compared in any way to works of mercy. Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better work than buying pardons;.


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Because love grows by works of love, and man becomes better; but by pardons man does not grow better, only more free from penalty. Christians are to be taught that he who sees a man in need, and passes him by, and gives [his money] for pardons, purchases not the indulgences of the pope, but the indignation of God. Christians are to be taught that unless they have more than they need, they are bound to keep back what is necessary for their own families, and by no means to squander it on pardons.

Christians are to be taught that the buying of pardons is a matter of free will, and not of commandment. Christians are to be taught that the pope, in granting pardons, needs, and therefore desires, their devout prayer for him more than the money they bring. Christians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions of the pardon-preachers, he would rather that St.

Peter might have to be sold. The assurance of salvation by letters of pardon is vain, even though the commissary, nay, even though the pope himself, were to stake his soul upon it. They are enemies of Christ and of the pope, who bid the Word of God be altogether silent in some Churches, in order that pardons may be preached in others. Injury is done the Word of God when, in the same sermon, an equal or a longer time is spent on pardons than on this Word. It must be the intention of the pope that if pardons, which are a very small thing, are celebrated with one bell, with single processions and ceremonies, then the Gospel, which is the very greatest thing, should be preached with a hundred bells, a hundred processions, a hundred ceremonies.

That they are not temporal treasures is certainly evident, for many of the vendors do not pour out such treasures so easily, but only gather them. Nor are they the merits of Christ and the Saints, for even without the pope, these always work grace for the inner man, and the cross, death, and hell for the outward man.

The 95 Theses: A reader’s guide

For it is clear that for the remission of penalties and of reserved cases, the power of the pope is of itself sufficient. On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is naturally most acceptable, for it makes the last to be first. Therefore the treasures of the Gospel are nets with which they formerly were wont to fish for men of riches. Yet they are in truth the very smallest graces compared with the grace of God and the piety of the Cross.

Bishops and curates are bound to admit the commissaries of apostolic pardons, with all reverence. But still more are they bound to strain all their eyes and attend with all their ears, lest these men preach their own dreams instead of the commission of the pope. The pope justly thunders against those who, by any art, contrive the injury of the traffic in pardons.


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But much more does he intend to thunder against those who use the pretext of pardons to contrive the injury of holy love and truth. To think the papal pardons so great that they could absolve a man even if he had committed an impossible sin and violated the Mother of God — this is madness.

A Look At Luther's 95 Theses

We say, on the contrary, that the papal pardons are not able to remove the very least of venial sins, so far as its guilt is concerned. It is said that even St. Peter, if he were now Pope, could not bestow greater graces; this is blasphemy against St. Peter and against the pope. We say, on the contrary, that even the present pope, and any pope at all, has greater graces at his disposal; to wit, the Gospel, powers, gifts of healing, etc.

Corinthians xii. To say that the cross, emblazoned with the papal arms, which is set up [by the preachers of indulgences], is of equal worth with the Cross of Christ, is blasphemy. The bishops, curates and theologians who allow such talk to be spread among the people, will have an account to render.

The 95 Theses of Martin Luther (1517)

This unbridled preaching of pardons makes it no easy matter, even for learned men, to rescue the reverence due to the pope from slander, or even from the shrewd questionings of the laity. The former reasons would be most just; the latter is most trivial. Peter with his own money, rather than with the money of poor believers?

To repress these arguments and scruples of the laity by force alone, and not to resolve them by giving reasons, is to expose the Church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies, and to make Christians unhappy.

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It is certain that when the penny jingles into the money-box, gain and avarice can be increased, but the result of the intercession of the Church is in the power of God alone. Who knows whether all the souls in purgatory wish to be bought out of it, as in the legend of Sts. Severinus and Paschal.

No one is sure that his own contrition is sincere; much less that he has attained full remission. Rare as is the man that is truly penitent, so rare is also the man who truly buys indulgences, i. They will be condemned eternally, together with their teachers, who believe themselves sure of their salvation because they have letters of pardon. Men must be on their guard against those who say that the pope's pardons are that inestimable gift of God by which man is reconciled to Him;.

For these "graces of pardon" concern only the penalties of sacramental satisfaction, and these are appointed by man. They preach no Christian doctrine who teach that contrition is not necessary in those who intend to buy souls out of purgatory or to buy confessionalia. Every truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without letters of pardon. Every true Christian, whether living or dead, has part in all the blessings of Christ and the Church; and this is granted him by God, even without letters of pardon.

Nevertheless, the remission and participation [in the blessings of the Church] which are granted by the pope are in no way to be despised, for they are, as I have said, the declaration of divine remission. It is most difficult, even for the very keenest theologians, at one and the same time to commend to the people the abundance of pardons and [the need of] true contrition. True contrition seeks and loves penalties, but liberal pardons only relax penalties and cause them to be hated, or at least, furnish an occasion [for hating them].

Apostolic pardons are to be preached with caution, lest the people may falsely think them preferable to other good works of love. Christians are to be taught that the pope does not intend the buying of pardons to be compared in any way to works of mercy. Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better work than buying pardons;.

Because love grows by works of love, and man becomes better; but by pardons man does not grow better, only more free from penalty. Christians are to be taught that he who sees a man in need, and passes him by, and gives [his money] for pardons, purchases not the indulgences of the pope, but the indignation of God. Christians are to be taught that unless they have more than they need, they are bound to keep back what is necessary for their own families, and by no means to squander it on pardons.

Christians are to be taught that the buying of pardons is a matter of free will, and not of commandment. Christians are to be taught that the pope, in granting pardons, needs, and therefore desires, their devout prayer for him more than the money they bring. Christians are to be taught that the pope's pardons are useful, if they do not put their trust in them; but altogether harmful, if through them they lose their fear of God. Christians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions of the pardon-preachers, he would rather that St.

Peter's church should go to ashes, than that it should be built up with the skin, flesh and bones of his sheep. Christians are to be taught that it would be the pope's wish, as it is his duty, to give of his own money to very many of those from whom certain hawkers of pardons cajole money, even though the church of St. Peter might have to be sold. The assurance of salvation by letters of pardon is vain, even though the commissary, nay, even though the pope himself, were to stake his soul upon it.

They are enemies of Christ and of the pope, who bid the Word of God be altogether silent in some Churches, in order that pardons may be preached in others. Injury is done the Word of God when, in the same sermon, an equal or a longer time is spent on pardons than on this Word. It must be the intention of the pope that if pardons, which are a very small thing, are celebrated with one bell, with single processions and ceremonies, then the Gospel, which is the very greatest thing, should be preached with a hundred bells, a hundred processions, a hundred ceremonies.

The "treasures of the Church," out of which the pope. That they are not temporal treasures is certainly evident, for many of the vendors do not pour out such treasures so easily, but only gather them. Nor are they the merits of Christ and the Saints, for even without the pope, these always work grace for the inner man, and the cross, death, and hell for the outward man. Lawrence said that the treasures of the Church were the Church's poor, but he spoke according to the usage of the word in his own time.

Without rashness we say that the keys of the Church, given by Christ's merit, are that treasure;. For it is clear that for the remission of penalties and of reserved cases, the power of the pope is of itself sufficient.