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History of the Catholic Church from the Renaissance to the French Revolution by Rev. James MacCaffrey

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/Diarium sive rerum urbanarum Commentarii/ (1483-1506), 1883-5.

[5] Infessura, /Diario d. Citta di Roma/, 1890.

[6] Tangl, /Das Taxwesen der papstlichen Kanzlei/, 1892. Samaran et
Mollat, /La fiscalite pontificate en France du XVe siecle/, 1905.
Kirsch, /Die papstlichen Kollektorien in Deutschland wahrend des
14 Jahr/, 1894.

[7] Lux, /Constitutionum Apostolicarum de generali beneficiorum
reservatione ab anno 1265 ad an. 1378/, etc., 1904.

[8] Cf. Gasquet, /Eve of the Reformation/, chap. ix. Janssen, op.
cit., Eng. Trans., vol. i., pp. 9-86. Leclerc, /Memoire sur la
predication au XIV. siecle/ (/Hist. Litter. de France/, tom.

[9] Helyot, /Hist. des ordres monastiques/, 8 vols., 1714-19. Henrion,
/Allgem. Geschichte der Monchsorden/, 1855.

[10] Paulus, /Welt und Ordensklerus beim Ausgange des 13 Jahrh/, etc.,

[11] Raynaldus, /Annal. an./ 1515, 1516.

[12] Published in 1524.

[13] Lucas, /Fra Girolamo Savonarola/, 1906. O'Neill, /Jerome
Savonarola/, 1898.




(a) In Germany.

Janssen, op. cit. (i., a). Pastor, op. cit. (i. a). Dollinger,
/Die Reformation/, 1846-8. Hergenrother-Kirsch, op. cit. (i., b).
Grisar, S.J., /Luther/, 3 Bde, 1911-12 (Eng. Trans. 1913-14).
Denifle-Weiss, O.P., /Luther und Luthertum in der ersten
Entwicklung/, 1906-9. Weiss, /Lutherpsychologie als Schlussel zur
Lutherlegende/, 2 auf., 1906. Hausrath, /Luthers Leben/, 2 Bde.
1904. Kostlin-Kawerau, /Martin Luther, Sein Leben und seine
schriften/, 1903. Cardauns, /Zur Geschichte der Kirchlichen Unions
--und Reformsbestrebungen von 1538-42/, 1910. Laemmer, /Monumenta
Vaticana historiam ecclesiasticam saeculi XVI. illustrantia/,
1861. Raynaldus, /Annales Ecclesiastici/, 1735 (tom. xx.-xxi.).
Armstrong, /The Emperor Charles V./, 1902. /Cambridge Modern
History/, vol. ii. (The Reformation), 1903. Kidd, /Documents
Illustrative of the Continental Reformation/, 1911. For a fairly
complete bibliography on this period of history, cf. Grisar's
/Luther/ (Eng. Trans., vol. i., xv.-xxv.; Cambridge Modern
History, ii., pp. 728-64; Hergenrother-Kirsch, Bd. iii., pp. 4-8).

The religious revolt that had been foretold by many earnest
ecclesiastics began in Germany in 1517. Its leader was Martin Luther,
the son of a miner, born at Eisleben in 1483. As a boy he attended
school at Eisenach and Magdeburg, supporting himself by singing in the
streets until a kind benefactress came to his assistance in the person
of Ursula Cotta. His father, having improved his position in the
world, determined to send the youth to study law at the University of
Erfurt, which was then one of the leading centres of Humanism on the
northern side of the Alps. But though Luther was in close touch with
some of the principal classical scholars of Germany and was by no
means an indifferent classical scholar himself, there is no evidence
of his having been influenced largely in his religious views by the
Humanist movement. He turned his attention principally to the study of
philosophy, and having received his degree in 1505, he began to
lecture on the physics and ethics of Aristotle.

Suddenly, to the surprise of his friends, and the no small vexation of
his father the young Luther, who had not been particularly remarkable
for his religious fervour, abandoned his career at the university and
entered the novitiate of the Augustinian monastery at Erfurt (July
1505). The motives which induced him to take this unexpected step are
not clear. Some say he was led to do so by the sudden death of a
student friend, others that it was in fulfilment of a vow which he had
made during a frightful thunderstorm that overtook him on a journey
from his father's house to Erfurt, while he himself tells us that he
became a monk because he had lost confidence in himself.[1] Of his
life as a student very little is known for certain. Probably he was no
worse and no better than his companions in a university city, which
was described by himself in later life as a "beerhouse" and a "nest of

The sudden change from the freedom and excitement of the university to
the silence and monotony of the cloister had a depressing influence on
a man like Luther, who, being of a nervous, highly-strung temperament,
was inclined to pass quickly from one extreme to another. He began to
be gloomy and scrupulous, and was driven at times almost to despair of
his salvation; but Staupitz, the superior of the province, endeavoured
to console him by impressing on him the necessity of putting his trust
entirely in the merits of Christ. Yet in spite of his scruples
Luther's life as a novice was a happy one. He was assiduous in the
performance of his duties, attentive to the instruction of his
superiors, and especially anxious to acquire a close acquaintance with
the Sacred Scriptures, the reading and study of which were strongly
recommended to all novices in the Augustinian order at this period.[3]
In 1506 he was allowed to make his vows, and in the following year he
was ordained priest. During the celebration of his first Mass he was
so overcome by a sense of his own unworthiness to offer up such a pure
sacrifice that he would have fled from the altar before beginning the
canon had it not been for his assistants, and throughout the ceremony
he was troubled lest he should commit a mortal sin by the slightest
neglect of the rubrics. At the breakfast that followed, to which
Luther's relatives had been invited, father and son met for the first
time since Luther entered the monastery. While the young priest waxed
eloquent about the happiness of his vocation and about the storm from
heaven that helped him to understand himself, his father, who had kept
silent throughout the repast, unable to restrain himself any longer
interrupted suddenly with the remark that possibly he was deceived,
and that what he took to be from God might have been the work of the
devil. "I sit here," he continued, "eating and drinking but I would
much prefer to be far from this spot." Luther tried to pacify him by
reminding him of the godly character of monasticism, but the
interruption was never forgotten by Luther himself or by his friends
who heard it.

After his ordination the young monk turned his attention to theology,
but, unfortunately, the theological training given to the Augustinian
novices at this period was of the poorest and most meagre kind.[4] He
studied little if anything of the works of the early Fathers, and
never learned to appreciate Scholasticism as expounded by its greatest
masters, St. Thomas or St. Bonaventure. His knowledge of Scholastic
Theology was derived mainly from the works of the rebel friar William
of Occam, who, in his own time, was at constant war with the Popes,
and who, during the greater part of his life, if not at the moment of
his death, was under sentence of excommunication from the Church. The
writings of such a man, betraying as they did an almost complete
unacquaintance with the Scriptures and exaggerating men's natural
powers to the undervaluing or partial exclusion of Grace, exercised a
baneful influence on a man of Luther's tastes and temperaments.
Accepted by Luther as characteristic of Scholastic Theology, such
writings prejudiced him against the entire system. Acting on the
advice of the provincial, Staupitz, he gave himself up with great zeal
to the study of the Bible, and later on he turned his attention to the
works of St. Augustine, particularly the works written in defence of
the Catholic doctrine on Grace against the Pelagians. In 1508 he went
to the university of Wittenberg, founded recently by Frederick of
Saxony, to lecture on Logic and Ethics, and to continue his
theological studies; but for some reason, as yet unexplained, he was
recalled suddenly to his monastery at Erfurt, where he acquired fame
rapidly as a lecturer and preacher.

Thirty foundations of the Augustinians in Saxony had accepted the
reform begun by Andrew Proles in the fifteenth century, and had
separated themselves definitely from the unreformed houses of the
order in Germany. They were subject immediately to the general of the
order, whose vicar at this time in Saxony was the well-known Humanist,
Staupitz.[5] The latter was anxious to bring about a reunion between
the two parties and to have himself appointed as superior; but the
party who stood for the strict observance were opposed bitterly to
such a step, and determined to send a representative to Rome to plead
their cause. The fact that they selected so young a man as Luther to
champion their interests is a sufficient proof of the position which
he had won for himself amongst his religious brethren. He was looked
up to already as an ornament of the order, and his selection for this
highly important mission served to increase the over-weening pride and
self-confidence that had manifested themselves already as weak spots
in his character. Accompanied by a companion of his order he started
on his long journey across the Alps. As he reached the heights of
Monte Mario and surveyed the Popes he fell on his knees, according to
the custom of the pilgrims, and hailed "the city thrice sanctified by
the blood of martyrs." He had looked forward with pleasure to a stay
in Rome, where he might have an opportunity of setting his scruples to
rest by a general confession of his sins, but, unfortunately, his
brother Augustinians in Rome and those with whom he came most in
contact seemed to have been more anxious to regale him with stories
about the real or imaginary scandals of the city than to give him
spiritual consolation or advice. Yet in later life, when he had
definitely separated from the Church and when he was most anxious to
blacken the character of Rome and the Popes, it is remarkable that he
could point to very little detrimental to them of which he had
personal knowledge, and was forced to rely solely on what had been
told him by others. Nor did he leave Rome as a declared enemy of the
Papacy, for even so late as 1516 he defended warmly the supremacy of
the Pope as the one safeguard for the unity of the Church.[6] Many of
his biographers, indeed, assert that, as he stood by the /Scala
Sancta/ and witnessed the pilgrims ascending on their bare knees, he
turned aside disgusted with the sight and repeated the words of St.
Paul, "the just man lives by his faith"; but such a statement, due
entirely to the imagination of his relatives and admirers is rejected
as a legend by those best qualified to judge.[7] The threatened union
of the strict and unreformed that had occasioned Luther's journey to
Rome was abandoned; but it is worthy of note that Staupitz had
succeeded in detaching him from his former friends, and that he
returned to Germany a convinced and violent opponent of the party of
strict observance, who had sent him to Rome as their representative.
During his stay in the city there is good reason for believing that on
his own behalf he sought for permission to lay aside his monastic
habit and to devote himself for ten years to study in Italy, but his
request was refused on the ground that it was not supported by the
authority of his superiors. This petition was probably the foundation
for the rumours that were circulated in Germany by his opponents that
while in Rome he endeavoured to have himself "secularised" and to
obtain a dispensation to marry.

On his return to Germany he devoted himself once more to the study of
theology in preparation for the doctorate which he won at Wittenberg
in 1512. Almost immediately he was appointed professor at the
university and undertook to lecture on the Psalms. His eloquence and
his imagination, his retentive memory enabling him to illustrate his
texts by parallel passages drawn from the books of the Old Testament,
and in a certain way his exaggerations, his strength of diction, and
his asperity of language towards all with whose views he did not find
himself in agreement, made his lectures most popular at the
university, and filled his hall with an eager and attentive audience.
Amongst the students Luther had no rival, and even the few professors
who were inclined to resent his methods and his views were captivated
by the magic influence of their brilliant young colleague. The
Augustinians, mindful of the honour he was achieving for their order,
hastened to appoint him to the important position of district vicar
(1515), while the Elector Frederick could not conceal his delight at
having secured the services of so capable a professor for the new

At Wittenberg Luther felt himself completely at home. He was proud of
the distinctions conferred upon him by his brethren, and of the
influence accorded to him by his companions in the university. Great
as were his industry and his powers of application, yet they were put
to the most severe tests to enable him to complete the programme he
had set himself to accomplish. His lectures at the university, his
sermons preached in the Augustinian church, his visitations of the
houses of his order in the district over which he was vicar, his
correspondence, partly routine and partly entailed by his close
relations with some of the leading men in Germany, occupied all his
time even to the exclusion of the spiritual exercises enjoined by his
rule. Very frequently he neglected to celebrate Mass or even to read
the divine office, and then alarmed by his negligence and guilt he had
recourse to extraordinary forms of penance. Fits of laxity were
followed by fits of scrupulousness until at last he was driven at
times almost to despair. It was then that he called to mind the
consoling advice given to him by his superior that he should put his
trust in the merits of Christ, and the teaching of St. Augustine on
the frailty of human nature unless it was aided and supported by
divine Grace. He began to develop the idea that justification could
not be acquired by good works, that concupiscence could not be
overcome, and that consequently man could be justified only by the
imputation of the merits of Christ. Years before, views such as these
had been passing through his mind, as may be seen in his sermons
against the Augustinians of the strict observance, but they found
adequate expression only in his commentaries on the Epistles of St.
Paul to the Romans and to the Galatians (1515-6). Still, as yet, he
held strongly to the principle of authority in matters of religion,
and inveighed against heretics who would dare to set aside the
authority of the Pope in order to follow their own judgment. In
reality, however, his own teaching on merit and justification was no
longer in harmony with Catholic doctrine, and only a slight occasion
was required to bring him into open and definite conflict with the
authorities of the Church.

