By Michael Johnathan McDonald
The term black indulgences made Martin Luther strike out against the Church.
This Church business of ‘indulgences’ was the first mass market ploy in
(Near-modern) history. Dominican monks hired by the church went around selling
these indulgences. They were like modern car salesmen – tell you anything for a
sale. They roam the German villages selling aggressively. Tetzel, John was the
circus like performer in the selling regards of the indulgences. Tetzel would
get up on a soap-box and give speeches, like a snake oil salesperson. The money
coming in was like at a gambling machine called the ‘slot machine.’ Just put in
your money and you were saved. This was the antithesis of Christianity. Souls
are not bough and sold on the trade market! Once the people did this, they were
told that their sins were covered, so thy went out and sin some more. It was
mostly Saxon areas of Germany where the monks sold these indulgences.
Martin Luther, 30-40 in age, at the time of the indulgences was superstitious.
Also, he was asking himself, “How could God forgive my sins.” Luther was from
peasant stock and was an only child. The parents planned for him to get to
school so he could support them in old age. One day he was traveling to his
university and a bolt of lighting struck near him, knocking him down. “It was a
sign from God,” He thought in his superstitious mind. He cried out “Saint Ann,
Saint Ann.. I swear I will become a monk” (There goes the parent’s future).
He worked hard at his new carrier with a vengeance. He became a monk. His
superiors noticed he was serious at his job. SO they sent him to a University so
he could come back and tech the others in the monastery. He received his PHD.
From the university, then comes back to teach. This was smack dab in the middle
of the indulgences area (salesman were abusive – most leftist are). Luther
writes to Albert (Letter has survived). He mentions indulgences, but in the
Church, no one wanted to “kill the goose that laid the golden egg” (Stop it).
Luther wonders after a few years why nothing is going on to stop it. So he
decides to have a meeting with other authors to see what really wrong with the
picture of this “mass market ploy.” When he gets together to discuss the matter
with other scholars he finished with 95 good arguments why the indulgences are
not holy. He wrote in Latin ( They were in a German speaking country) and had
nailed his parchment to the door of a church. Church people noticing that it was
in another language, asked someone to interpret it. After it had been read to
them they were in shock! As luck had it the printing press ( The indulgences
were put on the printing press and this is one of the reasons that it was the
beginning of what we call mass marketing) was invented and some church people
who were, also, upset with the indulgences ran off thousands of copies. Then
they had begun to nail them on all the churches around their provinces. The
result was that a sale of indulgences falls off.
The Church is now mad. The Pope made a mistake in that he did nothing; they
could have killed Luther and silenced him as practices of other evil leaders
have done in the past and the future. Luther was making a big deal in Europe. He
was stirring up trouble. Still the Pope didn’t think it was important. The Pope
at the time still saw mass revenue coming in and was swimming in luxury. 1519
the Pope sees no money coming in. The Pope pleads to Luther to come join the
Church, he would make him a Cardinal right away ( in order to shut him up). This
was a form of buy-off spoke about by Francis Bacon in his archaic version: "To
alienate sacred office of Church." The Old French word was ‘deffraieur.’ The
Church was the banker, employer, father, dictator and authority of the Middle
Ages (Most of the time). This was in fact a bribe. 1520 the Pope tried to
excommunicate Luther from the Church. In those days being excommunicated meant
that you were not protected under any laws. People could rob you, or hurt you,
and nothing would be done by the authorities. It meant like becoming an outlaw.
In Fact, people could kill you and it would not be a crime.
So Luther gets excommunicated. Instead of being frightened and scurrying away
from the public, he holds a very public demonstration in which he burns his
excommunications letter in a bonfire. He had got his friends together and said
“Pope does not have an authority to excommunicate me.” Luther was right. The
Pope was not Jesus Christ incarnated, like he and some other Popes before him
acted like. So the publicly burnt letter makes a splash, to say the least. The
Pope says “how can he do that?” So the squabble is on…. The Pope calls Luther
the child of the Devil and Luther calls the Pope the Anti-Christ. Pope claims he
is the authority, and Luther claims the Bible is that authority. So, the
political cartoons started to be made now – via – printing press. As the miff is
getting to the entire European continent’s ears the Holy Roman Empire leader
gets involved. The reason he gets involved in that he doesn’t want to see
Germany split apart ( It was his territorial control). Later in 1520 he calls a
council together to see what can be done.
Diet of Worms
1502 an imperial conference is called ( note: this is similar to the needs of
the Nicea Council in History) They needed to calm a risk of an outbreak of war
of religions. Who was going to be the vicar. (Note: Well Arius ideas lost last
time, but this time he side will eventually win). Luther goes to the city of
Worms with his friends. His friends are worried it is a plot to kill him. They
are right, yet the Church wants to give Luther a chance to denounce his
writings. Representatives are sent from Rome. In the room (The place is still
intact today) one of the Cardinals that came from Rome takes M. Luther’s
writings and places them on a pedestal and says “I want you to denounce to all
here that these are false.” He then threatens Luther to renounce his views in a
“yes” or “no” answer. Luther reiterates a promise that went he got their they
would discuss the views. “ I could have a chance to discuss my views,” Luther
said. If he said yes he could have been burnt at the stake. Luther said “ If you
can prove if what I said is not in the Bible, what can I do?” The Cardinal and
Emperor do not do anything. Luther leaves. His friends say that the Emperor or
the Church will send assassins now. As Luther is just out side of Worms, going
home, a group of knights, all armored up, snatch him and take him away. His
friend’s fret - that is it for him. “The assassins got him.” He is taken to a
lavish castle where the place is far. Out comes Duke Frederick, the wise. He
told Luther that he likes him for making a stand and that he rescued him from
the assassins waiting down the road. For now he was held in his castle, but
treated like a wanted guest. Frederick like him making a stand. It was for a
time that he kept Luther without the knowledge that he was protecting him. The
result is that the Church failed to kill ol’ Luther. His new protection name was
knight George and he was held for over a year.
