Martin Luther, the Catholic Priest

By | October 31, 2021

[October 31, 2021]  There will be a time when you must step up and be the target.  Martin Luther, a Catholic Priest, nails 95 theses to the Castle Catholic Church door at Wittenburg, Germany, on this date, October 31, 1517.

The Catholic Church was raising money to renovate St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.  One of the ways they raised money was to sell indulgences to wealthy people.  Doing so was essentially a pardon for all their sins.  Martin Luther was to have none of it.  He was tired of the corruption and bribery in the Catholic Church.  The 95 theses exposed the corruption.

Martin Luther refused to recant his writings, and Pope Leo X excommunicated Martin Luther.  In 1521, Emperor Charles V Issued the Edict of Worms, permitting anyone to kill Martin Luther (Worms is a city in Germany; the term “worms” means a watery area).  Martin Luther fell under the protection of Prince Fredrick III, also known as Fredrick the Wise.

Later in his life, Martin Luther began to translate the Bible from Latin to German.  That project took him ten years.  His translation has had a tremendous impact on both the church and German culture.  Several small German states supported Martin Luther and broke away from the Roman Catholic Church because they felt the Catholic Church could not be reformed.

Modern-day Germany was initially made up of 258 feudal states.  There were princes, princesses, barons, baronesses, dukes, and kings littering the countryside.  This moment became known as the Protestant Reformation.  The word Protestant was used as a general term for those protesting the Roman Catholic Orthodoxy.

Protesting sects soon developed.  There was Lutheranism, Puritans, Huguenots, and the Presbyterians, to name a few.  The Puritans, Huguenots and Presbyterians played prominent roles in the settlements, beliefs, and values found in Colonial America and led to the founding of the United States of America.  They came to the new world seeking religious freedom.

Martin Luther was a man of great moral courage.  We can learn much from him.

Emperor Charles V did not get his way.  Martin Luther died of natural causes in 1546 at the age of 63.

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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

19 thoughts on “Martin Luther, the Catholic Priest

  1. Jerome Smith

    Great man, read what he wrote. You can find it anywhere on the Internet. Make the effort. You won’t be disappointed.

    Reply
  2. catorenasci

    Gen. Satterfield, thanks for reminding us of this key historical event that happened long ago. I reread all the 95 theses. Some were actually excellent and I could see where many have misinterpreted his theses as anti-Catholic, they were not. That is your point and well taken. He was against selling salvation for money. Saving oneself is by deeds and thoughts, not money.

    Reply
    1. Rusty D

      Good point, catorenasci. And thanks for reminding us of it. Deeds matter, Intent, not so much. You may wish to do good but that is not good enough.

      Reply
  3. Dog Man

    Gen. Satterfield, you have done it again with another excellent article on an important time in the history of mankind. We develop ourselves slowly over time. This is done as others before us have also made progress. That is growth in a positive sense. Today, however, we are sliding backward with the push toward tribalism (found in Marxism). Soon, however, we will see the light of our folly and change directions.

    Reply
  4. Doug Smith

    Good history that can help us understand better how to be a good person and help to our own communities. Martin Luther was indeed courageous. Not easy to stand against such great authority.

    Reply
  5. Fred Weber

    Today is HALLOWEEN and the reason we celebrate it is Halloween is considered a holiday for dress-up and fun, especially for children.

    Reply
    1. Cat A Miss

      Yep, its all about having fun with the kids. And, a few adults think back to having a good time as kids themselves.

      Reply
      1. Qassim

        Halloween’s origins can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain, which was held on November 1 in contemporary calendars. It was believed that on that day, the souls of the dead returned to their homes, so people dressed in costumes and lit bonfires to ward off spirits. In this way, popular Halloween tropes such as witches, ghosts, and goblins became associated with the holiday.

        Reply
      2. Dead Pool Guy

        That’s why my kids will have a wonderful time tonight as we all visit our neighbors in a round of laughing at ourselves.

        Reply
  6. Greg Heyman

    Excellent article and timely given our current society running away from Christianity.

    Reply
  7. Steve Dade

    Another important point must be made. It is often thought that Martin Luther was protesting the Roman Catholic Church in the 95 theses, or that much of his Reformation theology is espoused in them. That is not true. Martin Luther was a good Catholic when he posted his debate challenge, and the topic was purely the subject of “indulgences,” and more specifically the abuse and sale of indulgences.

    Reply
    1. Eric Coda

      Correct. The specific issue was that Johann Tetzel, sent by the pope to earn money for the building of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, was preying on the ignorance of poverty-stricken and superstitious Germans, collecting money from them to buy the release of their relatives from the fires of Purgatory.

      Reply
  8. Bryan Z. Lee

    #3 is my favorite and gives a flavor from where he came from in Luther’s logic.
    Yet it does not mean solely inner repentance; such inner repentance is worthless unless it produces various outward mortification of the flesh

    Reply
    1. Max Foster

      What I find interesting is No. 90 “To repress these very sharp arguments of the laity by force alone, and not to resolve them by giving reasons, is to expose the church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies and to make Christians unhappy.” which tells us a great deal. I think this is the best of them all and one that deserves great discussions among those who are Christians for this is what matters to each of us personally.

      Reply
      1. H. M. Longstreet

        Good comment Max and I agree with you. Exposing the “church” (of any type Protestant, Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, etc.) can be avoided thru the use of scripture and logic, not thru force of arms.

        Reply
        1. Rev. Michael Cain

          Yes, but theologians will argue this point, yet we must understand it as well as we are the lay people.

          Reply

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