This occasion was provided by the preaching in Germany of an
Indulgence proclaimed by Leo X. (1513-21). The building of St. Peter's
had been begun by Julius II. and was continued by his successor Leo
X., the son of Lorenzo de' Medici, and the great patron of the
Humanist movement. In order to provide funds to enable him to continue
this gigantic undertaking Leo X. proclaimed an Indulgence. In addition
to Confession and Holy Communion it was ordered that those of the
faithful who wished to share in the spiritual favours granted by the
Pope should contribute according to their means for the completion of
St. Peter's, or that they should pray for the success of the work in
case poverty did not permit them to give alms. The publication of the
Indulgence in a great part of Germany was entrusted to Albrecht of
Brandenberg, who had been elected Archbishop of Mainz though he was
already Archbishop of Magdeburg and Administrator of Halberstadt. The
fees to be paid by an archbishop appointed to Mainz were exceptionally
high not to speak of the large sum required for the extraordinary
favour of being allowed to hold two archbishoprics. As a means of
enabling Albrecht to raise the required amount, it was proposed by an
official of the Datary that he should be allowed to retain half of the
contributions given on the occasion of the publication of the
Indulgence in the provinces of Mainz and Magdeburg, and in the lands
of the House of Brandenburg.

To publish the Indulgence in the above-mentioned territories Albrecht
appointed the Dominican John Tetzel,[8] who had acquired already
considerable renown as a preacher. Tetzel was a man of solid education
and of good moral standing, whose reputation as a successful popular
preacher stood high in Germany at this period. Many grave abuses have
been alleged against him by his enemies concerning his manner of
carrying out the office entrusted to him by the archbishop, and in
regard to his own private life serious crimes have been laid to his
charge; but as a matter of history it is now admitted that Tetzel was
a much maligned man, that his own conduct can bear the fullest
scrutiny, and that in his preaching the worst that can be said against
him is that he put forward as certainties, especially in regard to
gaining indulgences for the souls of the faithful departed, what were
merely the opinions of certain schools of theologians. Nor is it true
to say that as the result of his activity vast sums of money made
their way into the papal treasury. The accounts of the monies received
during the greater portion of the time are now available, and it can
be seen that when all expenses were paid comparatively little remained
for either the Archbishop of Mainz or the building fund of St.

Tetzel preached with considerable success in Halberstadt, Magdeburg
and Leipzig, and in May 1517 he found himself in the neighbourhood of
Wittenberg, whence many people flocked to see him, and to gain the
Indulgence. This was not calculated to please Luther or his patron the
Elector, Frederick of Saxony, and provided Luther with an occasion of
giving vent to his own views on good works, Grace, and Justification.
Years before, both in his sermons attacking the Augustinians of the
strict observance for their over confidence in the merits of good
works and penance, and in his commentaries on the Epistles of St. Paul
to the Romans and to the Galatians, he had indicated already that his
views on man's power to do anything good, and on the means and nature
of justification differed widely from those put forward by Catholic
theologians. At last, after careful consideration, following the bent
of his own inclination and the advice of his friends, he determined to
take the field openly by publishing, on the eve of the festival of All
Saints, 1517, his celebrated seventy theses against Indulgences.[10]
This document was drawn up with great skill and foresight. Some of the
theses were perfectly orthodox and professed great reverence for the
teaching of the Church and the authority of the Pope; others of them
were open to an orthodox as well as to an unorthodox interpretation;
others, still, were opposed clearly and definitely to Catholic
doctrine, and all of them were put forward in a way that was likely to
arrest public attention and to win the support of the masses.[11] They
were affixed to the doors of the university church in Wittenberg, and
copies of them were spread broadcast through Germany. Before a week
had elapsed they were discussed with eagerness in all parts of the
country, and the state of feeling became so intense that Tetzel was
obliged to discontinue his mission, and to retire to Frankfurt, where
under the direction of Wimpina, he set himself to draw up a number of
counter theses which he offered to defend.

The circumstances of the time were very favourable to a campaign such
as Luther had initiated. The princes of Germany and even some of the
bishops made no secret of their opinion that indulgences had been
abused, and many of them were anything but displeased at the step that
had been taken by the Wittenberg professor. The old opposition between
the Teuton and the Latin was growing daily more marked owing to the
violent and abusive language of men like Ulrich von Hutten, who posed
as German patriots; while the Humanist party, roused by the attacks
made upon Reuchlin by the Dominicans of Cologne, backed by the
Scholastic Theologians, were not sorry to see their opponents
challenged in their own special department, and obliged to act on the
defensive. The knights or lower nobles, too, who had been deprived of
many of their privileges by the princes, were ready for any scheme of
violence in the hope that it might conduce to their advantage; and the
lower classes ground down for centuries were beginning to realise
their own strength, partly owing to the spread of secret societies,
and were willing to lend a ready ear to a leader who had given
expression to views that were coursing already through their minds.

From all parts of Germany letters of congratulation poured in upon
Luther. Many of these came from men who had no desire for a religious
change, but who thought that Luther's campaign was directed only
against abuses in the Church. From the Humanists, from several of the
professors and students of Wittenberg, and even from the superiors of
his order he received unstinted praise and encouragement. At least one
of the bishops, Lorenz von Bibra of Wurzburg, hastened to intercede
for him with Frederick the Elector of Saxony, while none of the others
took up an attitude of unflinching opposition. Tetzel, who had been
forced to abandon his work of preaching, defended publicly at
Frankfurt on the Maine a number of counter theses formulated by Conrad
Wimpina. To this attack Luther replied in a sermon on indulgences in
which he aimed at expressing in a popular style the kernel of the
doctrine contained in his theses. Sylvester Prierias, the master of
the Sacred Palace in Rome, to whom Luther's theses had been forwarded
for examination, published a sharp attack upon them,[12] and was
answered in Luther's most abusive style. The most distinguished,
however, of the men who took the field against him was John Eck,[13]
Professor of Theology and Vice-Chancellor of the University of
Ingolstadt. He was a man well versed in the Scriptures and in the
writings of the Fathers, a ready speaker and an incisive writer, in
every way qualified to meet such a versatile opponent. While on a
visit with the Bishop of Eichstatt he was consulted about Luther's
theses, and gave his opinion in the /Obelisks/ on the dangerous
character of the teaching they contained. The /Obelisks/ was prepared
hastily and was not intended for publication, but it was regarded as
so important that copies of it were circulated freely even before it
was given to the world. Luther replied in the /Asterisks/, a work full
of personal invective and abuse. A Dominican of Cologne, Hochstraten,
also entered the lists against Luther, but his intervention did more
harm than good to the cause of the Church by alienating the Humanist
party whom he assailed fiercely as allies and abettors of Luther.
These attacks, however, served only to give notoriety to Luther's
views and to win for him the sympathy of his friends. His opponents
made one great mistake. Their works were intended in great part only
for the learned, while Luther aimed principally at appealing to the
masses of the people. The Augustinians represented him as the victim
of a Dominican conspiracy, and to show their high appreciation of his
services they selected him to conduct the theological disputation at a
chapter meeting held at Leipzig six months after the publication of
his theses (1518). At this same meeting Luther defended the view that
free will in man and all power of doing good were destroyed by
original sin, and that everything meritorious accomplished by man is
really done by God. His old opponent at the university, Bodenstein
(surnamed Carlstadt from his place of birth), declared himself openly
in favour of Luther's teaching on free will, and published a reply to

As a result of this controversy between Eck and Carlstadt it was
arranged that a public disputation should be held at Leipzig (27 June-
15 July, 1519). The Catholic teaching was to be defended by Eck
against his two opponents, Luther and Carlstadt. A hall in the castle
of Pleissenburg was placed at the disposal of the disputants by Duke
George of Saxony, who was a convinced Catholic himself, and who
believed that the disputation might be the means of removing many
doubts and misunderstandings. The acts of the disputation were to be
drawn up and forwarded to the Universities of Paris and Erfurt for
their decision. When it became known throughout Germany that a meeting
had been arranged between Eck and his two principal opponents, the
excitement, especially in the learned circles, became intense, and so
great was the rush of scholars from all parts of the country to
witness the encounter, that the immense hall was packed with an eager
and attentive audience when Eck and Carlstadt entered the pulpits that
had been prepared for them.

Few men in Germany, or outside it, were more fitted to hold their own
in such a disputation than the distinguished Vice-Chancellor of
Ingolstadt. He was a man of imposing appearance, gifted with a clear
and pleasing voice and good memory, even tempered and ready, quick to
detect the weak points of his adversaries, and keenly alert to their
damaging concessions and admissions. The first point to be debated
between him and Carlstadt was the question of Grace and Free Will.
Carlstadt was at last obliged to concede that the human will was
active at least to the extent of co-operating or of not co-operating
with divine Grace, a concession that was opposed entirely to the
thesis he had undertaken to sustain. Luther, alarmed by the
discomfiture of his colleague, determined to enter the lists at once
on the question of the primacy of the Roman See. He was not, however,
more successful than Carlstadt. Eck, taking advantage of Luther's
irascible temperament and his exaggerations of speech, forced him step
by step to put aside as worthless interpretations given by the early
Fathers to certain passages of Scripture, and to reject the authority
and infallibility of General Councils. Such a line of arguments,
opposed as it was to the teaching and beliefs of the Church, roused
the opposition of the audience, and served to open the eyes of Duke
George to the real nature of Luther's movement. Annoyed by his own
defeat and by the attentions and applause lavished upon his rival by
the people of Leipzig, Luther left the city in disgust. The
disputation undoubtedly did good in so far as it made clear to all the
position of the two parties, and succeeded in holding Duke George of
Saxony and the city of Leipzig loyal to the Church; but it also did
much harm by giving Luther the notoriety that he was so anxious to
obtain, and by winning to his side Philip Melanchthon, who was
destined to be in after life his ablest lieutenant. Both sides, as is
usual in such contests, claimed the victory. The Universities of
Cologne and Louvain condemned Luther immediately, as did also Paris in
1521, but as far as can be known Erfurt pronounced no decision on the
questions submitted.

Meanwhile what was the attitude of the authorities in Rome towards
Luther's movement. Leo X., having learned something of the turmoil
created in Germany by Luther's theses and sermons, requested the
vicar-general of the Augustinians to induce his rebellious subject to
recall his teaching, or, at least, to keep silent. The vicar wrote to
the principal, Staupitz, but, as the latter was one of those who had
encouraged Luther to take the steps he had taken, very little was done
to secure peace. Luther was, however, induced to write a most
submissive letter to the Pope in which he begged for an investigation,
pledging himself at the same time to accept the decision of Leo X. as
the decision of Christ (30th May, 1518).[14] Not satisfied with the
course of events, and alarmed by the reports forwarded to him from
Germany, the Pope appointed a commission to examine the whole
question, the result of which commission was that Luther was summoned
to submit at once or to appear at Rome to defend himself within sixty

He and his friends were thrown into a state of great alarm by this
unexpected step. On the one hand, were he to submit and to acknowledge
that he had been in error his reputation would be shattered, the
Augustinians would feel themselves disgraced, and the University of
Wittenberg would lose caste in the estimation of educated Germans. On
the other hand, if he adopted the bold policy of refusing to yield to
the papal entreaties he was in danger of being denounced publicly as a
heretic. In this difficult situation his friends determined to invoke
the protection of the Elector Frederick of Saxony, the founder and
patron of Wittenberg University. Alarmed by the danger that threatened
this institution from the removal or excommunication of one of its
most popular professors, and anxious to gain time, Frederick requested
the Pope to refer the matter for decision to some German bishop or to
a neutral university. In reply to this request Leo X. appointed
Cardinal Cajetan, papal legate in Germany, to hold an inquiry (23
Aug., 1518). Luther, having armed himself with a safe conduct, went to
Augsburg to meet the papal representative, who received him very
kindly, and exhorted him to withdraw his statements and submit. Luther
endeavoured to induce the cardinal to enter into a discussion on the
questions in dispute, but the latter did not allow himself to be drawn
into a disputation. Finally, Luther refused to submit, though, at the
same time, he declared solemnly that he wished unsaid and unwritten
what he had said or written against the Roman Church. A few days later
he fled from Augsburg after having drawn up a formal appeal "from the
Pope ill-informed to the Pope well-informed," while the cardinal,
disappointed by the failure of his efforts, turned to the Elector of
Saxony for help against the rebellious monk. But the latter, deceived
by the recommendations forwarded on Luther's behalf by his own
superior, Staupitz, yielded to the entreaties of Spalatin, the court
chaplain, and of the professors of Wittenberg, and declined to take
any steps to compel Luther to submit. Fearful, however, lest his
patron might not be able to shield him from the censures of Rome,
Luther determined to anticipate the expected condemnation by issuing
an appeal to a future General Council (28 Nov., 1518).

