• The Indulgence Controversy

    Pages: 8

    This 8 page paper discusses the reasons Martin Luther posted his Disputation of Doctor Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences. His 95 Theses concerned this very specific issue. This paper reports Luther's objections to this practice, how the practice came about, its purpose, the use of papal power, and the indulgence vendor that was the catalyst for Luther's Disputation, which was an invitation to discuss the theses he posted. The paper reports the Church's rationale for indulgences and their alleged source of authority in initiating indulgences. Bibliography lists 8 sources.

    File: MM12_PGindul95.rtf

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    Power and Efficacy of Indulgences (Spaeth et al. 15). This is the document that incorporated Luthers now-famous 95 Theses. The title word disputation was actually an invitation to anyone at  the university to discuss and debate Luthers 95 theses about indulgences (Spaeth et al. 15). During medieval times, the church door was the usual place to post notices because it  was the one place most people visited. The topic of concern was the abuse of indulgences Luther had witnessed. The indulgence is tied directly to the Sacrament of Penance (Spaeth  et al. 17). In very early Church history, a person who had sinned was temporarily excluded from the communion of the Church (Spaeth et al. 17). To return, the Christian  had to perform specific acts of penitence, such as fasting, giving to the poor, and praying (Spaeth et al., 17). The acts of penitence became known as the satisfactions and  the severity of these acts differed depending on the gravity of the sin (Spaeth et al., 17). In fact, to help clergy determine the appropriate penance, the Church compiled a  set of rules for different sins. Once completed satisfactorily, the Christian was welcomed back into the Church community (Spaeth et al., 17). It did not take long for popes to  realize they could expand their power through indulgences (Spaeth et al., 18). For instance, special indulgences were initially given to those who volunteered to fight in the Holy War, the  Crusades and subsequently to anyone who contributed money for the cause (Spaeth et al., 18; Geiseler, 1858). Other popes used indulgences to get people to do any number of things,  like visiting the Apostles Shrines in Rome or to those who contributed money instead of making the journey (Spaeth et al., 18). The Church went further and changed the Sacrament 

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