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  #1  
Old Apr 27, '12, 4:14 pm
Zenas Zenas is offline
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Default Sale of Indulgences in 16th Century

I have heard many times that the money for St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican was raised through the sale of indulgences, and that this abuse partially gave rise to Luther's reformation. Could someone in the know tell me exactly what happened, and whether this is a practice that continues today?
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  #2  
Old Apr 27, '12, 4:19 pm
marty1818 marty1818 is offline
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Default Re: Sale of Indulgences in 16th Century

This may help:
http://www.catholic.com/quickquestio...ll-indulgences
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  #3  
Old Apr 27, '12, 5:53 pm
Curious Convert Curious Convert is offline
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Default Re: Sale of Indulgences in 16th Century

As I understand, they were never quite "sold." If some individuals did sell them, they were acting contrary to the teaching of the Church. It was more like when you get a free gift for making a charitable donation to a nonprofit organization. In the Church's case, it was a special blessing (indulgence) associated with a certain work of penance (supporting the Church). Of course, the regular dispositions required for an indulgence to be effective still remained (contrition for sin, repentance, etc...). Nevertheless, the Church eventually recognized the potential for abuse and long ago ceased administering indulgences that are associated with monetary donations. Now indulgences are associated with works of penances such as prayer, reading the Bible, pilgrimages, etc...

Please correct me if I am wrong on anything folks.
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Old Apr 27, '12, 6:27 pm
SaintPatrick333 SaintPatrick333 is offline
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Default Re: Sale of Indulgences in 16th Century

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenas View Post
I have heard many times that the money for St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican was raised through the sale of indulgences, and that this abuse partially gave rise to Luther's reformation. Could someone in the know tell me exactly what happened, and whether this is a practice that continues today?
That's a common misconception (mainly lauded from the protestant side of the table). Martin Luther split from Catholicism because he disagreed theologically with some things the Church has taught with the Eucharist being one of the biggest ones. The whole indulgence thing is just a step aside from the truth. If it were solely because of that then he would seem the great reformer/hero that restored Christ's Church which had been "corrupted" by evil popes and fallen catholics etc, etc.

You know what most people may not know? Martin Luther on his deathbed renounced the Lutheran beliefs, renounced the very monster he created and returned to the Catholic Church. How there are still people in the lutheran church today bewilders me. But then again look at our mormon/lds brethren. The integrity of their faith crumbles the second you do research on joseph smith. His credibility is below zero and the entire basis for his being a prophet destroyed beyond repair, and yet there are still millions who remain true to that church.

As always, people will believe what they want to believe. All we can do is pray for them.
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  #5  
Old Apr 27, '12, 6:45 pm
Curious Convert Curious Convert is offline
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Default Re: Sale of Indulgences in 16th Century

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Originally Posted by SaintPatrick333 View Post
You know what most people may not know? Martin Luther on his deathbed renounced the Lutheran beliefs, renounced the very monster he created and returned to the Catholic Church. How there are still people in the lutheran church today bewilders me. them.
Just to set the record straight, there is no credible historical record regarding Luther's supposed 'deathbed confession' that I am aware of, as wonderful as that would have been. I wish he had. I am a former Lutheran who joined the Catholic Church after reading the early Church fathers, Catechism, and new testament extensively.


You can check it out this topic here:

http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=53464


Now, back on topic...
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  #6  
Old Apr 27, '12, 9:01 pm
ConstantineTG ConstantineTG is offline
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Default Re: Sale of Indulgences in 16th Century

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curious Convert View Post
As I understand, they were never quite "sold." If some individuals did sell them, they were acting contrary to the teaching of the Church. It was more like when you get a free gift for making a charitable donation to a nonprofit organization. In the Church's case, it was a special blessing (indulgence) associated with a certain work of penance (supporting the Church). Of course, the regular dispositions required for an indulgence to be effective still remained (contrition for sin, repentance, etc...). Nevertheless, the Church eventually recognized the potential for abuse and long ago ceased administering indulgences that are associated with monetary donations. Now indulgences are associated with works of penances such as prayer, reading the Bible, pilgrimages, etc...

