Feed My Lambs

After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them,
he said to Simon Peter,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
He then said to Simon Peter a second time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
He said to him the third time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time,
“Do you love me?” and he said to him,
“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,
you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted;
but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go.”
He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. 
And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”-John 21:15-19

There is a lot that are going on in today’s Gospel reading.  It may helpful to oneself in the place of St. Peter to fully understand.  You may recall that when Jesus was on trial, and according to Matthew’s Gospel Peter denied him three times.  In today’s passage Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves him.  The significance of this was not lost on Peter as John describes Peter as being in distress about this.  Peter would go on to be the head of the church on earth, and the first Pope in the Church.  This was a moment of restoration and forgiveness.  Christ goes on to tell Peter that he would suffer martyrdom.

What does this mean for us?  In Matthew 16:18 Christ calls Peter the rock and says that church will be built on him.  Just a few verses later Jesus tells Peter that he is acting contrary to the will of God.  He even denied Jesus!  How many of us have acted contrary to the will of God?  How many of us even denied him?  The bottom line in the life of Peter is about a man who was restored even though he fell from grace.  God’s mercy is greater than anything we have ever done.  Peter went on to lead the early church and feed the sheep.  We may not be priests or bishops, but we all have a gift that help to feed the flock.  Are we using it?

Image result for feed my sheep

 

Quote

“We are to love God for Himself, because of a twofold reason; nothing is more reasonable, nothing more profitable.”
-St. Bernard of Clairvaux

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Salvific Work of Christ and Human Freedom

Within the course of salvation history there have been many questions about the work of Christ and the role of the human freedom, or free will.  There has been no shortage of theories, and Church history shows that there have been many heresies from those trying find a synthesis between the two.  There seem to be two extremes when it comes to this issue:  Those who think that Christ will save us no matter what e do after coming to faith, and those who think that one must continually work to attain salvation (Pelagianism).  Saint Pope John Paul II wrote two encyclicals titled Redemptor Hominis and Redemptoris Missio that deal with this important issue.

The Pope reaffirms the teaching of Christ in John 14:6 that He is the way and the truth.  He echoes the words of God is creation where he saw the things that he created as good.  The work of Christ is expressed as an act of love, and a love that the Father had from the beginning with creation.  It was through this act of love that man was restored and made whole.  Regarding this Pope John Paul II writes, “He and he alone also satisfied that fatherhood of God and that love which man in a way rejected by breaking the first Covenant and the later covenants that God again and again offered to man” (Redemptor Hominis Para 9).  Man is unable to enter into relationship with God unless it is through Christ (Redemptoris Missio Para 5).  What Christ did for man was the greatest act of love that ever done.  It is one that our feeble minds can barely start to fathom

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            The Pope firmly establishes that it is Christ who is the only way and is the source of our salvation.  The work of Christ on the cross was an act of love that echoes back to the point of creation, and he reconciles man to himself.  How about human freedom?  The freedom of man is a source of controversy for many.  Our lives as lack meaning if we do not have love.  We were made to love and live in communion with each other.  Through His life, death, and resurrection Christ has shown us what love is.  This love changes the lives of the apostles, and they passed that on and it changed the world.  God offers this newness of life to every man, but man has the freedom to reject it.  In this regard Pope John Paul II writes, “Faith demands a free adherence on the part of man, but at the same time faith must also be offered to him” (Redemptoris Missio Para 8).  Freedom is not the ultimate end as the world teaches it to be.  Freedom is the choice to do as we ought to.

Freedom is only a gift if one knows how to use it for everything that is true good (Redemptor Hominis Para 21).  When we encounter Him that is truth we can either accept of deny what he says.  He says “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 NRSV).  Once we reach this realization Christ calls us to a higher standard of living.  We are bound to regulate of lives with this truth, and we have the freedom to do so or not (Redemptoris Missio Para 8).  Human freedom is a part of the redemption.  By his work on the cross, Christ redeems us by an act of love and we are called to love others and do what Christ commands of us.

Works Cited

John Paul II. Redemptor Hominis 1979 Web. Accessed December 20, 2017.

John Paul II. Redemptoris Missio 1990.  Web.  Accessed December 21, 2017.

