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Why did attempts to silence Luther fail in this period (1517-21)?

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Introduction

Why did attempts to silence Luther fail in this period (1517-21)? Between the years 1517 and 1521 the actions of Martin Luther shook the foundations of the Catholic Church. The beginnings of Luther's revolt against Rome were relatively small. On the eve of All Saints' Day, 31st October 1517 Luther pinned Ninety-five Theses against the sale of indulgences to the door of the main church in Wittenberg, the capital of electoral Saxony. The theses were in Latin and were mainly intended to be a contribution to the academic debate on the subject. The fact that they were pinned to a church door was in no way unusual. An action such as this was an accepted way of going public. The Ninety -five Theses appeared a few hours before the one-day in the year on which the Elector of Saxony sold indulgences to those who visited his collection of relics. At this point in time Luther was a professor at the University of Wittenberg and his particular interest was the Bible in which, he lectured since 1511. ...read more.

Middle

The Archbishop, Albert of Brandenburg, was disturbed by this threat to his plans. He was relying on the money raised from the sale of indulgences to pay off the debts he had incurred in securing the agreement of the pope to his acquisition of the Archbishopric, however it was believed that the money collected was to be used to help the rebuilding of St. Peter's cathedral in Rome. Albert felt greatly threatened by Luther, whose ninety-five theses were rapidly translated into German, printed, and widely distributed. Those who understood theology recognised the strength of Luther's attack on the very nature of indulgences, and realising that the poor of Germany were being forced and tricked into paying money into the church, much of which went to the pope in Rome. Albert quickly worked on trying to silence Luther. He immediately went to he pope for support, the reaction of Pope Leo X was quick, it was decided that Luther should be dealt with through the structure of the Augustinian order of monks to which he belonged. In April 1518 Luther attended the triennial convention of his order and attempted to justify his actions. ...read more.

Conclusion

Eck had attempted to label Luther as a Hussite in an effort to discredit him in front of the German princes. Near the end of the debate Luther was proudly proclaiming himself to be in agreement on all-important points with his Czech predecessor who had been declared a heretic and was burned for his beliefs. After the Leipzig Disputation, Pope Leo X considered that Luther had revealed himself to be extreme. It would now be safe to proceed against him with the full force of the Church's authority. A legal document, the "bull" was sent to him informing him that he was now an outcast from the church and to make sure this was known the "Bull of Excommunication" would be read from the pulpit of every church. Luther showed his disrespect towards the pope by burning the "Bull" publicly. Attempts to silence Luther did fail as he support all over Germany, including from the Elector Frederick the Wise who Leo X did not wish to go against as he needed Frederick's support in complex political manoeuvrings. The papacy was not very popular and found it difficult to silence Luther, however after the diet of worms Luther "escaped" and went into hiding and his ideas were left. ?? ?? ?? ?? Clare Worsfold ...read more.

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