Please correct me if I am wrong on anything folks.
I think you are sugar coating it. There was an outright abuse and the Church did proceed to correct it, but it did happen. I did learn that the confessional was invented to prevent penitents from bribing the priest for absolution. Yes, it was a problem back in the day. And the Church did something to rectify it.
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  #7  
Old Apr 28, '12, 9:48 am
JonNC JonNC is offline
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Default Re: Sale of Indulgences in 16th Century

Quote:
=SaintPatrick333;9234136]That's a common misconception (mainly lauded from the protestant side of the table). Martin Luther split from Catholicism because he disagreed theologically with some things the Church has taught with the Eucharist being one of the biggest ones. The whole indulgence thing is just a step aside from the truth. If it were solely because of that then he would seem the great reformer/hero that restored Christ's Church which had been "corrupted" by evil popes and fallen catholics etc, etc.
"Before I drink mere wine with the Swiss, I shall drink blood with the pope" - Luther
Luther always and forever confessed and believed in the real presence, and saved a great amount of his disfavor with the Sacramentarians, such as Zwingli.

The fact is that the 95 Theses were precisely about the abuse of indulgences, and their intent was to spur dialogue within the Church. Now, it is true that Luther came to hold positions that he believed were consistent with the early Church, but at variance with what Rome taught, but it seems inconsistent with history to say that the issue of indulgences is just a side step.


Quote:
You know what most people may not know? Martin Luther on his deathbed renounced the Lutheran beliefs, renounced the very monster he created and returned to the Catholic Church. .
Source, please.

Quote:
How there are still people in the lutheran church today bewilders me.
Doctrine.

Jon
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“This also is certain, that no one should rely on his own wisdom in the interpretation of the Scripture, not even in the clear passages, for it is clearly written in 2 Peter 1:20: ‘The Scripture is not a matter of private interpretation.’
"The best reader of the Scripture, according to Hilary, is one who does not bring the understanding of what is said to the Scripture but who carries it away from the Scripture. "
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  #8  
Old Apr 28, '12, 1:38 pm
Curious Convert Curious Convert is offline
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Default Re: Sale of Indulgences in 16th Century

[quote=JonNC;9235749]"Before I drink mere wine with the Swiss, I shall drink blood with the pope" - Luther
Luther always and forever confessed and believed in the real presence, and saved a great amount of his disfavor with the Sacramentarians, such as Zwingli.

Dear JonC,

I love that quote by Luther! I loved it when I was a Lutheran too. You are right about Luther's original intent with the 95 theses, as well as Luther's belief in the real presence. As you know, his views on the Eucharist as a whole are irreconcilable with Catholic teaching in that he vehemently rejected the sacrificial nature of the mass in which Christ offers himself to the Father in the Holy Spirit through the prayers of the priest, on behalf of His people. This is why the Eucharistic prayers of the Lutherans do not contain the same offertory prayers that the Catholic/Orthodox have historically upheld. Some of the earliest extra-biblical writings (the Didache comes to mind of the top of my head) mention the way we offer sacrifice in the mass. I don't mean to split hairs here, these things really do matter. Luther didn't believe in the need for continual forgiveness, since he taught that baptism also washes away FUTURE sins. This innovation is necessary for his theology to work, but I could never square it with Scripture or the Church fathers. Your input is welcome...

The Lutheran (LCMS) church that I formerly belonged to had the Lord's Supper only every other week, because the congregation said it was 'too Roman' to think they needed it weekly, even though the 'pastor' wanted it weekly. I politely asked him who was shepherding who, told him his congregation was a little 'Romophobic,' and began exploring the issue of Church authority in the Bible and early Church history. I was eventually received into full communion with the Catholic Church, where the apostolic example of daily 'breaking bread and prayers' is upheld. I know my worship is not pleasing to God apart it being joined to Christ's sacrificial offering of Himself to the Father in the Eucharist. Luther was right about the Lord's supper being 'the heart of Christian worship.' I am convinced that he was very wrong about many other non-negotiable beliefs that were upheld in unity by both East and West in the universal Church of the first millennium.

-Peace be with you.
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  #9  
Old Apr 28, '12, 2:23 pm
JonNC JonNC is offline
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Default Re: Sale of Indulgences in 16th Century

[quote]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curious Convert View Post
Dear JonC,
As you know, his views on the Eucharist as a whole are irreconcilable with Catholic teaching in that he vehemently rejected the sacrificial nature of the mass in which Christ offers himself to the Father in the Holy Spirit through the prayers of the priest, on behalf of His people. This is why the Eucharistic prayers of the Lutherans do not contain the same offertory prayers that the Catholic/Orthodox have historically upheld. Some of the earliest extra-biblical writings (the Didache comes to mind of the top of my head) mention the way we offer sacrifice in the mass. I don't mean to split hairs here, these things really do matter.
These are certainly things between us, but I don't believe they are irreconcilable.

