Delli Venneri HIST3353 Paper 2 with comments

That counter argument is that the pope was under a

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That counter-argument is that the Pope was under a lot of pressure to assert his power as a secular ruler, and to do what was the best interest of the power of the Catholic Church. Challenges to the authority of the Catholic Church included constant threats from secular kings, heretics and reform groups that might compromise the sanctity of the faith, the growing power of Islam in the eastern world, and power-hungry families, such as the Medicis, that wanted influence within the Church. In light of this, in might seem like it would be in the Pope’s best interest to sell indulgences. Sure, they might a little out of line with Church teachings, but the combined good of having enough money to keep a formidable army in tact and fighting, to build a physically domineering and imposing golden cathedral, and to keep those with power and/or wealth happy by promising them that if they buy these indulgences, and do right by the Church, that they would go to heaven, certainly outweighs the bad in this instance. Instead, however, these points only serve to further reinforce what was wrong with the Catholic Church at the time Luther wrote his 95 Theses. To start off with, the Church should never been involved with warfare anyway, as it is directly against Biblical teachings. The first commandment, “Thou Shall Not Kill”, pretty much wipes out any grey area there. There is always the reasonable defense of the need to defend one’s lands if attacked, but this is proven to be a mute point when one realizes that the Catholic Church was never meant to be an Empire that looked to gain wealth, power, and foreign land. Instead, it was designed to follow the example of Saint Peter, and be a living example of poverty, pacifism, and obedience to God. Thus, I think it is pretty reasonable to assume that the Catholic Church should not have had a standing army, and should not have been concerned with secular matters, as they should not have been holding any lands or been involved in influencing politics. (At least not directly, that is).
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From here on out, the reasons against the justifications for selling indulgences only get stronger and more concrete. As far dealings with heretics, reform groups, or even Muslims, the proper response for a
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  • Spring '12
  • Cornell
  • Martin Luther, Protestant Reformation, The Ninety-Five Theses, Indulgence, 95 Theses

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