The Four Marks

The Study of Ecclesiology is an interesting in that it raised a dichotomy that ripples through the very fabric of Christianity.  Ecclesiology is the branch of theology that deals with the study of the church.  What is the church?  What are its functions?  Is it visible, invisible, or both?  These are questions that are often discussed in the field, but the root of Ecclesiology is the Greek word ekklesia.  When this word is translated into our own language we get the word “church” (McMahon 1).

The church proclaims the Gospel of Christ, and spreads his message across the world to all peoples.  The church is tasked to be a beacon of hope, and all who enter through her doors are taught the ways of salvation.  Just how the church does this is the subject of debate.  The church finds its foundation from Christ in Matthew 16:18 when our savior says, “And I say unto thee:  That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Douay-Rheims).  Saint Paul calls the church the bulwark and pillar of truth in 1 Timothy 3:15.   The church is categorized by the four marks of being One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic.  These four marks, along with why the church is more Marian than Petrine in her nature will be elaborated on in this paper.

 

 

THE CHURCH IS ONE

The first mark of the church is that it is one.  One is more than a number, but conveys unity.  This unity comes from her source which is the eternal Godhead itself.  This is seen clearly in the Catechism of the Catholic Church which states, “the highest exemplar and source of this mystery is the unity, in the Trinity of Persons, of one God, the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit (Catechism 233).”  This does not mean that disagreements do not exist, but it does mean that doctrinally we have a united front.

Within the church there are many gifts and charisms that people have.  That is the beauty of unity.  One person may be good at administration, another in teaching, and yet another may be able to speak in tongues.  In this way the church has a valuable lesson for society.  Every gift that a person possesses is useful in the building up of the church.  This is another way that the church is one.  The individuals in the church come together to build each other up and proclaim the faith that was proclaimed by the apostles.  The Vatican II document titled Lumen Gentium states in Paragraph four, “He leads the church in all truth, and he makes it one fellowship and ministry, instructing and directing it through a diversity of gifts both hierarchical and charismatic, and He adorns it with His fruits ((Norman Tanner 108).”

THE CHURCH IS HOLY

The second mark of the church is that it is holy.  The church is holy based on Jesus Christ who is its founder.  This can be seen in the salutation of Saint Paul to the Corinthians where he writes, “to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints (1 Corinthians, 1:2, RSV).”  The church is sanctified, or made holy, by virtue of its call and mission.  The church is made up of sinners, who by the grace of God, carry out the great commission of teaching and baptizing.

The church is the bride of Christ, and just as a husband and wife are one flesh, so is the church holy because of the bridegroom.  This is seen in paragraph 824 of the Catechism which states, “United with Christ, the church is sanctified by him; through him and with him she becomes sanctifying (Catechism 237).”  The church acknowledges that the people within are not perfect, but are in need of God’s saving grace.  Like a loving mother, the church holds those souls closely and provides them the means of which to be saved.  The church, through its liturgy and sacraments, provides the means of grace which Christ instituted fully and perfectly.

THE CHURCH IS CATHOLIC

The third mark of the church is that it is catholic, but this means so much more than the name of the Roman Catholic Church.  The word first came into use by St. Ignatius of Antioch in the second century.  Saint Ignatius writes in his epistle to the Smyrneans, “Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church (Alexander Roberts 701).”

In using this word St. Ignatius tells his readers that the church is universal.  It is a church not just for the Jews or gentiles, but for all people.  It is for the rich, the poor, slave, or free because we are all children of God and his message is to be taught to everyone.  The church is also Catholic because the full deposit of faith, sacred scripture and sacred tradition, have been given to her.  Through these deposits she can fulfill the final command of Christ laid out in Matthew 28:19-20.

How does this relate to other ecclesial communities?  The church is also Catholic because of its structure of Bishops, Priests, and deacons.  Of course, the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, has authority.  This, or course, is a big hurdle for some Protestants.  However, this does not mean that they are not Christians and are not part of the universal church.  They are just not I full communion with the church that was established by Christ.

