Martin Luther on Indulgences

An interesting artifact that I found in my research on Martin Luther. It is an unused Indulgence slip from 1515. It was issued by Albertus and blessed by Pope Leo X. The space several lines down was where the purchaser’s name would appear.

Indulgence

The sale of  Indulgences would move Luther to write his 95 Theses and publish them for debate in 1517. A bit about what he said concerning Indulgences in his Theses is quoted below.

31. One who bona fide buys indulgence is a rare as a bona fide penitent man, i.e. very rare indeed.

32. All those who believe themselves certain of their own salvation by means of letters of indulgence, will be eternally damned, together with their teachers.

33. We should be most carefully on our guard against those who say that the papal indulgences are an inestimable divine gift, and that a man is reconciled to God by them

34. For the grace conveyed by these indulgences relates simply to the penalties of the sacramental “satisfactions” decreed merely by man.

35. It is not in accordance with Christian doctrines to preach and teach that those who buy off souls, or purchase confessional licenses, have no need to repent of their own sins.

36. Any Christian whatsoever, who is truly repentant, enjoys plenary remission from penalty and guilt, and this is given him without letters of indulgence.

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