In the meantime Leo X. who had learned from his representative the
result of the Augsburg interviews, issued the Bull, /Cum postquam/ (9
Nov., 1518), in which he explained authoritatively the Catholic
doctrine on Indulgences, and threatened excommunication against all
who refused to accept it. This document was deprived of much of its
effect owing to the misrepresentations of Luther and his friends, who
announced that it owed its origin to the schemes and intrigues of
their Dominican opponents at Rome and in Germany. The occasion called
for speedy and decisive action. But the impending imperial election,
in which Charles I. of Spain (1516-56) and Francis I. of France (1515-
47) were to be rival candidates, made it necessary for the Pope to
proceed cautiously, and above all, to do nothing that might antagonise
the Elector of Saxony, whose influence would be of the greatest
importance in deciding the votes of the electoral college, if, indeed,
it did not secure his own election. Had the appointment of a successor
to Maximilian I. rested with Leo X. it can hardly be doubted that, in
the hope of preserving the balance of power and of securing the
freedom of the Holy See, he would have favoured the claims of the
Elector against either or both the rival monarchs.[15]

In these circumstances it was decided to send Karl von Miltitz,[16]
who was by birth a Saxon nobleman and at that period a chamberlain at
the Papal Court, to present Frederick with the Golden Rose, and to
bring about a peaceful settlement of a controversy that had been
disturbing the whole Empire. The selection of Miltitz for such a
delicate mission was most unfortunate. Proud, obstinate, and ill-
informed about the real issues at stake, he was anxious to have the
glory of putting an end to the controversy at all costs, and hence he
was willing to appear before Luther as a humble suitor for peace
rather than as a stern judge. All his severity and reproaches were
reserved for Luther's opponents, especially for Tetzel, whom he held
primarily responsible for the whole mischief, and towards whom he
acted both imprudently and unjustly. The Elector showed himself but
little inclined to respond to the advances of Leo X. He consented,
however, to arrange an interview between Miltitz and Luther at
Altenburg (Jan. 1519). During the course of the interviews that took
place between them, Luther pledged himself to remain silent if his
opponents were forced to do likewise. He promised, too, that if
Miltitz wrote advising the Pope to appoint a German bishop to try the
case and to convince him of his error he would be willing to retract
his theses, to submit to the Church, and to advise all his supporters
to remain loyal to the Holy See. At the same time he prepared a letter
for transmission to Rome, in which he addressed the Pope in the most
respectful terms, declaring as on oath before God and creatures that
it never entered into his mind to attack in any way the authority of
the Roman Church or of the Pope, that he confessed willingly that in
this Church was vested supreme jurisdiction, and that neither in
heaven or on earth was there anything he should put before it except
Jesus Christ the Lord of all things.[17] Throughout these proceedings
it is clear that Luther meant only to deceive Miltitz and to lull the
suspicions of the Roman authorities, until the seed he had planted
should have taken root. Only a short time before he had written to a
friend, hinting that the Pope was the real Anti-Christ mentioned by
St. Paul in the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, and asserting his
ability to prove that he who ruled at the Roman Court was worse than
the Turk.[18]

Several months passed and no further steps were taken by Rome to meet
the crisis. This delay was due in great measure to the death of
Maximilian I. (1519), and to the sharp contest that ensued. The two
strongest candidates were Charles I., King of Spain, who as son of
Philip the Handsome (son of Maximilian), and of Joanna of Castile
(daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella), was ruler of Spain, the
Netherlands, Austria, and Naples, and Francis I., King of France. For
centuries the Pope had striven to prevent the union of Naples and the
Empire, and with good reason, for such a union must prove almost of
necessity highly detrimental to the safety of the Papal States and the
independence of the Holy See. For this reason, if for no other, Leo X.
did not favour the candidature of Charles. Nor could he induce himself
to display any enthusiasm for the cause of Francis I., whose
intervention in Italian affairs the Pope had good grounds to dread. As
against the two the Pope endeavoured to induce the princes to elect
one of their own number, preferably the Elector of Saxony. But the
Elector showed no anxiety to accept such a responsible office, and in
the end Charles succeeded in winning over to his side the majority of
the princes. He was elected and proclaimed Emperor under the title of
Charles V. (1519).

While Rome remained inactive, and while the opponents of Luther in
Germany were handicapped by the crude diplomacy of Miltitz, Luther was
gaining ground with marvellous rapidity. His success was due partly to
his own great personal gifts as a popular demagogue, and partly also
to the fact that no man knew better than he how to make capital out of
the ecclesiastical abuses of the time, and to win to his side all who
had any reason to be discontented with the existing order. He was
strengthened very much by the inactivity of the German bishops, who
seemed unwilling to take any severe measures against him, by the help
and encouragement of Frederick of Saxony, who, during the interregnum
and for some time after the election of Charles V. was the real
administrator of Germany, by his union with the leading Humanist
scholars and professors, especially Erasmus, all of whom regarded
Luther merely as the champion of liberty against the obscurantism of
the Scholastics, and by his secret alliances with discontented nobles,
such as Ulrich von Hutten and Franz von Sickingen, whose sole hope of
improving their fortunes lay in the creation of public disorder.

Johann Eck, Luther's chief opponent, realising that there was no hope
of stirring up the German authorities to take action, hastened to Rome
to impress upon the Pope and his advisers the extreme gravity of the
situation, and to urge them to proceed against the revolt with all
possible energy and despatch. Luther himself recognised clearly enough
that the crisis he had long foreseen was at hand, and he began to
prepare men's minds for complete rupture with the Church by his sermon
on excommunication in which he bade defiance to the ecclesiastical
authorities. He threw himself with renewed energy into the fray,
turning out volume after volume with feverish rapidity, each more
violent and abusive than its predecessor, and nearly all couched in
language that was as intelligible to the peasant as it was to the
professor. In his /Address to the Nobles of Germany/, in his works /On
the Mass/, /On the Improvement of Christian Morality/, and /On the
Babylonian Captivity/, he proclaimed himself a political as well as a
religious revolutionary. There was no longer any concealment or
equivocation. The veil was lifted at last, and Luther stood forth to
the world as the declared enemy of the Church and the Pope, the
champion of the Bible as the sole rule of faith, and the defender of
individual judgment as its only interpreter. In these works he
rejected the Mass, Transubstantiation, vows of chastity, pilgrimages,
fasts, the Sacraments, the powers of the priesthood, and the
jurisdiction and supremacy of the Pope. With such a man there could be
no longer any question of leniency or of compromise. The issues at
stake, namely, whether the wild and impassioned assertions of a rebel
monk should be accepted in preference to the teaching of Christ's
Church, ought to have been apparent to every thinking man; and yet so
blinded were some of his contemporaries by their sympathy with the
Humanists as against the Theologians, that even still they forced
themselves to believe Luther sought only for reform.

At Rome the trouble in Germany was one of the main subjects that
engaged the attention of the Curia. It was felt that the time had come
when decisive measures must be taken. After long and anxious
deliberations Leo X. published the Bull, /Exsurge Domine/ (June 1520),
in which forty propositions taken from Luther's writings were
condemned, his works were ordered to be burned, the full penalties of
excommunication were proclaimed against him unless he withdrew his
errors and made his submission within sixty days, while his aiders and
abettors were besought in the most touching terms to abandon the
dangerous path into which they had been betrayed. Had such a
pronouncement been issued at the beginning of the movement it might
have done much to restore peace to the Church, but, coming as it did
at a time when Luther's movement, backed by all the revolutionary
forces of Germany, had already acquired considerable dimensions, it
failed to put an end to the tumult. Besides, the papal decision was
deprived of much of its force by the fact that Eck, Caraccioli, and
Aleandro were appointed as a commission to superintend its execution.
The appointment of Eck was a great tactical blunder, as it afforded
Luther and his friends an opportunity of proclaiming that the sentence
of excommunication was procured by the intrigues and
misrepresentations of their personal enemies; while the fact that the
German bishops were disregarded in the execution of the Bull as if
they were not above suspicion themselves, was looked upon by many as
a studied insult to the entire German hierarchy. Even though Luther
had entertained any thoughts of submission, the triumph of Eck would
have created very serious obstacles; but, knowing as he did, that even
at the worst he could reckon upon the support of a certain number of
the discontented nobles who had pledged themselves to put their swords
at his disposal, he had no intention of making his submission.

The reception accorded to the papal document varied according to the
views of the local authorities and the state of public feeling in the
different cities and provinces. Thus, while its publication was
welcomed in Cologne, Mainz, Halberstadt, and Freising, it was received
with very mixed feelings at Leipzig and at Erfurt. Frederick of
Saxony, to whom Leo X. had addressed a personal appeal, refused to
abandon Luther's cause unless it were proved from the Scriptures that
he was wrong. He did, indeed, suggest that Luther should write a
respectful letter to the Pope, but his suggestion passed unheeded. At
first Luther pretended that the Bull was a forgery brought forward by
Eck to discredit him, but when this line of defence proved useless, he
boldly attacked the papal pronouncement in his pamphlet, /Against the
Bull of Anti-Christ/, in which he denounced Leo X. as a heretic and
apostate, an enemy of the Holy Scriptures, a tyrant, and a
calumniator. Lest, however, the courage of his supporters might be
overcome by the terrors of excommunication, he issued an appeal from
the sentence of the Pope to the judgment of a future General Council.
Finally, on the 10th December, 1520, in the presence of an immense
concourse of the citizens and students of Wittenberg, he burned
publicly the papal Bull and the writings of his political opponents.
On this occasion he proclaimed his intention of overthrowing the
ecclesiastical organisation, and of introducing a new theological
system. For the future it was to be war to the knife against the Pope
and the Church, and he called upon German patriots and all true
friends of personal liberty to take their stand by his side in the
conflict that had been begun.

Charles V. was apparently in a very strong position. Not since the
days of Charlemagne had any ruler claimed jurisdiction over so wide a
territory as his, comprising, as it did, Germany and Austria, the
kingdom of the two Sicilies, Spain, and the Netherlands. But in
reality the very extent of his dominions made him much less powerful
than he might have been as the sovereign of a smaller but more compact
region. It served to awaken the suspicions of his subjects, who feared
that he might abolish their distinctive national constitutions and
weld his scattered territories into one great empire, and to excite
the jealousy of the other rulers of Europe, who imagined that he might
declare himself dictator of the western world. The German princes,
having resisted successfully all the efforts made by his grandfather,
Maximilian I., to convert the loose confederation of the German States
into a united and centralised nation, were on their guard lest his
successor should attempt a similar policy with the aid of Spanish
troops and Spanish gold; the Spaniards resented the absence of the
king from Spain, where many of the lower classes were in a state
bordering on rebellion; Francis I. of France, trembling for the very
existence of his country, was willing to do all things, even to agree
to an alliance with the sons of Mohammed, if he could only lessen the
influence of his powerful rival. The Turks under Soliman I. were
determined to realise the dreams of their race by extending their
territories from the Bosphorus to the Atlantic; while even the Pope
had good reason to suspect that Charles V., unmindful of the example
of his great namesake, might seek to become the master rather than the
protector of the Church.[19]

On account of the troubles in Spain it was only late in the year 1520
that Charles V. could come to Germany to meet the electors, and to
take over formally the administration of the Empire (23 Oct.). Less
than two weeks had elapsed when the papal representative, Aleandro,
himself a distinguished Humanist, sought an interview with the new
ruler, and besought him to enforce the papal Bull against Luther with
the full weight of his imperial authority. But the wavering attitude
of many of the princes and the determined opposition of Frederick of
Saxony made the Emperor hesitate to condemn Luther without giving him
an opportunity for explanation and defence. The Diet was soon to open
at Worms, and Charles V. issued an invitation to Luther to attend,
guaranteeing at the same time his personal safety on the way to and
from Worms and during his sojourn in the city.