THE CHURCH IS APOSTOLIC

The church is apostolic because the apostles were given the authority from Christ to establish it.  The Catechism in Paragraph 857 states, “the church was built on the foundation of the Apostles, with the help of the Holy Spirit, the Church keeps and hands on the teaching, she continues to be taught, sanctified, and guided by Christ through their successors (Catholic Church 247)”.  As previously stated, the Catholic church is made up of bishops along with the Pope.  This group of men have the great honor of carrying on the teaching of the apostles.  This is known as the teaching office of the Magisterium.  Contrary to what some think, scripture is not self-interpreting and interpretation can change based on one’s presupposition.  The church is apostolic because the teaching office of the church, the Magisterium, was given the divine task to interpret scripture (Hitchcock 79).

The apostolicity of the church is seen clearly in sacred scripture.  In particular is Acts 1:24-25 which states, ““And they prayed and said, ‘Lord, you know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside, to go to his own place (New American Bible).”  Since the apostles replaced Judas it is only natural that this was meant to continue.  History shows that the apostles appointed men who would take over their ministry (LG 20).

MARIAN AND PETRINE INFLUENCE

In the four marks, we see the church’s mission, structure, and its establishment in scripture and tradition.  In addition to the four marks, the church also has Marian and Petrine charisms.  In the Petrine charism, we see the church linked with the apostles.  As a n example Pope Francis is Saint Peter’s successor, and thus the church today has the historical link to the apostles.  Each bishop can trace their ecclesial heritage to one of the twelve apostles, and history shows that there was an early understanding of Papal primacy.  This fact is often disputed with our Protestant brethren

The Marian charism is no doubt a very significant area of disagreement with other Christian churches.  As Mary was a mother to Christ, the church is a mother to the faithful.  Regarding Mary and the church the catechism states, “The faithful still strive to conquer sin and increase in holiness.  And so, they turn their eyes to Mary:  In her the Church is already all-holy (Catechism para 829).”  There are many sources in sacred scripture that allude to the Marian influence.  One such passage is John 19:26-27 “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home (NRSV).”  Our Lord was giving his mother to his John, and in the same way he gave us Mary to be our spiritual mother.  By teaching and administering the sacraments the church acts in this motherly role for her children.  Thought the Marian and Petrine charism have their place, the Marian has a larger significance.

CONCLUSION

In Ecclesiology, we study the church and its doctrines.  The four marks of the church make u the theological foundation that differentiate it from other religions.  In John 17 Christ prayed for unity, and in Christianity this is hardly the case.  We have the promise of Christ that the powers of evil will not overcome what he has established.  We should take great joy and courage in that as we participate with the church in its mission to the world.  The Catholic church can trace its lineage and doctrine to the very foundations of Christendom.  AS a result, the church is not only the body of believers as Protestants believe, but is a visible entity in which the faithful can go for comfort and guidance.

 

WORKS CITED

 

 

Catholic Church, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2 ed.  New York:  Doubleday, 2003.  Print.

 

Hitchcock, James. History of the Catholic Church: From the Apostolic Age to the Third Millennium. San Francisco:    Ignatius Press, 2012. Print.

 

McMahon, Christopher. Called Together: An Introduction to Ecclesiology. Winona, MN: Anselm Academic, 2010. Print.

 

Roberts, Alexander, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, eds. The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus. Vol. 1. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1885. Print. The Ante-Nicene Fathers.

 

Tanner, Norman ed.  Vatican II:  The Essential Texts.  New York:  Image Books, 20012.  Print.

 

 

Martin Luther and the 95 Theses

The “95 Theses” were written in 1517 by a German priest and professor of theology named Martin Luther. His revolutionary ideas served as the catalyst for the eventual breaking away from the Catholic Church and were later instrumental in forming the movement known as the Protestant Reformation. Luther wrote his radical “95 Theses” to express his growing concern with the corruption within the Church in regards to the selling of indulgences.
One of the major issues that concerned Luther pertained to the matter of church officials selling “indulgences” to the people as a means of releasing them from having to exact penitence for their sin. Indulgences were also claimed by the Church to limit the amount of time the purchaser, or their loved one, would have to spend in purgatory . “As soon as the penny jingles into the money-box, the soul flies out [of purgatory].” Luther felt that these church officials were teaching people that they could literally buy their way into the kingdom of God or buy God’s favor. To be fair, this was not the official position of the church, though it was being practiced all the up the hierarchy.  In fact, the indulgence that led to the theses being posted was being sold to build St. Peter’s Basilica.  The Pope had the power to limit or do away with penances imposed by the clergy, but he did not have the power to bring about the interior contrition that leads to salvation. Only God could do that. Indulgences are positively harmful, according to the Theses, since they induce a false assurance of peace, and cause the recipients to neglect true repentance.