Luther stayed almost over a year in Frederick’s castle. What did he do? He
translated the New Testament into German, later he would do the same for the Old
Testament. He translated into German in the main dialect of Germans at the time.
This meant a broad readership could recognize the phrases. Meanwhile, outside in
Europe people take to Luther’s views and began to burn the Churches. They are
tired of the lies of the left-wingers in the Church. Now when Luther sees that
the people are rioting against the Church he asks Frederick to leave. He is
granted now that he is not the only deserter of the Popes authority. The
significance is that the fires are set everywhere to free the peoples of Europe
against the Devil’s people controlling the Church.
Once Luther is released he starts his own church. It spreads like wildfire.
1. Middle Man is out
2. No more monks
3. No more confessions
4. No penance, no relic worship
5. Things are plain with no pomp and circumstance
6. He keeps Bishops and Arch Bishops, but no more Pope.
7. Church will go out of the land owning business
8. Lands will go back into state hands.
9. The Church will loose income from the lands.
10. Luther introduces the patrons in active participations in mass ( now called
11. Introduces the sermons in the language of towns.
12. For example, the Catholic Church until the 1960s still used Latin in mass.
13. Catholics only let Priest partake of wine in communion; Luther changes this
to everyone can.
14. Northern Germany goes to the new church (Lutheran). Southern remains
Catholic, but Luther lets whoever come on in.
15. Southern Princes are upset at what happened (This means they are upset
because of revenue lost).
16. This break away from Princely control makes them stand up and fight (These
angry Princes will lay the seeds for the 100 year war).
“We must stop this” say the Southern German princes. The beginning of the wars
of religion begins. The prices make efforts to force the “revilers” back into
Catholicism and paying their dues to them (Like slave masters). Reformation is
from the roots of the word “revolt.” And a revolt it was.
1. General rule of thumb: The people must follow the Prices religion.
2. Many Peasants remain Catholic; Most of the aristocracy remains Catholic
3. It is only the majority of middle classmen/women that partake in the revolt
against the Church.
4. See Spread of Reformation.
The Protestants who came out of the rebel movements were lawyers, businessmen,
just your basic middle classman. However, they were the minority, but were very
important to society. The hostilities were not one sided. Both sides exhibited
them and used them to full effect. When there wasn’t calm before the treaty they
were brutal in their treatment of the other side. This caused relocation in each
city. On one side of a major city divide would be the Protestants. On the other,
the Catholics. It would stay that way for a long time.
1529 a meeting between the Catholic Church and the representatives of the
1. The Church will stop its persecution when you ( The protestants) pay back all
that we have lost). The protestants said “we protest.” Thus the word protestant.
2. So nothing was solved and the wars resumed.
3. 1555 a truce was formed that did not solve anything, but gave a little rest
to the ongoing battles. This was called the Peace of Augsburg. The questioned
brought up were “Who decides what religion one should follow. How should people
4. Meanwhile in Switzerland the Protestants started to read the Bible.
5. South of Germany in the Alps the inhabitants were German, French, and
Italian. The Germans brought the Lutheran creed of reading the Bible for
France Wars of Religion
10% of the people adopted Calvinism in France; Mostly the middle classes. They
called themselves the Huguenots. The Huguenots were not presents and were not
nobles. They remained Catholic. In this small number the French society was
alarmed that they were going to split up. Then some nobles changed and went with
the Huguenots. The result of the alarm sent the Church to order and carryout
massacres of the Huguenots. France at the time was Catholic to the core. The
ones who were not had to endure the Spanish Inquisition and be tortured and
murdered. This caused many history books to record the false religions of the
progressive thinkers of the age ( like Nostradamus). You had to be vary careful
not to let your king or queens representative know what your true feelings were.
There were wars all over France because of this split as the end of the century
set. These wars went on to the kings death. When the throne was left open,
people were worried that a Huguenot may take it. A royal named Henry of Navarre
who had a good personality, good education, and a good record was in line to be
made king. There was one little-itty-bitty problem. He was a Huguenot. The
French majority spoke and said “No Huguenots as kings.” So Henry reconverted to
Catholicism and made himself assessable to his people. Although he converted he
played with both Huguenot and Catholic ideas in his reign. He used a
proclamation called the Edict of Nantes (1596).
i. No religious attacks on either side.
ii. Huguenots cannot proselytize.
iii. Catholics are told to leave the Huguenots alone.
iv. Huguenots are still the minority and thus it was decreed they could maintain
their own militias, for the sake of protection.
v. Huguenots rights were protected under a law now; so were the Catholics.
vi. Wars ceased from here on, until one main mother of all religious wars will
take place in the future.
Copyright © 2004 Michael Johnathan McDonald. Book of Life. All rights reserved.