The Diet met in January 1521, but despite the efforts of Aleandro the
majority of the princes still failed to realise the gravity of the
situation. Feeling against Rome was running very high in Germany at
the time. Many of the princes insisted on presenting a document
embodying the grievances of Germany (/Centum Gravamina/)[20] to the
papal ambassador, while even such an orthodox supporter of the Church
as Duke George of Saxony, brought forward very serious complaints
against the clergy, accompanied by a demand that a General Council
should be summoned to restore peace to the Church. Luther,
strengthened by the safe conduct of the Emperor and by a secret
understanding with some of the princes and knights, set out from
Wittenberg for Worms, where he arrived in April 1521. On presenting
himself before the Diet he was invited to state if he were really the
author of the works published under his name, copies of which were
presented to him, and, if so, was he willing to retract the doctrines
contained in them. In reply to the former of these questions he
admitted the authorship of the volumes, but asked for time to consider
what answer he should make in regard to the latter. A day was allowed
him for consideration. When he appeared again, all traces of the
hesitation and nervousness that marked his attitude at the previous
session had disappeared. He refused to retract his opinions, and made
it clear that he no longer acknowledged the authority of the Pope or
of General Councils as a safe guide in matters religious.

Thereupon the Emperor intimated to the princes that he was determined
to take vigorous action against such a heretic and disturber of the
public peace, though at the request of some of the princes he allowed
time for private conferences between Luther and representative
Catholic theologians, notably Eck and Cochlaeus.[21] These conferences
having failed to produce any result the Emperor issued an order (25th
April) commanding Luther to depart from Worms without delay, and
forbidding him to preach to the people on his journey under pain of
forfeiting his safe conduct. A month later Charles V. published a
decree placing Luther under the ban of the Empire. He was denounced as
a public heretic whom no one should receive or support; he was to be
seized by any one who could do so, and delivered to the Emperor; his
writings were to be burned, and all persons proved guilty of
countenancing himself or his errors were liable to severe punishment.
Many hoped that the decree might put an end to the confusion, but in
reality Charles V. was powerless to enforce it, especially as the
majority of the princes were unwilling to carry out its terms in their
territories. Hence, outside the hereditary dominions of the House of
Habsburg, the lands of Joachim I. of Brandenburg and of Duke George of
Saxony, and in Bavaria, it remained a dead letter.

On the route from Worms Luther was taken prisoner by soldiers of the
Elector, Frederick of Saxony, according to arrangements that had been
made for his protection, and was brought to the castle at Wartburg
where he remained for close on a year (May 1521-March 1522) under the
assumed name of Yonker George, safe in spite of the imperial decrees.
In the silence of his retreat at Wartburg Luther had an opportunity
for reflection on the gravity of the situation that he had created. At
times he trembled, as he thought of separating himself definitely from
the great world-wide organisation which recognised the jurisdiction of
the Bishop of Rome, and of setting up his own judgment against the
faith that had been handed down for centuries, and that was supported
by the ablest scholars from the days of Clement of Rome to those of
St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure.

In his anxiety of mind he was the victim of hallucinations, believing
that the spirit of evil appeared to him in visible form, and held
commune with him in human speech. He was assailed, too, with violent
temptations of the flesh, which reduced him to a state bordering on
despair. But these moments of depression passed away, to be succeeded
by fits of wild exultation in which he rejoiced at the storm that he
had created already, and at the still greater storm he was soon to
create. He set to work with tireless energy, believing himself to be
inspired from on high as was the apostle, St. John, during his stay in
the island of Patmos. At the instigation of his friends, who urged him
to attack the celibacy of the monks and nuns, he turned his attention
to this question, and issued a work /On Monastic Vows/, in which he
declared that such vows of chastity, being opposed to the freedom of
the Gospel, were sinful and should be neglected. In his book /On the
Mass/ he assailed the Mass and the whole theory of the Christian
priesthood, declaring that every believer was in a true sense a
priest. He poured out a most violent torrent of abuse against Henry
VIII. of England, who, in his /Defence of the Seven Sacraments/, had
ventured to join issue with the German reformer. At the same time he
undertook to prepare a translation of the New Testament as a means of
advancing his propaganda. By aid of mis-translations and marginal
notes he sought to popularise his views on Faith and Justification,
and to win favour with the people by opening to them the word of God,
which he asserted falsely had been closed against them for centuries.

All his pamphlets were couched in popular language and were exactly
the kind of works likely to appeal to the masses of the people, as
well as to the debased instincts of those who had entered into the
religious state in response to the wishes of their parents or
guardians rather than in obedience to the call of God. But while
Luther thus catered for the multitude, Melanchthon sought to gain the
support of the more educated classes by throwing Luther's teaching
into scientific and systematic form in his work, /Loci Communes/
(1521), a book that remained for centuries the standard authority on
Lutheran teaching.

It would be wrong to assume that Luther developed his theological
system in its entirety before his separation from the Church. On the
question of Justification and Free-will he had arrived at views
distinctly opposed to Catholic doctrine, but his system as such took
shape only gradually in response to the attacks of his opponents or
the demands of his friends. On the one hand, imbued with the ideas of
German Pantheistic mysticism, Luther started with the fixed principle
that man's action is controlled by necessary laws, and that even after
justification man is completely devoid of free will at least in
religious matters. According to him, human nature became so
essentially maimed and corrupted by the sin of Adam that every work
which man can do is and must be sinful, because it proceeds in some
way from concupiscence. Hence it is, he asserted, that good works are
useless in acquiring justification, which can be obtained only by
faith; and by faith he understood not the mere intellectual assent to
revealed doctrines, but a practical confidence, resulting, no doubt,
from this assent, that the merits of Christ will be applied to the
soul. Through this faith the sinner seizes upon the righteousness of
Christ, and by applying to himself the justice of his Saviour his sins
are covered up. For this reason Luther explained that justification
did not mean the actual forgiveness of sin by the infusion of some
internal habit called sanctifying grace, but only the non-imputation
of the guilt on account of the merits of Christ.

Since faith alone is necessary for justification it followed as a
logical consequence that there was no place in Luther's system for the
Sacraments, though in deference to old traditions he retained three
Sacraments, Baptism, Penance, and the Eucharist. These, however, as he
took care to explain, do not produce grace in the soul. They are mere
outward pledges that the receiver has the faith without which he
cannot be justified. Having in this way rejected the sacramental
system and the sacrificial character of the Mass, it was only natural
that he should disregard the priesthood, and proclaim that all
believers were priests. In harmony with his theory on justification,
and its dependence on faith, he denounced Purgatory, Prayers for the
Dead, Indulgences, and Invocation of the Saints as being in themselves
derogatory to the merits of Christ.

On the other hand, he laid it down as the leading principle that the
Bible was the sole rule of faith, and that individual judgment was its
only interpreter. Consequently he rejected the idea of a visible
authority set up by Christ as an infallible guide in religious
affairs. In this way he sought to undermine the authority of the
Church, to depreciate the value of the decrees of the Popes and
General Councils, and to re-assure his less daring followers by
stripping ecclesiastical censures of more than half their terrors.[22]

The results of Luther's literary activity were soon apparent at
Wittenberg and other centres in Germany. The Augustinians in Luther's
own convent set aside their vows as worthless, and rejected the Mass.
Carlstadt made common cause with the most radical element in the city,
celebrated Mass on Christmas morning in the German language (1521),
and administered Holy Communion to every one who came forward to
receive, without any inquiry about their spiritual condition. Putting
himself at the head of a body of students and roughs he went round the
churches destroying the pictures, statues, confessionals, and altars.
To increase the confusion a party of men at Zwickau led by a
shoemaker, Nicholas Storch, and a preacher, Thomas Munzer, following
the principle of private judgment advocated by Luther, insisted on
faith as a condition for baptism and rejected infant baptism as
worthless. They were called Anabaptists. They claimed to be special
messengers from God, gifted with the power of working miracles, and
favoured with visions from on high. In vain did Luther attack them as
heretics, and exhort his lieutenants to suppress them as being more
dangerous than the Papists. Carlstadt, unable to answer their
arguments from Scripture, went over to their side, and even
Melanchthon felt so shaken in his opposition that he appealed to
Wartburg for guidance. The students at the university became so
restless and turbulent that Duke George of Saxony began to take the
prompt and decisive action necessary for dealing with such a dangerous
situation. Luther, alarmed for the future of his work, abandoned his
retreat at Wartburg (March 1522) and returned to Wittenberg, where he
had recourse to stern measures to put an end to the confusion. He
drove Carlstadt from the city, and even followed him to other places
where he tried to find refuge, till at last, after a very disedifying
scene between them in a public tavern, he forced him to flee from
Saxony. Carlstadt's greatest offence in the eyes of his master was his
preaching against the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, though
Luther himself admitted that he should have liked to deny the Real
Presence if only to annoy the Pope, were it not that the words of
Scripture proved too strong. Carlstadt adopted a different
interpretation, but Luther was not the man to tolerate individual
judgment in the case of one of his own lieutenants. Carlstadt was
denounced as a heretic and a blasphemer, for whom no punishment could
be sufficiently severe. Munzer, too, was banished, and with the
assistance of the Elector, Luther was enabled to overcome all his

Luther owed his success in the opening years of his campaign mainly to
his ability in gauging the feelings of the different classes whose
support he wished to obtain, as well as to his complete mastery of the
German language. In appealing to the monks and nuns, who were longing
to escape from the obligations they had contracted, he offered them
complete liberty by denouncing their vows as opposed to the freedom of
the Gospel and consequently sinful. Many of the monks and nuns
abandoned their cloisters and fled to Wittenberg to seek the pleasures
denied them hitherto, and to put in practice Luther's teaching on the
necessity of marriage. Though he encouraged bishops and priests to
marry, and though he forwarded his warmest congratulations to
Carlstadt on his betrothal to a fifteen year old maiden (1522), Luther
himself hesitated long before taking his final plunge; but at last,
against the advice of his best friends, he took as his wife Catherine
Bora, one of the escaped nuns who had sought refuge in Wittenberg. His
marriage (1525) was a source of amusement to his opponents as it was
of dismay to his supporters. Melanchthon complained bitterly of the
step his master had taken, but he consoled himself with the thought
that the marriage might out an end to his former frivolity, and might
allay the suspicions that his conduct had aroused.[23] To the princes,
the free cities, and the landless knights he appealed by holding out
hopes that they might be enriched by a division of the ecclesiastical
estates and of the goods of the monasteries and churches. With the
overthrow of the Pope and of the bishops the princes were led to
expect that they might themselves become spiritual dictators in their
own dominions. To the friends of the Humanist movement and the great
body of the professors and students he represented himself as the
champion of learning and intellectual freedom, anxious to defend them
against the obscurantism of the Scholastics and the interference of
the Roman congregations.

A large number of the leading Humanists, believing that Luther had
undertaken only a campaign against universally recognised abuses, were
inclined at first to sympathise with his movement. The friendly
attitude they adopted, and the influence employed by Erasmus and
others on his behalf during the early years of his revolt contributed
not a little to his final success. But as it became evident that his
object was the overthrow of the Church and of doctrines accepted as
dogmas of faith by the whole Christian world, his former allies fell
away one by one. On the question of free-will Erasmus, who had long
played a double role, found it necessary to take the field openly
against him.[24] Luther's answer, full of personal abuse and
invective, drew a sharp reply from Erasmus, and all friendly
intercourse between them was broken off for ever.

But it was on the mass of the people, the peasants and the artisans,
that Luther relied mainly for support, and it was to these he
addressed his most forcible appeals. The peasants of Germany, ground
down by heavy taxes and reduced to the position of slaves, were ready
to listen to the revolutionary ideas put forward by leaders like
Sickingen and von Hutten, and to respond to the call of Luther to rise
against their princes whether they were secular or ecclesiastical. In
the imagination of the peasants Luther appeared as the friend of human
liberty, determined to deliver them from the intolerable yoke that had
been laid upon them by their masters. His attacks were confined at
first to the prince-bishops and abbots, but soon realising the
strength of the weapon he wielded, he attacked the lay princes in the
pamphlets entitled /Christian Liberty/ and /The Secular Magistracy/,
and advocated the complete overthrow of all authority. It is true,
undoubtedly, that many of the peasants were already enrolled in the
secret societies, and that had there never been a Luther a popular
rising might have been anticipated; but his doctrines on evangelical
freedom and his frenzied onslaughts on the ecclesiastical and lay
rulers, turned the movement into an anti-religious channel, and
imparted to the struggle a uniformity and bitterness that otherwise it
could never have acquired.

