Pope Leo X and the selling of indulgences


#21

[quote="gurneyhalleck1, post:13, topic:214192"]
Anyone who actually believes that indulgences were not sold in the Middle Ages...

Exhibit A: Johann Tetzel! "As soon as a coin in the coffer rings / the soul from purgatory springs."

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/42/Johann_tetzel.jpg

How do we think St. Peter's Basillica got built? The $$$ from indulgences. Luther didn't get all riled up for nothing! :p

[/quote]

History presents few characters that have suffered more senseless misrepresentation, even bald caricature, than Tetzel. "Even while he lived stories which contained an element of legend gathered around his name, until at last, in the minds of the uncritical Protestant historians, he became the typical indulgence-monger, upon whom any well-worn anecdote might be fathered" (Beard, "Martin Luther", London, 1889, 210). For a critical scholarly study which shows him in a proper perspective, he had to wait the researches of our own time, mainly at the hands of Dr. Nicholas Paulus, who is closely followed in this article. In the first place, his teaching regarding the indulgences for the living was correct. The charge that the forgiveness of sins was sold for money regardless of contrition or that absolution for sins to be committed in the future could be purchased is baseless. An indulgence, he writes, can be applied only "to the pains of sin which are confessed and for which there is contrition". "No one", he furthermore adds, "secures an indulgence unless he have true contrition". The confessional letters (confessionalia) could of course be obtained for a mere pecuniary consideration without demanding contrition. But such document did not secure an indulgence. It was simply a permit to select a proper confessor, who only after a contrite confession would absolve from sin and reserved cases, and who possessed at the same time facilities to impart the plenary indulgence (Paulus, "Johann Tetzel", 103).


#22

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