Luther published his “95 Theses” fully realizing that he faced excommunication and even death for protesting the traditions and beliefs of the Catholic Church. To do so was considered heresy against God. Luther’s “95 Theses” became highly sought after by the populace and were soon translated into German for the common people to read. The printing press then enabled the wide distribution of the Theses, provoking in the people more disenchantment with the ways of the Catholic Church.

In 1521, Pope Leo X excommunicated Luther from the Catholic Church and declared him a heretic. Luther was so despised by the church that a death warrant was issued, giving anyone permission to kill him. However, Luther was given protection by Prince Frederick of Saxony, a staunch defender of Luther. Hidden in one of Frederick’s castles, Luther began producing a translation of the Bible into the German language. Ten years later it was finally completed.

It was in 1529, some 12 years after Luther had nailed his Theses to the church door, that the word “Protestant” became a popular term describing those who supported Luther’s protests against the Church. These opponents of the Church declared their allegiance to God and protested any loyalty or commitments to the emperor. Thereafter, the name “Protestant” was applied to all who argued that the Church be reformed. Luther died in 1546 with his revolutionary Theses forming the foundation for what is known today as the Protestant Reformation.

Below the Theses are listed in their entirety:

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. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent” (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.
  2. This word cannot be understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, that is, confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.
  3. Yet it does not mean solely inner repentance; such inner repentance is worthless unless it produces various outward mortification of the flesh.
  4. The penalty of sin remains as long as the hatred of self (that is, true inner repentance), namely till our entrance into the kingdom of heaven.
  5. The pope neither desires nor is able to remit any penalties except those imposed by his own authority or that of the canons.
  6. The pope cannot remit any guilt, except by declaring and showing that it has been remitted by God; or, to be sure, by remitting guilt in cases reserved to his judgment. If his right to grant remission in these cases were disregarded, the guilt would certainly remain unforgiven.
  7. God remits guilt to no one unless at the same time he humbles him in all things and makes him submissive to the vicar, the priest.
  8. The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and, according to the canons themselves, nothing should be imposed on the dying.
  9. Therefore the Holy Spirit through the pope is kind to us insofar as the pope in his decrees always makes exception of the article of death and of necessity.
  10. Those priests act ignorantly and wickedly who, in the case of the dying, reserve canonical penalties for purgatory.
  11. Those tares of changing the canonical penalty to the penalty of purgatory were evidently sown while the bishops slept (Mt 13:25).
  12. In former times canonical penalties were imposed, not after, but before absolution, as tests of true contrition.
  13. The dying are freed by death from all penalties, are already dead as far as the canon laws are concerned, and have a right to be released from them.
  14. Imperfect piety or love on the part of the dying person necessarily brings with it great fear; and the smaller the love, the greater the fear.
  15. This fear or horror is sufficient in itself, to say nothing of other things, to constitute the penalty of purgatory, since it is very near to the horror of despair.
  16. Hell, purgatory, and heaven seem to differ the same as despair, fear, and assurance of salvation.
  17. It seems as though for the souls in purgatory fear should necessarily decrease and love increase.
  18. Furthermore, it does not seem proved, either by reason or by Scripture, that souls in purgatory are outside the state of merit, that is, unable to grow in love.
  19. Nor does it seem proved that souls in purgatory, at least not all of them, are certain and assured of their own salvation, even if we ourselves may be entirely certain of it.
  20. Therefore the pope, when he uses the words “plenary remission of all penalties,” does not actually mean “all penalties,” but only those imposed by himself.
  21. Thus those indulgence preachers are in error who say that a man is absolved from every penalty and saved by papal indulgences.
  22. As a matter of fact, the pope remits to souls in purgatory no penalty which, according to canon law, they should have paid in this life.
  23. If remission of all penalties whatsoever could be granted to anyone at all, certainly it would be granted only to the most perfect, that is, to very few.
  24. For this reason most people are necessarily deceived by that indiscriminate and high-sounding promise of release from penalty.
  25. That power which the pope has in general over purgatory corresponds to the power which any bishop or curate has in a particular way in his own diocese and parish.
  26. The pope does very well when he grants remission to souls in purgatory, not by the power of the keys, which he does not have, but by way of intercession for them.