Risings of the peasantry took place in various parts of Germany,
notably in Swabia, Thuringia, the Rhine Provinces, and Saxony (1524).
Thomas Munzer, the leader of the Anabaptists, encouraged them in their
fight for freedom. At first the attack was directed principally
against the spiritual princes. Many monasteries and churches were
plundered, and several of the nobles were put to death. Soon the lay
princes of Germany, alarmed by the course of the revolutionaries and
fearing for the safety of their own territories, assembled their
forces and marched against the insurgents. The war was carried on
mercilessly on both sides, close upon 100,000 peasants being killed in
the field, while many of their leaders, amongst them Thomas Munzer,
were arrested and condemned to death. In nearly every important
engagement the peasants, as might be expected, suffered defeat, so
that before the end of 1525 the movement was, practically speaking, at
an end. Luther, who had been consulted by both sides, and who had
tried to avoid committing himself to either, frightened by the very
violence of the storm he had been instrumental in creating, issued an
appeal to the princes calling upon them to show no mercy to the forces
of disorder,[25] and even Melanchthon, gentle and moderate as he
usually was, did not hesitate to declare that the peasants of Germany
had more liberty than should be allowed to such a rude and uncultured
people. The Peasants' War, disastrous as it was, did some good by
opening men's eyes to the dangerous consequences of Luther's
extravagant harangues, and by giving some slight indications as to the
real character and methods of the man, who was posing as a heaven-sent
reformer and at the same time as a champion of popular liberty.

But though Luther lost ground in many quarters owing to the part he
played before and during the Peasants' War, he had no intention of
abandoning the struggle in despair. During the early years of his
campaign his mind was so engrossed with the overthrow of existing
religious institutions, that he had little time to consider how he
should rebuild what he had pulled down. At first he thought that no
visible organisation was necessary, as the Church, according to his
view, consisted of all those who had true faith and charity. But soon
he abandoned this idea in favour of district or local churches that
should be left completely independent. The disturbances in Germany
during the Peasants' War taught him the hopelessness of such a scheme,
and showed him that his only chance of permanent success lay in the
organisation of state churches to be placed under the protection and
authority of the civil rulers. By this bribe he hoped to conciliate
the princes, whom he had antagonised by his attacks on their own body
as well as by his attitude during the early stages of the disturbance.
The Elector John of Saxony, who had succeeded his brother Frederick,
hesitated at first to assist him in the momentous work of setting up a
rival Christian organisation. But, at last, mindful of the advantages
that would accrue to him from being recognised as supreme head of the
Church in his own dominions, he gave a reluctant consent to the plans
formulated by Luther.

A body of visitors consisting of clerics and lawyers was appointed to
draw up a new ecclesiastical constitution, the most noteworthy feature
of which was the complete dependence of the new church on the secular
authority of each state. Episcopal jurisdiction was rejected, and in
place of the bishops, superintendents were appointed. The ordinary
administration was to be carried out by a synod of clerics and laymen
elected by the various parishes, but, in reality, the right of
appointment, of taxation, of apportioning the temporal goods, and of
deciding legal difficulties passed under the control of the sovereign.
Strange to say, though Luther insisted on individual judgment during
his campaign against the Catholic Church, he had no difficulty in
urging the civil rulers to force all their subjects to join the new
religious body. The goods of the Catholic Church were to be
appropriated, some of them being set aside for the support of the new
religious organisation, while the greater portion of them found their
way into the royal treasury. The Mass, shorn of the Elevation and of
everything that would imply the idea of sacrifice, was translated into
the German language, so that in all solemn religious services the
place of the Sacrifice was taken by the hymns, Scriptural lessons, the
sermon, and the Lord's Supper. Melanchthon wrote a Visitation Book
(1527) for the guidance of Lutheran ministers, and Luther himself
published two catechisms for the instruction of the children. The
Lutheran church was organised on a similar plan in Hesse and
Brandenburg and in many of the free cities such as Nurnberg,
Magdeburg, Bremen, Frankfurt, Ulm, etc. By these measures the
separation was completed definitely, and a certain amount of unity was
ensured for the new religion.

Meanwhile, how fared it with the Emperor and the Pope? Shortly after
the Diet of Nurnberg (1522) Charles V. left Germany for the
Netherlands. Owing to the troubles in Spain and the long drawn out war
with France he was unable to give any attention to the progress of
affairs in Germany. The administration of the Empire was committed to
three representatives, the ablest of whom was the Elector Frederick of
Saxony, the friend and patron of Luther. The result was that Luther
had a free hand to spread his views notwithstanding the decree of

Leo X. died in 1521 and was succeeded by Adrian VI. (1522-3), a former
tutor of the Emperor. As a Hollander it might be anticipated that his
representations to the German princes would prove more effective than
those of his Italian predecessor, particularly as not even his worst
enemies could discover anything worthy of reproach either in his
principles or personal conduct. Convinced that Luther's only chance of
winning support lay in his exaggerated denunciations of real or
imaginary abuses, he determined to bring about a complete reform,
first in Rome itself and then throughout the entire Christian world.
Owing to his ill-disguised contempt for all that was dear to the heart
of the Humanist Leo X., and to the severe measures taken by him to
reduce expenses at the Roman Court, he encountered great opposition in
Rome, and incurred the dislike both of officials and people.

When he learned that a Diet was to be held at Nurnberg (1522) to
consider plans for the defence of the Empire against the Turks who had
conquered Belgrade, he despatched Chieregati as his nuncio to invite
the princes to enforce the decree of Worms, and to restore peace to
the Church by putting down the Lutheran movement. In his letters to
individual members of the Diet and in his instructions to the nuncio,
which were read publicly to the assembled representatives, Adrian VI.
admitted the existence of grave abuses both in Rome itself and in
nearly every part of the church.[26] He promised, however, to do
everything that in him lay to bring about a complete and thorough

These admissions served only to strengthen the hands of Luther and his
supporters, who pointed to them as a justification for the whole
movement, and to provide the princes with a plausible explanation of
their inactivity in giving effect to the decree of Worms. The princes
refused to carry out the decree of Worms, alleging as an excuse the
danger of popular commotion. They brought forward once more the
grievances of the German nation against Rome (/Centum Gravamina/),
insisted on a General Council being called to restore peace to the
Church, and held out a vague hope that an effort would be made to
prevent the spread of the new doctrine till the Council should be

The papal nuncio, dissatisfied with the attitude of the
representatives, withdrew from the Diet before the formal reply was
delivered to him. Adrian VI., cognisant of the failure of his efforts
and wearied by the opposition of the Romans to whom his reforms were
displeasing, made a last fruitless effort to win over Frederick of
Saxony to his side. The news that the island of Rhodes, for the
defence of which he had laboured and prayed so strenuously, had fallen
into the hands of the Turks, served to complete his affliction and to
bring him to a premature grave. He died in September 1523 to the great
delight of the Romans, who could barely conceal their rejoicing even
when he lay on his bed of death. He was an excellent Pope, though
perhaps not sufficiently circumspect for the critical times in which
he lived. Had he been elected a century earlier, and had he been given
an opportunity of carrying out reforms, as had been given to some of
his predecessors, the Lutheran movement would have been an

He was succeeded by Clement VII. (1523-34). The new Pope was a
relative of Leo X., and, like him, a patron of literature and art. He
was a man of blameless life and liberal views, and endowed with great
prudence and tact, but his excessive caution and want of firmness led
to the ruin of his best-conceived plans and to the failure of his
general policy. He despatched Cardinal Campeggio as his legate to the
Diet of Nurnberg (1524). Once again the princes of Germany closed
their ears to the appeal of the Pope, refused to take energetic
measures to enforce the decree of Worms, and talked of establishing a
commission to consider the grievances of their nation against Rome,
and to inquire into the religious issues that had been raised.
Campeggio, feeling that it was hopeless to expect assistance from the
Diet, turned to the individual princes. He succeeded in bringing about
an alliance at Ratisbon (1524) between the rulers of Austria, Bavaria,
and several of the ecclesiastical princes of Southern Germany for the
purpose of opposing the new teaching and safeguarding the interests of
the Catholic Church. A similar alliance of the Catholic princes of
Northern Germany was concluded at Dessau in 1526. At the same time the
princes who were favourable to Lutheran views, notably Philip of
Hesse, John, Elector of Saxony, the rulers of Brandenburg, Prussia,
Mecklenburg and Mansfeld, together with the representatives of the
cities of Brunswick and Mecklenburg, met and pledged themselves to
make common cause, were any attempt made by the Emperor or the
Catholic princes to suppress Luther's doctrine by force. In this way
Germany was being divided gradually into two hostile camps.

Unfortunately Charles V., whose presence in Germany might have
exercised a restraining influence, was so engrossed in the life and
death struggle with France that he had no time to follow the progress
of the religious revolt. To complicate the issue still more, Clement
VII., who had been friendly to the Emperor for some time after his
election, alarmed lest the freedom of the Papal States and of the Holy
See might be endangered were the French driven completely from the
peninsula, took sides openly against Charles V. and formed an alliance
with his opponent. The good fortune that had smiled on the French arms
suddenly deserted them. In 1525 Francis I. was defeated at Pavia and
taken as prisoner to Spain, where he was forced to accept the terms
dictated to him by his victorious rival. On his release in 1526 he
refused to abide by the terms of the Treaty, and a new alliance,
consisting of the Pope, France, England, Venice, Florence, Milan, and
Switzerland was formed against Charles V. Disturbances, fomented by
the Italian supporters of the Emperor, broke out in the Papal States,
and a German army led by the Prince of Bourbon marched on Rome without
the knowledge of Charles, captured the city, plundered its treasures,
and for several days wreaked a terrible vengeance on the citizens.
Charles, who was in Spain at the time, was deeply grieved when the
news was brought to him of the havoc that had been wrought by his
subordinates. A temporary peace was concluded immediately between the
Emperor and the Pope, and the peace of Barcelona in 1529 put an end to
this unholy strife. About the same time the hostilities between
Charles and Francis I. were brought to a conclusion by the Peace of
Cambrai, and the Emperor, having been crowned by the Pope at Bologna
(1530), was free at last to turn his attention to the religious
revolution in Germany.[27]

During the struggle between Charles V. and the Pope the Lutheran
princes had a free hand to do as they pleased, and, indeed, at one
time they were not without hope that Charles might be induced to place
himself at their head. Besides, owing to the fact that the Turks were
advancing on Hungary and were likely to overrun the hereditary
dominions of the House of Habsburg, they felt confident that no
attempt could be made to suppress Lutheranism by force. At the Diet of
Speier, in 1526, John Duke of Saxony, and Philip of Hesse adopted so
violent and unconciliatory an attitude that Germany was on the brink
of civil war, had not the Archduke Ferdinand, alarmed by the success
of the Turks, used all his powers to prevent a division. It was agreed
that both sides should unite against the Turks, that a Council should
be called within a year to discuss the religious difficulties, and
that in the meantime individual rulers were free to enforce or
disregard the decree of Worms as they wished.

These concessions, wrung from the Catholic princes owing to the fear
of Turkish invasion, did not satisfy either party. False rumours were
spread among the Protestant princes that Duke George of Saxony and
other Catholic rulers intended to have recourse to arms, and though
the Duke was able to clear himself of the charge, the relations
between the two parties became gradually more strained. In 1526 the
Turks overcame the Hungarians and Bohemians at Mohacz, and advancing
into Austria were encamped under the very walls of Vienna. It became
necessary to summon another Diet at Speier (1529). The Catholic
princes were in the majority, and the knowledge, that the Emperor had
concluded peace with France and the Pope and was now ready to support
them, rendered them less willing to accept dictation. It was carried
by a majority that the Emperor should endeavour to have a Council
convoked within a year, that in the meantime the rulers in whose
territories the decree of Worms had been in force should continue to
enforce it, and that in the states where the new teaching had taken
root the rulers were at liberty to allow it to continue, but, in the
interval before the Council they should permit no further changes to
be introduced. Nobody should be allowed to preach against the
Sacrament of the Altar; the Mass should be celebrated if it had not
been abolished, and if abolished no one should be punished for
celebrating or attending it, and the Scripture should be expounded
according to the traditional interpretation of the Church.

The Lutheran party objected strongly to this decree, and as their
objections were over-ruled they submitted a formal protest, on account
of which they received the distinctive title of Protestants.[28] The
protest, signed by the Elector of Saxony, the Margrave of Brandenburg,
the Dukes of Brunswick-Luneburg, Philip of Hesse, and the
representatives of fourteen cities, having failed to produce any
effect on the Diet, a deputation was appointed to interview the
Emperor and to place their grievances before him. But Charles V.,
mindful of his imperial oath, refused to allow himself to be
intimidated. He warned the deputation that he and the Catholic princes
had also their duties to fulfil towards God and the Church, and that
until a Council should assemble they must obey the decrees of the
Diet. In January 1530 he convened a new Diet to meet at Augsburg at
which he himself promised to be present.