Quote:
Luther didn't believe in the need for continual forgiveness, since he taught that baptism also washes away FUTURE sins. This innovation is necessary for his theology to work, but I could never square it with Scripture or the Church fathers. Your input is welcome...
This is not what I've been taught. Luther and Lutherans certainly believe in the need for confession and absolution. Luther references it in both catechisms. Additionally, the confessions themselves go to pains to differentiate what we believe from Calvinist perseverence of saints, and the possiblity of losing justification.


Quote:
The Lutheran (LCMS) church that I formerly belonged to had the Lord's Supper only every other week, because the congregation said it was 'too Roman' to think they needed it weekly, even though the 'pastor' wanted it weekly. I politely asked him who was shepherding who, told him his congregation was a little 'Romophobic,' and began exploring the issue of Church authority in the Bible and early Church history. I was eventually received into full communion with the Catholic Church, where the apostolic example of daily 'breaking bread and prayers' is upheld. I know my worship is not pleasing to God apart it being joined to Christ's sacrificial offering of Himself to the Father in the Eucharist. Luther was right about the Lord's supper being 'the heart of Christian worship.' I am convinced that he was very wrong about many other non-negotiable beliefs that were upheld in unity by both East and West in the universal Church of the first millennium.
It is a fight I continue to wage in my own parish as an elder, though opposition to regular communion hasn't used the "Romish" argument. A Lutheran doesn't even need to go to Catholic Church authority on the importance of regular - at every servie - communion, as the reformers taught this as well.
I thank God that you are now in a place where your faith can grow, that you can grow in grace in word and sacrament.

Quote:
-Peace be with you.
And also with you.

Jon
__________________
“This also is certain, that no one should rely on his own wisdom in the interpretation of the Scripture, not even in the clear passages, for it is clearly written in 2 Peter 1:20: ‘The Scripture is not a matter of private interpretation.’
"The best reader of the Scripture, according to Hilary, is one who does not bring the understanding of what is said to the Scripture but who carries it away from the Scripture. "
Chemnitz
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  #10  
Old Apr 28, '12, 7:19 pm
Curious Convert Curious Convert is offline
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Default Re: Sale of Indulgences in 16th Century

JonNC,

I appreciate your thoughtful response. If I knew how to private message you so as to continue our conversation without hijacking this thread I would, but since I don't, I'll try to explain myself better regarding the difference between the way the two sides view the forgiveness of sins, for the sake of mutual understanding

*Everyone else should probably ignore this and continue discussing indulgences in respect to the OP.*


As I was taught LCMS Lutheran theology, trusting faith is the only subjective human disposition that ultimately determines whether the righteousness of Christ is counted to person or not. Yes, this trusting faith will lead to good works if it is genuine, but at the end of the day, it is trusting faith and trusting faith alone (not it's fruit of repentance) that that is required for us to have Christ's righteousness counted as our personal righteousness. Lutherans rightly acknowledge that salvation can be lost, but they go on to say that this can only happen if the believer loses their faith. Sin itself has nothing to do with loss of salvation for a Lutheran, since that wouldn't fit in with their strict "law/gospel" dichotomy. That would be 'mixing law and gospel,' and that's just not cool with Lutherans.

In Lutheran baptism, the righteousness of Christ himself is offered to you, and counted as yours so long as it is received and held onto by trusting faith throughout life. For this reason, all of your sins: past, present, and future are already forgiven since you possess the righteousness of Christ, so long as you have trusting faith. This is why pious Lutheran advice encourages a guilt ridden Lutheran to 'remember your baptism.' This is also why the Lutheran pastor can stand in front of his congregation each and every Sunday and perform the public absolution of sins via the 'power of the keys.' Everyone there has already been forgiven of all of their sins anyway, as long as they have trusting faith.

As you know, private confession/absolution has almost gone the way of the dinosaur in Lutheranism (although I hear the young Concordians are fighting for its comeback) because it is simply unnecessary in Lutheran theology. I was taught by my Lutheran pastor and my Lutheran theology books that private confession is available not so that I could obtain the forgiveness of the sins I had recently committed, but so that my faith could be strengthened as I am reminded that all of my sins have already been forgiven and Christ's righteousness is counted as my own personal righteousness with no distinction in God's eyes. Why go to private confession then? I could just sit at home and read the bible to know all that. Besides, I get my sins absolved with everyone else every Sunday without having to share the juicy details .