  27. They preach only human doctrines who say that as soon as the money clinks into the money chest, the soul flies out of purgatory.
  28. It is certain that when money clinks in the money chest, greed and avarice can be increased; but when the church intercedes, the result is in the hands of God alone.
  29. Who knows whether all souls in purgatory wish to be redeemed, since we have exceptions in St. Severinus and St. Paschal, as related in a legend.
  30. No one is sure of the integrity of his own contrition, much less of having received plenary remission.
  31. The man who actually buys indulgences is as rare as he who is really penitent; indeed, he is exceedingly rare.
  32. Those who believe that they can be certain of their salvation because they have indulgence letters will be eternally damned, together with their teachers.
  33. Men must especially be on guard against those who say that the pope’s pardons are that inestimable gift of God by which man is reconciled to him.
  34. For the graces of indulgences are concerned only with the penalties of sacramental satisfaction established by man.
  35. They who teach that contrition is not necessary on the part of those who intend to buy souls out of purgatory or to buy confessional privileges preach unchristian doctrine.
  36. Any truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without indulgence letters.
  37. Any true Christian, whether living or dead, participates in all the blessings of Christ and the church; and this is granted him by God, even without indulgence letters.
  38. Nevertheless, papal remission and blessing are by no means to be disregarded, for they are, as I have said (Thesis 6), the proclamation of the divine remission.
  39. It is very difficult, even for the most learned theologians, at one and the same time to commend to the people the bounty of indulgences and the need of true contrition.
  40. A Christian who is truly contrite seeks and loves to pay penalties for his sins; the bounty of indulgences, however, relaxes penalties and causes men to hate them — at least it furnishes occasion for hating them.
  41. Papal indulgences must be preached with caution, lest people erroneously think that they are preferable to other good works of love.
  42. Christians are to be taught that the pope does not intend that the buying of indulgences should in any way be compared with works of mercy.
  43. Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better deed than he who buys indulgences.
  44. Because love grows by works of love, man thereby becomes better. Man does not, however, become better by means of indulgences but is merely freed from penalties.
  45. Christians are to be taught that he who sees a needy man and passes him by, yet gives his money for indulgences, does not buy papal indulgences but God’s wrath.
  46. Christians are to be taught that, unless they have more than they need, they must reserve enough for their family needs and by no means squander it on indulgences.
  47. Christians are to be taught that they buying of indulgences is a matter of free choice, not commanded.
  48. Christians are to be taught that the pope, in granting indulgences, needs and thus desires their devout prayer more than their money.
  49. Christians are to be taught that papal indulgences are useful only if they do not put their trust in them, but very harmful if they lose their fear of God because of them.
  50. Christians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions of the indulgence preachers, he would rather that the basilica of St. Peter were burned to ashes than built up with the skin, flesh, and bones of his sheep.
  51. Christians are to be taught that the pope would and should wish to give of his own money, even though he had to sell the basilica of St. Peter, to many of those from whom certain hawkers of indulgences cajole money.
  52. It is vain to trust in salvation by indulgence letters, even though the indulgence commissary, or even the pope, were to offer his soul as security.
  53. They are the enemies of Christ and the pope who forbid altogether the preaching of the Word of God in some churches in order that indulgences may be preached in others.
  54. Injury is done to the Word of God when, in the same sermon, an equal or larger amount of time is devoted to indulgences than to the Word.
  55. It is certainly the pope’s sentiment that if indulgences, which are a very insignificant thing, are celebrated with one bell, one procession, and one ceremony, then the gospel, which is the very greatest thing, should be preached with a hundred bells, a hundred processions, a hundred ceremonies.
  56. The true treasures of the church, out of which the pope distributes indulgences, are not sufficiently discussed or known among the people of Christ.
  57. That indulgences are not temporal treasures is certainly clear, for many indulgence sellers do not distribute them freely but only gather them.
  58. Nor are they the merits of Christ and the saints, for, even without the pope, the latter always work grace for the inner man, and the cross, death, and hell for the outer man.
  59. St. Lawrence said that the poor of the church were the treasures of the church, but he spoke according to the usage of the word in his own time.
  60. Without want of consideration we say that the keys of the church, given by the merits of Christ, are that treasure.