The Diet was convened to meet at Augsburg in April 1530, but it was
the middle of June before the Emperor, accompanied by the papal
legate, made his formal entrance into the city. On the following day
the feast of Corpus Christi was celebrated with the customary
solemnities, and the Emperor was pained deeply when he learned that
the Protestant princes refused to be present or to take any part in
the function. At the opening of the Diet it was agreed that the
religious question should take precedence, and the Protestant princes
were invited to make a clear statement of their doctrines and demands.
Luther himself could not be present on account of the decree of Worms,
and hence the duty of preparing a complete exposition of the
Protestant doctrine devolved upon the ablest of his lieutenants,
Philip Melanchthon. He drew up and presented to the Diet the document
known as the /Augsburg Confession/ (/Confessio Augustana/), accepted
by Luther himself as a masterly though perhaps too moderate statement
of the new teaching. The Confession was divided into two parts, the
former of which consisted of twenty-one articles or dogmas of faith
received by himself and his friends; the latter dwelt with what he
termed abuses which they rejected, notable amongst these being
celibacy of the clergy, monastic vows, auricular confession, private
masses, communion under one kind, abstinence, and episcopal
government. The Confession was drawn up very skilfully, great
prominence being given to the doctrines on which all Christians were
agreed, while the distinctive tenets of the Protestant reformers were
put forward in their mildest and least offensive form. The document
was read to the Diet in German by Bayer, Chancellor of the Elector of
Saxony, and undoubtedly it produced a marked impression on the
assembly. The Emperor held a conference with the Catholic princes,
some of whom advocated prompt recourse to the sternest measures.
Others, however, amongst them being several of the ecclesiastical
princes, misled by the temperate and, in a certain sense, misleading
character of Melanchthon's statement, and believing that a peaceful
solution to the religious difficulty was still possible, urged Charles
V. to abstain from decisive action. It was agreed that the work of
examining and refuting the Augsburg Confession should be entrusted to
a certain number of Catholic theologians, the most prominent of whom
were Eck, Cochlaeus, and Conrad Wimpina.[29] Unfortunately these men
allowed their natural feelings of irritation to overcome their
judgment, and not content with a calm and judicial refutation of the
document submitted to them, they attacked warmly the exaggerations,
contradictions, and misrepresentations of Catholic doctrine of which
Luther had been guilty, and succeeded in imparting to their reply a
bitter and ironical tone more likely to widen than to heal the
division. At the request of the Emperor they modified it very
considerably, confining themselves entirely to a brief and
dispassionate examination of the individual points raised by
Melanchthon, and in its modified form their refutation (/Confutatio
Confessionis Augustanae/) was presented to the Diet (3rd Aug.).

When the reply of the Catholic theologians had been read the Emperor
called upon the Protestant princes to return to the unity of the
Church; but his appeal fell upon deaf ears, and it seemed as if the
issue were to be decided immediately by civil war. By way of
compromise it was suggested that representatives of both parties
should meet in conference, Eck, Cochlaeus, and Wimpina being selected
as the Catholic theologians, Melanchthon, Brenz, and Schnep as the
champions of Lutheranism. From the very outset it should have been
evident to all that, where disagreement was so fundamental, one party
maintaining the theory of an infallible Church as the only safe guide
in religious matters, the other rejecting entirely the authority of
the Church and the Pope in favour of individual judgment, the
discussion of particular dogmas could never lead to unity. As a matter
of fact Melanchthon was willing to make most important concessions,
and on the question of original sin, free-will, justification, faith,
penance, and the intercession of the saints, formulas were put forward
not displeasing to either party. Even in regard to the Eucharist, the
jurisdiction of the bishops, and the supremacy of Rome, Melanchthon
was inclined to go far to meet his opponents, much to the disgust of
the extremists of his own party and to the no small alarm of
Luther.[30] But in reality the apparent harmony existed only on paper,
and the concessions made by Melanchthon depended entirely on the
meaning that should be placed on the ambiguous phraseology and
qualifications with which they were clothed. On the question of the
Mass, the celibacy of the clergy, and the meritorious character of
good works, no agreement was arrived at, as Melanchthon, alarmed by
the opposition of his own supporters and the reproofs of Luther, was
unwilling to modify his position. What the conference of theologians
had failed to do was undertaken by a mixed commission consisting of
princes, theologians, and lawyers, but without any result. In
September the Emperor announced that he was endeavouring to procure
the convocation of a General Council and that in the meantime the
Protestants should return to the old faith, a certain time being
allowed them for consideration, that they should attempt no further
innovations or interference with the followers of the old faith, that
they should restore the ecclesiastical goods which had been seized,
and that they should unite with the Catholics in opposing the
Anabaptists and the Sacramentarians.

The Protestant princes refused to submit on the ground that their
doctrines were in harmony with the Word of God, and to justify this
contention Melanchthon published the /Apologia Confessionis
Augustanae/, which was in many points more full and explicit than the
Confession itself. Some of the German cities that had embraced the
Zwinglian doctrine, notably, Strassburg and Constance, repudiated the
Augsburg Confession, and presented a document embodying their beliefs,
known as the /Confessio Tetrapolitana/ which found no favour with
Charles V. or with the Diet. Finally, on the 18th November, the
Emperor announced to the Diet that until a General Council should
meet, everything must be restored to the /status quo/, that he felt it
incumbent upon him as protector of the Church to defend the Catholic
faith with all his might, and that in this work he could count on the
full support of the Catholic princes. Unfortunately, it was by no
means correct to state that the Catholic rulers of Germany stood
behind their Emperor. Nearly all of them were anxious to avoid civil
war at any cost, and not a few of them hesitated to support the
Emperor lest the suppression of the Protestant princes might lead to
the establishment of a strong central power. Nor were the Protestants
alarmed by the threat of force. With the Turks hovering on the flanks
of the empire, they were confident that they might expect concessions
rather than violence.

The Protestant princes met in December (1530) at Schmalkald to
consider their position, and early in the following year (1531) they
formed the Schmalkaldic League for the defence of their religious and
temporal interests. Negotiations were opened up with France, Denmark,
and England, and notification was made to the Emperor that they must
withhold their assistance against the Turks until their religious
beliefs were secured. They refused, furthermore, to recognise
Ferdinand, brother of Charles V., whom Charles had proclaimed King of
the Romans. The Emperor, alarmed by the news that Soliman was
preparing an immense army for a general attack on Italy and Austria,
and well aware that he could not count either on the assistance of the
Catholic princes or the neutrality of France, was forced to give way.
In July 1532 peace was concluded at Nurnberg. According to the terms
of the Peace of Nurnberg it was agreed that until a General Council
should assemble no action should be taken against the Protestant
princes, and that in the interval everything was to remain unchanged.
This agreement, it was stipulated, should apply only to those who
accepted the Confession of Augsburg, a stipulation that was meant to
exclude the followers of Zwingli.

Charles V. was really anxious that a Council should be called, nor was
Clement VII. unwilling to meet his wishes, if only he could have been
certain that a Council constituted as such assemblies had been
constituted traditionally, could serve any useful purpose. Time and
again Luther had expressed his supreme contempt for the authority of
General Councils, though he professed to be not unwilling to submit
the matters in dispute to a body of men selected by the civil rulers.
In 1532-3 Pope and Emperor met at Bologna to discuss the situation,
and messengers were despatched to see on what terms the Protestants
would consent to attend the Council. The members of the Schmalkaldic
League refused (1533) to accept the conditions proposed by the Pope,
namely, that the Council should be constituted according to the plan
hitherto followed in regard to such assemblies, and that all should
pledge themselves beforehand to accept its decrees.[31]

Clement VII. died in September (1534) and was succeeded by Paul III.
(1534-49). He convoked a General Council to meet at Mantua in 1537,
but the League refused once more to attend (1535). Even had there been
no other difficulties in the way, the war that broke out with renewed
bitterness between Charles V. and Francis I. would have made it
impossible for such a body to meet with any hope of success. The
helpless condition of the Emperor, confronted, as he was, on the one
side by the French and on the other by the Turks, raised the hopes of
the Protestant party, and made them more determined than ever to
attend no Council in which the authority of the bishops or the
jurisdiction of the Pope should be recognised. Moreover, each year
brought new accessions to their ranks. The appearance of organised
Christian bodies, completely national in character, accepting the
civil rulers as their head, and conceding to them full power to deal
as they liked with ecclesiastical property, created a deep impression
on several princes and free cities, and made them not averse to giving
the new religion a fair trial. In 1530, the Elector of Saxony, Philip
of Hesse and the rulers of Ansbach, Anhalt, Brunswick-Luneburg,
Bayreuth, East Friesland, and a few of the larger cities had gone over
to Luther. Before ten years had elapsed the greater part of Northern
Germany had fallen from the Catholic Church, and even in Southern
Germany Protestantism had made serious inroads. Several of the more
important cities such as Wittenberg, Strassburg, Nurnberg, Magdeburg,
Frankfurt-on-Main, Hamburg, and Erfurt became leading centres for the
spread of the new teaching, while many of the German universities, for
example, Erfurt, Basle, Frankfurt, Rostock, and Marburg supported
strongly the efforts of Luther.

The Catholic princes, alarmed by the rapid spread of the new doctrines
and by the extravagant demands of the Protestants, met together to
form the Holy League (1538) as a defence against the Schmalkaldic
confederation. Feeling was running so high at the time that the long
expected war might have broken out immediately, had not the dread of a
Turkish invasion exercised a restraining influence on both parties. In
1539 negotiations were opened up for a temporary armistice, and
another fruitless attempt was made to arrive at peace by means of a
religious conference. Before any result had been attained the Emperor
summoned a Diet to meet at Ratisbon (April 1541). Three theologians
were appointed from both sides to discuss the questions at issue.
Though some of the Catholic representatives showed clearly enough that
their desire for union was much greater than their knowledge of
Catholic principles, an understanding was arrived at only in regard to
a few points of difference. By the Recess of the Diet (known as the
/Ratisbon Interim/) it was ordered that both parties should observe
the articles of faith on which they had agreed until a General Council
should meet, that in the interval the terms of the Peace of Nurnberg
should be carried out strictly, that the religious houses that had
escaped destruction hitherto should remain undisturbed, and that the
disciplinary decrees promulgated by the cardinal legate (Contarini)
should be obeyed by the Catholics.

The Protestant princes were still dissatisfied. In order to procure
their assistance Charles was obliged to yield to further demands,
notably, to permit them to suppress the monasteries in their
dominions. But, fortunately for the Catholic Church, the agreement
embodied in the /Ratisbon Interim/ was rejected by the more extreme
Protestant Party led by Luther himself, and the danger of grave
misunderstanding was removed.

During the following years the Lutheran movement continued to advance
by leaps and bounds. Duke George of Saxony, one of its strongest
opponents, died in 1539, and his successor invited the Lutheran
preachers to assist him in the work of reform. Henry, Duke of
Brunswick, was driven from his kingdom by the League of Schmalkald and
forced to seek refuge in Bavaria. The Bishoprics of Hildesheim and
Naumburg were captured by force, and it required all the efforts of
the Pope and of the Emperor to prevent Cologne from being handed over
to Luther's followers by its prince-bishop (Hermann von Wied).
Lutheranism provided almost irresistible attractions for the lay
rulers, who desired to acquire wealth and power at the expense of the
Church, as well as for the unworthy ecclesiastical princes who were
anxious to convert the states of which they were merely administrators
into hereditary dominions.