Through Catholic eyes, this is all impossible since scripture places conditions upon an individual's forgiveness that go well beyond trusting faith alone.

A few explicit examples off the top of my head (there are many others in the good book):

*when Jesus says that your sins will not be forgiven if you don't forgive others.
*when Hebrews warns that those who willfully persist in sin have lost the sacrifice for their sins.
*when 1st John warns about the impossibility of persisting in sin and knowing God.
*when James writes faith without works is dead and does not justify.
*when Jesus and Paul and revelations repeatedly warn that we will be judged and separated according to our works.

For Catholics, faith and repentance are required to be personally forgiven, and repentance is essentially an internal change. This can also be summarized as 'faith working through love' as Paul says in Galatians. For this reason, Catholic priests must hear your personal confession and personal contrition for your sins and willingness to undergo works of repentance before he can exercise the authority of Christ to loose you of the sins you have committed since your baptism. Baptism washes away all the sin prior to baptism, not future sin. That is why history records so many in the early Church trying to put off their baptism until they were on their deathbed! Their other alternative would have been confession their personal sins publicly and being assigned stern penances . The church has developed since then in it's application of the sin-forgiving authority that Christ gave and confession/forgiveness is much less embarrassing for us now (but maybe that's not always a good thing )

Of course, this all really comes down to the old 'infused righteousness' vs. 'imputed righteousness' debate, and we often talk over each other and say the same things with different words. Personally, I moved away from the Lutheran point of view as I read and reread the language that scripture itself uses to describe the ongoing process of our justification/salvation. The early church fathers were 'the nail in the coffin.'

-I welcome any rebuke or correction and thank you for the interesting discussion : )

BTW-most of my family is still Lutheran, so friendly little conversations like this that progressively get more and more heated and defensive and aggressive on both sides until an all out brawl breaks loose are quite natural to me. You on the other hand seem too patient to let that happen...
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  #11  
Old Apr 30, '12, 1:42 pm
JonNC JonNC is offline
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Default Re: Sale of Indulgences in 16th Century

=Curious Convert;9237256]JonNC,

I appreciate your thoughtful response. If I knew how to private message you so as to continue our conversation without hijacking this thread I would, but since I don't, I'll try to explain myself better regarding the difference between the way the two sides view the forgiveness of sins, for the sake of mutual understanding

*Everyone else should probably ignore this and continue discussing indulgences in respect to the OP.*


As I was taught LCMS Lutheran theology, trusting faith is the only subjective human disposition that ultimately determines whether the righteousness of Christ is counted to person or not. Yes, this trusting faith will lead to good works if it is genuine, but at the end of the day, it is trusting faith and trusting faith alone (not it's fruit of repentance) that that is required for us to have Christ's righteousness counted as our personal righteousness. Lutherans rightly acknowledge that salvation can be lost, but they go on to say that this can only happen if the believer loses their faith. Sin itself has nothing to do with loss of salvation for a Lutheran, since that wouldn't fit in with their strict "law/gospel" dichotomy. That would be 'mixing law and gospel,' and that's just not cool with Lutherans.

In Lutheran baptism, the righteousness of Christ himself is offered to you, and counted as yours so long as it is received and held onto by trusting faith throughout life. For this reason, all of your sins: past, present, and future are already forgiven since you possess the righteousness of Christ, so long as you have trusting faith. This is why pious Lutheran advice encourages a guilt ridden Lutheran to 'remember your baptism.' This is also why the Lutheran pastor can stand in front of his congregation each and every Sunday and perform the public absolution of sins via the 'power of the keys.' Everyone there has already been forgiven of all of their sins anyway, as long as they have trusting faith.

As you know, private confession/absolution has almost gone the way of the dinosaur in Lutheranism (although I hear the young Concordians are fighting for its comeback) because it is simply unnecessary in Lutheran theology. I was taught by my Lutheran pastor and my Lutheran theology books that private confession is available not so that I could obtain the forgiveness of the sins I had recently committed, but so that my faith could be strengthened as I am reminded that all of my sins have already been forgiven and Christ's righteousness is counted as my own personal righteousness with no distinction in God's eyes. Why go to private confession then? I could just sit at home and read the bible to know all that. Besides, I get my sins absolved with everyone else every Sunday without having to share the juicy details .

Through Catholic eyes, this is all impossible since scripture places conditions upon an individual's forgiveness that go well beyond trusting faith alone.