  61. For it is clear that the pope’s power is of itself sufficient for the remission of penalties and cases reserved by himself.
  62. The true treasure of the church is the most holy gospel of the glory and grace of God.
  63. But this treasure is naturally most odious, for it makes the first to be last (Mt. 20:16).
  64. On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is naturally most acceptable, for it makes the last to be first.
  65. Therefore the treasures of the gospel are nets with which one formerly fished for men of wealth.
  66. The treasures of indulgences are nets with which one now fishes for the wealth of men.
  67. The indulgences which the demagogues acclaim as the greatest graces are actually understood to be such only insofar as they promote gain.
  68. They are nevertheless in truth the most insignificant graces when compared with the grace of God and the piety of the cross.
  69. Bishops and curates are bound to admit the commissaries of papal indulgences with all reverence.
  70. But they are much more bound to strain their eyes and ears lest these men preach their own dreams instead of what the pope has commissioned.
  71. Let him who speaks against the truth concerning papal indulgences be anathema and accursed.
  72. But let him who guards against the lust and license of the indulgence preachers be blessed.
  73. Just as the pope justly thunders against those who by any means whatever contrive harm to the sale of indulgences.
  74. Much more does he intend to thunder against those who use indulgences as a pretext to contrive harm to holy love and truth.
  75. To consider papal indulgences so great that they could absolve a man even if he had done the impossible and had violated the mother of God is madness.
  76. We say on the contrary that papal indulgences cannot remove the very least of venial sins as far as guilt is concerned.
  77. To say that even St. Peter if he were now pope, could not grant greater graces is blasphemy against St. Peter and the pope.
  78. We say on the contrary that even the present pope, or any pope whatsoever, has greater graces at his disposal, that is, the gospel, spiritual powers, gifts of healing, etc., as it is written. (1 Co 12[:28])
  79. To say that the cross emblazoned with the papal coat of arms, and set up by the indulgence preachers is equal in worth to the cross of Christ is blasphemy.
  80. The bishops, curates, and theologians who permit such talk to be spread among the people will have to answer for this.
  81. This unbridled preaching of indulgences makes it difficult even for learned men to rescue the reverence which is due the pope from slander or from the shrewd questions of the laity.
  82. Such as: “Why does not the pope empty purgatory for the sake of holy love and the dire need of the souls that are there if he redeems an infinite number of souls for the sake of miserable money with which to build a church?” The former reason would be most just; the latter is most trivial.
  83. Again, “Why are funeral and anniversary masses for the dead continued and why does he not return or permit the withdrawal of the endowments founded for them, since it is wrong to pray for the redeemed?”
  84. Again, “What is this new piety of God and the pope that for a consideration of money they permit a man who is impious and their enemy to buy out of purgatory the pious soul of a friend of God and do not rather, beca use of the need of that pious and beloved soul, free it for pure love’s sake?”
  85. Again, “Why are the penitential canons, long since abrogated and dead in actual fact and through disuse, now satisfied by the granting of indulgences as though they were still alive and in force?”
  86. Again, “Why does not the pope, whose wealth is today greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build this one basilica of St. Peter with his own money rather than with the money of poor believers?”
  87. Again, “What does the pope remit or grant to those who by perfect contrition already have a right to full remission and blessings?”
  88. Again, “What greater blessing could come to the church than if the pope were to bestow these remissions and blessings on every believer a hundred times a day, as he now does but once?”
  89. “Since the pope seeks the salvation of souls rather than money by his indulgences, why does he suspend the indulgences and pardons previously granted when they have equal efficacy?”
  90. To repress these very sharp arguments 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.
  91. If, therefore, indulgences were preached according to the spirit and intention of the pope, all these doubts would be readily resolved. Indeed, they would not exist.
  92. Away, then, with all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, “Peace, peace,” and there is no peace! (Jer 6:14)
  93. Blessed be all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, “Cross, cross,” and there is no cross!
  94. Christians should be exhorted to be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, death and hell.
  95. And thus be confident of entering into heaven through many tribulations rather than through the false security of peace (Acts 14:22).

Much more can be written about the theses, a thing will be done in future posts.  Some of the objections in the Theses are still objections today.

 

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