But though outwardly the movement prospered beyond expectation all was
far from well within. The fundamental principle enunciated by Luther,
namely, the rejection of all religious authority, opened the way for
new theories and new sects. Quite apart from the controversies between
the followers of Luther and Zwingli, which shall be dealt with later,
the Anabaptists and others continued to destroy the harmony of the
self-styled reformers. The Anabaptists seized the city of Munster,
proclaimed a democratic theocracy with John of Leyden, a tailor, at
its head, and pronounced their intention of taking the field for the
overthrow of tyrants and impostors. But their success was short-lived.
Conrad, bishop and prince of Munster, raised an army, laid siege to
the city which he captured after a desperate struggle, and put to
death the fanatical leaders who had deceived the people (1535-6).
Other writers and preachers questioned the doctrines of the Trinity
and Incarnation, and advocated many heresies condemned by the early
Church, some of them going so far as to insist on the revival of
circumcision and the Jewish ceremonial law.[32]

Nor did the new teaching exercise an elevating influence on the morals
or conduct of its adherents. Luther himself was forced to admit that
the condition of affairs had grown worse even than it had been before
he undertook his campaign. "Since we have commenced to preach our
doctrine," he said in one of his sermons, "the world has grown daily
worse, more impious, and more shameless. Men are now beset by legions
of devils, and while enjoying the full light of the Gospel are more
avaricious, more impure, and repulsive than of old under the Papacy.
Peasants, burghers, nobles, men of all degrees, the higher as well as
the lowest are all alike slaves to avarice, drunkenness, gluttony, and
impurity, and given over to horrible excesses of abominable

The princes, free from all religious and ecclesiastical restraints,
set an example of licentiousness which their subjects were not slow to
imitate. Philip of Hesse was the life and soul of the Lutheran
movement. He was married already to Christina, daughter of Duke George
of Saxony, by whom eight children had been born to him, but finding it
impossible to observe his marriage obligations, and wishing to impart
to his own sinful conduct an air of decency, he demanded permission
from Luther to marry one of the maids of honour in attendance on his
sister. This request placed Luther and Melanchthon in a very delicate
position. On the one hand, if they acceded to it they would be
regarded as patrons and defenders of adultery and would expose
themselves to the ridicule of their opponents; on the other, were they
to refuse compliance with his wishes, Philip, forgetful of his former
zeal for the pure word of God, might carry out his threats to return
to the Catholic Church. After long and anxious deliberation they
determined to exercise a dispensing power such as had never been
exercised before by any Pope. "In order to provide for the welfare of
his soul and body and to bring greater glory to God," they allowed him
to take to himself a second wife, insisting, however, that the whole
affair should be kept a close secret. But hardly had the marriage
ceremony been gone through (1540) than the story of the dispensation
became public. Luther was at first inclined to deny it entirely as an
invention of his enemies, but he changed his mind when he found that
the proofs were irrefragable and determined to brazen out the

Luther's last years were full of anxiety and sorrow. As he looked
round his own city of Wittenberg and the cities of Germany where his
doctrines had taken root he found little ground for self-
congratulation. Religious dissensions, bitterness, war-like
preparations, decline of learning, decay of the universities, and
immorality, had marked the progress of his gospel. In many districts
the power of the Pope had indeed been broken, but only to make way for
the authority of the civil rulers upon whom neither religious nor
disciplinary canons could exercise any restraint; the monasteries and
religious institutions had been suppressed, but their wealth had
passed into the treasuries of the princes, whilst the poor for whose
benefit it had been held in trust were neglected, and the ministers of
religion were obliged to have recourse to different occupations to
secure a livelihood. To his followers and his most intimate associates
he denied the liberty of thought and speech that he claimed for
himself, by insisting on the unconditional acceptance of his doctrines
as if in him alone were vested supreme authority and infallibility.
For exercising their right to private judgment, Carlstadt was pursued
from pulpit to pulpit till at last he was forced to seek safety in
flight; Zwingli was denounced as a heretic for whose salvation it was
useless to pray; the Anabaptists were declared to be unworthy of any
better fate than the sword or the halter; Agricola, his most zealous
fellow-labourer, was banished from his presence and his writings were
interdicted; and even Melanchthon was at last driven to complain of
the state of slavery to which he had been reduced.[35]

His failing health and his disappointments served to sour his temper
and to render him less approachable. The attacks that he directed
against the Papacy such as /The Papacy an Institution of the Devil/,
and the verses prepared for the vulgar caricatures that he induced
Cranach to design (1545) surpassed even his former productions in
violence and abusiveness. Tired of attacking the Papacy, he turned his
attention once more to the Jews, upon whom he invoked the vengeance of
Heaven in the last sermon that he was destined to preach on earth. He
was taken suddenly ill in Eisleben, where he had come to settle some
disputes between the Counts of Mansfeld, and on the 18th February
1546, he passed away.[36]

Luther is a man whose character it is difficult to appreciate exactly.
At times he spoke and wrote as if he were endowed with a deeply
religious feeling, convinced of the truth of his doctrines, and
anxious only for the success of the work for which he professed to
believe he had been raised up by God. Some of his sermons sounded like
a trumpet call from Heaven, warning the people that the hour for
repentance had drawn nigh, while his conversations with his intimate
friends breathed at times a spirit of piety and fervour redolent of
the apostolic age. This, however, was only one feature of Luther's
character, and, unfortunately, it was a feature that manifested itself
only too rarely. As a general rule his writings, his sermons and
speeches, and, in a word, his whole line of conduct were in direct
opposition to everything that is associated generally in the popular
mind with the true religious reformer. His replies to his opponents,
even to those who, avoiding personalities, addressed themselves
directly to his doctrines, were couched in the most violent and
abusive language. His wild onslaughts and his demands for vengeance on
any one who ventured to question his teaching, whether they were
Catholics, Zwinglians, Sacramentarians or Anabaptists, were the very
antithesis of the spirit of charity and meekness that should
characterise a follower, not to say an apostle, of Christ. Nor were
his over-weening pride and self-confidence in keeping with the spirit
of meekness and humility inculcated so frequently in the writings of
the New Testament.

In his letters, and more especially in his familiar intercourse with
his friends,[37] his conversation was frequently risky and indecent;
his relations with women, at least before his marriage with Catherine
Bora, were, to put it mildly, not above suspicion, as is evident from
his own letters and the letters of his most devoted supporters; while
his references to marriage and vows of chastity in his sermons and
pamphlets were filthy and unpardonable even in an age when people were
much more outspoken on such subjects than they are at present. Though
he insisted strongly on the necessity of preaching the pure Word of
God, he had little difficulty in having recourse to falsehood when
truth did not serve his purpose, or in justifying his conduct by
advocating the principle that not all lies were sinful particularly if
they helped to damage the Roman Church. His frequent and enthusiastic
references to the pleasures of the table were more like what one
should expect to find in the writings of a Pagan epicure than in those
of a Christian reformer. He was not, as is sometimes asserted, a
habitual drunkard. His tireless activity as a writer and preacher is
in itself a sufficient refutation of such a charge, but he was
convinced that a hard drinking bout was at times good for both soul
and body, and in this respect at least he certainly lived up to his

It would be a mistake to judge him by his Latin writings, which, both
in manner and style, seldom rise above the level of mediocrity. It is
in his German books and pamphlets that Luther is seen at his best.
There, he appears as a man of great ability and learning, gifted with
a prodigious memory, a striking literary style, and a happy knack of
seizing upon the weak points of his adversaries and of presenting his
own side of the case in its most forcible and attractive form. No man
knew better than he how to adapt himself to the tastes of his audience
or the prejudices of his readers. He could play the role of the judge
or the professor almost as well as that of the impassioned fanatic
convinced that behind him were arrayed all the powers of Heaven. In
dealing with men of education, who were not likely to be captivated by
rhetoric, he could be calm and argumentative; but when he addressed
himself to the masses of the people he appeared in his true character
as a popular demagogue, hesitating at nothing that was likely to
arouse their indignation against the Roman Church and their enthusiasm
for the movement to which he had devoted his life. In words of fiery
eloquence he recalled to their minds the real and imaginary grievances
of their nation against Rome, the over-weening pride and tyranny of
the spiritual princes, the scandalous lives of many of the
ecclesiastics, and the failure of the Pope and councils to carry
through a scheme of wholesale reform. He called upon them to throw off
the yoke imposed by foreigners on their fathers and themselves, and to
support him in his struggle for the liberty of the people, the
independence of the German nation, and the original purity of the
Gospel, promising them that if only they would range themselves under
his banner, all their grievances, both spiritual and temporal, must
soon be redressed. Had Luther never appeared, or had he been less
gifted as an orator, a writer and a popular leader than he was, a
crisis must have arisen at the time; but his genius and enthusiasm
turned what might have been a trickling stream into a raging torrent,
threatening destruction to beliefs and institutions hitherto regarded
as inviolable. The time was ripe for a reformer, and Luther's only
claim to greatness was his capacity of utilising in a masterly way the
materials, political and religious, that lay ready at his hand.
Religious abuses, social unrest, politics, personal vanities, and the
excesses always attendant upon a great literary revival, were pressed
into his service, and were directed against the Roman Church. And yet
his success fell far short of his expectations. Beyond doubt he
contrived to detach individuals and kingdoms from their obedience to
the Pope and their submission to ecclesiastical authority only to
subject them to the spiritual yoke of secular princes, and to expose
them to doctrinal anarchy subversive of dogmatic religion; but the
Catholic Church and the See of Rome, for the overthrow of which he had
laboured so energetically, emerged triumphant from the terrible trial
that had been permitted by God only for its purification.

During the period that intervened between the /Ratisbon Interim/ and
the death of Luther (1541-6) Charles V., hard pressed by the war with
France and the unsuccessful expeditions against the Barbary pirates,
was obliged to yield to the increasing demands of the Protestant
princes; nor could Paul III., however much he desired it, realise his
intention of convoking a General Council. But at last the Peace of
Crepy (1544) which put an end to the war with France, and the
convocation of a General Council to meet at Trent in March 1545,
strengthened the hands of the Emperor, and enabled him to deal
effectively with the religious revolution. The Protestant princes
announced their determination to take no part in a Council convoked
and presided over by the Pope. Charles left no stone unturned to
induce them to adopt a more conciliatory attitude, but all his efforts
having proved unavailing, he let it be known publicly that he would
not allow himself to be intimidated by threats of violence, and that
if need be he would insist on obedience at the point of the sword.
John Frederick of Saxony and Philip of Hesse, alarmed by the
threatening aspect of affairs, determined to anticipate the Emperor,
and took the field at the head of an army of forty thousand men

Charles V., relying upon the aid of the Pope and the co-operation of
the Catholic princes, issued a proclamation calling upon all loyal
subjects to treat them as rebels and outlaws. Maurice of Saxony
deserted his co-religionists on promise of succeeding to the
Electorship, joined the standard of Charles V., and in conjunction
with Ferdinand directed his forces against Saxony. The Elector was
defeated and captured at Muhlberg (April 1547). He was condemned to
death as a traitor, but he was reprieved and detained as a prisoner in
the suite of the Emperor, while his nephew, Maurice of Saxony,
succeeded to his dominions. Philip of Hesse, too, was obliged to
surrender, and Charles V. found himself everywhere victorious. He
insisted on the restoration of the Bishop of Naumburg and of Henry of
Brunswick to his kingdom as well as on the resignation of Hermann
Prince von Wied, Archbishop of Cologne. He was unwilling, however, to
proceed to extremes with the Protestant princes, well knowing that he
could not rely on some of his own supporters. Besides, he had become
involved in serious difficulties with Pope Paul III., who complained,
and not without reason, of the demands made upon him by the Emperor,
and of the concessions that the Emperor was willing to make to the

Charles V. summoned a Diet to meet at Augsburg (1547), where he hoped
that a permanent understanding might be secured. A document known as
the /Augsburg Interim/, prepared by Catholic theologians in
conjunction with the Lutheran, John Agricola, was accepted
provisionally by both parties. The doctrines were expressed in a very
mild form, though not, however, altogether unacceptable to Catholics.
Protestants were permitted to receive communion under both kinds;
their married clergy were allowed to retain their wives; and it was
understood tacitly that they might keep possession of the
ecclesiastical property they had seized. The /Augsburg Interim/, as
might have been anticipated, was displeasing to both parties. Maurice
of Saxony, unwilling to give it unconditional approval, consulted
Melanchthon and others of his school as to how far he might accept its
terms. In their reply they distinguished between matters that were
essential and those that were only of secondary importance. The latter
might be accepted unreservedly in obedience to the orders of the
Emperor. In regard to doctrines, they were willing to compromise on
the question of justification and good-works, to accept the
sacraments, including confirmation and Extreme Unction, the Mass with
the addition of some German hymns, and in a certain sense the
jurisdiction of the bishops. Such concessions were a distinct
departure from Luther's teaching and would have been impossible had he
been alive.

The relations between the Pope and the Emperor took a more friendly
turn when the General Council was transferred from Bologna to Trent
(1551). The Protestant princes, invited to send representatives,
declined at first, but in a short time several of them agreed to
accept the invitation. Safe conducts were issued for their
representatives by the Council in 1551 and again in 1552. Even the
Wittenberg theologians were not unfavourably disposed, and Melanchthon
was actually on his way to Trent. But suddenly Maurice of Saxony, who
had assembled a large army under pretext of reducing Magdeburg, and
had strengthened himself by an alliance with several princes as well
as by a secret treaty with Henry II. of France, deserted the Emperor
and placed himself at the head of the Protestant forces. When all his
plans were completed he advanced suddenly through Thuringia, took
Augsburg, and was within an inch of capturing the Emperor who then lay
ill at Innsbruck (1552). At the same time the French forces occupied
Lorraine. Charles, finding himself unable to carry on the struggle,
opened negotiations for peace, and in 1552 the Treaty of Passau was
concluded. Philip of Hesse was to be set at liberty; a Diet was to be
called within six months to settle the religious differences; in the
meantime neither the Emperor nor the princes should interfere with
freedom of conscience; and all disputes that might arise were to be
referred to a commission consisting of an equal number of Protestant
and Catholic members.