A few explicit examples off the top of my head (there are many others in the good book):

*when Jesus says that your sins will not be forgiven if you don't forgive others.
*when Hebrews warns that those who willfully persist in sin have lost the sacrifice for their sins.
*when 1st John warns about the impossibility of persisting in sin and knowing God.
*when James writes faith without works is dead and does not justify.
*when Jesus and Paul and revelations repeatedly warn that we will be judged and separated according to our works.

For Catholics, faith and repentance are required to be personally forgiven, and repentance is essentially an internal change. This can also be summarized as 'faith working through love' as Paul says in Galatians. For this reason, Catholic priests must hear your personal confession and personal contrition for your sins and willingness to undergo works of repentance before he can exercise the authority of Christ to loose you of the sins you have committed since your baptism. Baptism washes away all the sin prior to baptism, not future sin. That is why history records so many in the early Church trying to put off their baptism until they were on their deathbed! Their other alternative would have been confession their personal sins publicly and being assigned stern penances . The church has developed since then in it's application of the sin-forgiving authority that Christ gave and confession/forgiveness is much less embarrassing for us now (but maybe that's not always a good thing )

Of course, this all really comes down to the old 'infused righteousness' vs. 'imputed righteousness' debate, and we often talk over each other and say the same things with different words. Personally, I moved away from the Lutheran point of view as I read and reread the language that scripture itself uses to describe the ongoing process of our justification/salvation. The early church fathers were 'the nail in the coffin.'

-I welcome any rebuke or correction and thank you for the interesting discussion : )

BTW-most of my family is still Lutheran, so friendly little conversations like this that progressively get more and more heated and defensive and aggressive on both sides until an all out brawl breaks loose are quite natural to me. You on the other hand seem too patient to let that happen...[/quote]

Not sure if new members can use the PM system, but I'll send you one to see if it works.
Just let me know. Or, send me an email.

Jon
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“This also is certain, that no one should rely on his own wisdom in the interpretation of the Scripture, not even in the clear passages, for it is clearly written in 2 Peter 1:20: ‘The Scripture is not a matter of private interpretation.’
"The best reader of the Scripture, according to Hilary, is one who does not bring the understanding of what is said to the Scripture but who carries it away from the Scripture. "
Chemnitz
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  #12  
Old Apr 30, '12, 2:27 pm
tafan tafan is offline
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Default Re: Sale of Indulgences in 16th Century

Quote:
Originally Posted by ConstantineTG View Post
I did learn that the confessional was invented to prevent penitents from bribing the priest for absolution..
You learned an outright lie. Prior to the 6th or 7th century, the sacrament of confession was a public affair. We have Irish monks to thank for the practice of private and (the possibility of) anonymous confessions. We also have them to thank for the sacrament being available to us on a regular basis. But it had NOTHING to do with bribing a priest for absolution. It had to do with the fact that people had quit going to seek absolution because it was a horribly humiliating process.


From the wikipedia article on Celtic Christianity:

"PenitentialsIn Ireland a distinctive form of penance developed, where confession was made privately to a priest, under the seal of secrecy, and where penance was given privately and ordinarily performed privately as well.[49] Certain handbooks were made, called “penitentials”, designed as a guide for confessors and as a means of regularising the penance given for each particular sin.

In antiquity, penance had been a public ritual. Penitents were divided into a separate part of the church during liturgical worship, and they came to mass wearing sackcloth and ashes in a process known as exomologesis that often involved some form of general confession.[50] There is evidence that this public penance was preceded by a private confession to a bishop or priest (sacerdos), and it seems that, for some sins, private penance was allowed instead.[51] Nonetheless, penance and reconciliation was prevailingly a public rite (sometimes unrepeatable), which included absolution at its conclusion.[52]

The Irish penitential practice spread throughout the continent, where the form of public penance had fallen into disuse. Saint Columbanus was credited with introducing the medicamenta paentitentiae, the “medicines of penance”, to Gaul at a time when they had come to be neglected.[53] Though the process met some resistance, by 1215 the practice had become established as the norm, with the Fourth Lateran Council establishing a canonical statute requiring confession at a minimum of once per year.

"
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Old May 1, '12, 9:27 am
Todd Easton Todd Easton is offline
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Default Re: Sale of Indulgences in 16th Century

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenas View Post
I have heard many times that the money for St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican was raised through the sale of indulgences, and that this abuse partially gave rise to Luther's reformation. Could someone in the know tell me exactly what happened, and whether this is a practice that continues today?
The buying and selling of indulgences was then and still is today considered simony and contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church. See Acts 18:18-23.
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