Owing to the war with France it was not until the year 1555 that the
proposed Diet met at Augsburg. The Protestant party, encouraged by
their victories, were in no humour for compromise, and as it was
evident that there was no longer any hope of healing the religious
division in the Empire, it was agreed that peace could be secured only
by mutual toleration. In September 1555 the Peace of Augsburg was
concluded. According to the terms of this convention full freedom of
conscience was conceded in the Empire to Catholics and to all
Protestants who accepted the Augsburg Confession. The latter were
permitted to retain the ecclesiastical goods which they had already
acquired before the Treaty of Passau (1552). For the future each
prince was to be free to determine the religion of his subjects, but
in case a subject was not content with the religion imposed on him by
his sovereign he could claim the right to migrate into a more friendly

A great difficulty arose in regard to the disposal of the
ecclesiastical property in case a Catholic bishop or abbot should
apostatise. Notwithstanding the protests of the Protestant party, it
was decreed that if such an event should occur the seceder could claim
his own personal property, but not the property attached to his
office. This clause, known as the /Ecclesiasticum Reservatum/, gave
rise to many disputes, and was one of the principal causes of the
Thirty Years' War.

By the /Peace of Augsburg/ Protestantism was recognised as a distinct
and separate form of Christianity, and the first blow was struck at
the fundamental principles on which the Holy Roman Empire had been
built. Charles V. was blamed at the time, and has been blamed since
for having given his consent to such a treaty, but if all the
circumstances of the time be duly considered it is difficult to see
how he could have acted otherwise than he did. It is not the Emperor
who should be held accountable for the unfavourable character of the
Augsburg Peace, but "the most Catholic King of France" who allied
himself with the forces of German Protestantism, and the Catholic
princes who were more anxious to secure their own position than to
fight for their sovereign or their religion. Charles V., broken down
in health and wearied by his misfortunes and his failure to put down
the religious revolt, determined to hand over to a younger man the
administration of the territories over which he ruled, and to devote
the remainder of his life to preparation for the world to come. In a
parting address delivered to the States of the Netherlands he warned
them "to be loyal to the Catholic faith which has always been and
everywhere the faith of Christendom, for should it disappear the
foundations of goodness should crumble away and every sort of mischief
now menacing the world would reign supreme." After his resignation he
retired to a monastery in Estremadura, where he died in 1558. Spain
and the Netherlands passed to his legitimate son, Philip II., while
after some delay his brother, Ferdinand, was recognised as his
successor in the Empire.

Charles V. was a man of sound judgment and liberal views, of great
energy and prudence, as skilful in war as he was in the arts of
diplomacy, and immensely superior in nearly every respect to his
contemporaries, Francis I. of France and Henry VIII. of England. Yet
in spite of all his admitted qualifications, and notwithstanding the
fact that he was the ruler of three-fourths of Western Europe, he
lived to witness the overthrow of his dearest projects and the
complete failure of his general policy. But his want of success was
not due to personal imprudence or inactivity. It is to be attributed
to the circumstances of the times, the rebellion in Spain, the open
revolt of some and the distrust of others in Germany, the rapid
advance of the Turks towards the west, and, above all, the struggle
with France. Despite his many quarrels with the Holy See, and in face
of the many temptations held out to him to arrive at the worldwide
dictatorship to which he was suspected of aspiring, by putting himself
at the head of the new religious movement, he never wavered for a
moment in his allegiance to the Catholic Church.

[1] Grisar, /Luther/ (Eng. Trans.), i., p. 4.

[2] /Id./ p. 8.

[3] Grisar, /Luther/ (Eng. Trans.), i., p. 14.

[4] Id. chap. iv.

[5] Keller, /Johann von Staupitz und die Anfange der Reformation/,

[6] Grisar, op. cit. (Eng. Trans.), i., 34, 323.

[7] Id. i., 34, Bd. iii., 957-8.

[8] Paulus, /Johann Tetzel, der Ablassprediger/, 1899. /Die Deutschen
Dominikaner im Kampfe gegen Luther/, 1903.

[9] Grisar, op. cit. (Eng. Trans.), i., pp. 341-55.

[10] Kidd, /Documents of the Continental Reformation/, pp. 20-6.

[11] Specially, Nos. 43, 45, 59, 86.

[12] /Dialogus . . . in presumptuosas M. Lutheri conclusiones de
potestate Papae./

[13] Greving, /Johann Eck/, etc., 1906.

[14] "/Beatissime Pater, prostratum me pedibus tuae beatitudinis
offero cum omnibus quae sum et habeo. Vivifica, occide, voca,
revoca, approba, reproba, ut placuerit. Vocem tuam vocem Christi
in te praesidentis et loquentis agnoscam. Si mortem merui, mori
non recusabo./"

[15] Pastor, op. cit., iv., 177-9.

[16] Creutzberg, /Karl von Miltitz/, 1907.

[17] "/Coram Deo et tota creatura sua testor, me neque voluisse neque
hodie velle Ecclesiae Romanae ac Beatitudinis Tuae potestem ullo
modo tangere aut quacunque versutia demoliri; quin plenissime
confiteor huius ecclesiae potestatem esse super omnia, nec ei
praeferendum quidquid sive in coelo sive in terra praeter unum
Jesum Christum Dominum omnium/" (3rd March, 1519). Kidd, op. cit.,
p. 43.

[18] Grisar, op. cit. (Eng. Trans.), i., 359.

[19] /Cambridge Modern History/, ii., chaps. ii., iii.

[20] /Imperatorum nationis Germanicae gravamina ad Sadem Romanam/,

[21] De Weldige-Kremer, /De Joannis Cochlaei Vita et Scriptis/, 1865.
He was one of the most energetic opponents of the Reformation

[22] Schwane, /Dogmengeschichte der neuren zeit/, 1890, pp. 131-51,
210-240, 251-92.

[23] Grisar, op. cit., Bd. iii., 228.

[24] /De Libero Arbitrio/, etc., 1524.

[25] Grisar, op. cit., Bd. i., pp. 483-502.

[26] Raynaldus, /Ann. Eccl./ (ann. 1522).

[27] Pastor, op. cit., Bd. iv., pp. 212-393.

[28] "Of such slender dimensions was the original Protestant Church;
small as it was, it was only held together by the negative
character of its protest."--/Camb. Mod. Hist./, ii., p. 205.

[29] Negwer, /Wimpina/, 1909.

[30] Hergenrother-Kirsch, op. cit., Bd. iii., p. 80.

[31] Pastor, op. cit., Bd. iv., 473-5.

[32] Hergenrother-Kirsch, op. cit., iii., pp. 102-8.

[33] For Luther's own views on the results of his preaching, cf.
Dollinger, /Die Reformation/, Bd. ii., pp. 426-52.

[34] Grisar, op. cit., Bd. ii., 382-436.

[35] Grisar, op. cit., Bd. iii., 211-30.

[36] That there can be no question of suicide is admitted (Paulus
/Luthers Lebensende/, 1898).

[37] /Tischreden/ (/Table Talk/), cf. Grisar, ii., 178 sqq. Smith,
/Luther's Table Talk/, 1907. /Am. Ecc. Review/ (1906, pp. 1-18).

[38] /Personal Character of Luther/ (/Ir. Theol. Quart./, viii., p.

(b) Zwingli in Switzerland: His attitude towards Lutheranism.

See works mentioned above (II. a). Dandliker, /Geschichte der
Schweiz/, 3 Bde, 1904. Dandliker-Salisbury, /A Short History of
Switzerland/, 1899. De Haller, /Histoire de la revolution
religieuse ou de la reforme protestante dans la Suisse
occidentale/, 1837. Gelpke, /Kirchengeschichte der Schweiz/, 1856-
61. Schuler-Schulthess, /Opera Huldrici Zwinglii/, 8 vols., 1828-
42. Jackson, /Huldreich Zwingli/, 1901.

The territory now known as Switzerland formed portion of the Holy
Roman Empire. In 1291, however, during the reign of Rudolph of
Habsburg, the three states or cantons of Uri, Schweiz, and
Unterwalden, formed a confederation to defend their rights and
privileges, thus laying the foundation for the existence of
Switzerland as an independent nation. Other cantons joined the
alliance, more especially after the victory at Morgarten in 1315, when
the Austrian forces despatched against the Swiss were almost
annihilated. Austria made various attempts to win back the Swiss to
their allegiance but without success, and in 1394 the independence of
the allied cantons was practically recognised.

About the time of the Reformation in Germany Switzerland consisted of
thirteen cantons and several smaller "allied" or "friendly" states not
admitted to full cantonal rights. Though bound together by a loose
kind of confederation for purposes of defence against aggression, the
various states enjoyed a large measure of independence, and each was
ruled according to its own peculiar constitution. The Federal Diet or
General Assembly was composed of representatives appointed by the
cantons, and its decisions were determined by the votes of the states,
the largest and most populous possessing no greater powers than the
least influential member of the confederation. Some of the states were
nominally democratic in their form of government, but, as in most
countries during this period, the peasants had many grounds for
reasonable complaint, particularly in regard to taxation, treasury
pensions, and the enlisting and employment of the Swiss mercenary
troops, then the best soldiers in Europe.

As in Germany, many causes were at work to prepare the ground for the
new religious teaching. On account of the free character of its
institutions refugees of all kinds fled to Switzerland for asylum, and
were allowed great liberty in propagating their views. Again, the
Swiss mercenaries, returning from their campaigns and service, during
which they were brought into contact with various classes and nations,
served much the same purpose as does the modern newspaper. In both
these ways the peasants of Switzerland were kept in touch with the
social, political, and religious condition of the rest of Europe, and
with the hopes and plans of their own class in other kingdoms.
Humanism had not, indeed, made very striking progress in Switzerland,
though the presence of Erasmus at Basle, and the attacks that he
directed against the monks and the clergy, could not fail to produce
some effect on a people whose minds were already prepared for such
methods by their acquaintance with modern developments.

If, however, the Church in Switzerland had been free from abuses not
all the wit and eloquence of Erasmus and his followers could have
produced a revolt, but unfortunately, the influences that led to the
downfall of religion in other countries were also at work in the Swiss
cantons. The cathedral chapters were composed for the greater part of
men who had no vocation to the priesthood, and who adopted the
clerical profession because they wished to enrich themselves from the
revenues of the Church, and were ensured of good positions through the
influence of their relatives and patrons. Many of the clergy were far
from being perfect, nor were all the religious institutions mindful of
the spirit or even of the letter of their constitutions.
Unfortunately, too, owing to the peculiar political development of
their country, the bishops of Switzerland were subject to foreign
metropolitans, two of them being under the jurisdiction of the
Archbishop of Mainz, two under Besancon, one under Aquileia, and one
subject immediately to Rome. Partly for this reason, partly, also,
owing to the increasing encroachments of the civil power, disputes and
conflicts between the ecclesiastical and temporal jurisdictions were
not unfrequent. But it would be a mistake to suppose that there were
no good ecclesiastics in Switzerland at this time. There were many
excellent priests, both secular and regular, who recognised the sad
condition of affairs, and who supported measures such as those
undertaken by the Bishop of Basle in 1503 with all their power. The
great body of teachers known as the Friends of God were at work in
Switzerland as in the Netherlands, and were doing splendid service for
education, both secular and religious.

The man, who played in Switzerland the part played so successfully by
Luther in Germany, was Ulrich Zwingli. He was the son of rich parents,
born at Wildhaus, in the canton of Saint Gall (1484), educated at the
Universities of Berne, Basle, and Vienna, and after his ordination to
the priesthood, appointed to the parish of Glarus. He was a young man
of remarkable ability both as a student and as a preacher, and was
fortunate enough to attract the notice of a papal legate, through
whose influence a pension was assigned to him to enable him to
prosecute his studies. He was a good classical scholar with a more
than average knowledge of Hebrew, and well versed in the Scriptures
and in the writings of the Fathers. For a time he acted as chaplain to
some Swiss regiments fighting in Italy for the Pope against France,
and on his return to his native country he was appointed preacher at
the famous shrine of Our Lady at Einsiedeln.[1] Here his oratorical
powers stood him in good stead, but his judgment and level-headedness
were not on the same high plane as his declamatory powers, nor was his
own private life in keeping with the sanctity of the place or with the
denunciations that he hurled so recklessly against his clerical
brethren. He began to attack pilgrimages and devotions to the Blessed
Virgin, but it was not so much for this as for his unlawful relations
with a woman of bad character that he was relieved of his office.[2]

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