Question 1: Luther’s Thesis and Threat to the Papacy and Roman Catholic Teachings
“Repent,” our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said (Mt 4:17), implying that believers should repent throughout their lives. This thesis is a threat to the pontificate and the Roman Catholic Teaching as it tends to validate the Roman Catholic Church’s fundamental procedures and beliefs. Particularly it challenges the ideology that salvation is earned through good deeds and instead proposes that repentance is vital to salvation. Additionally, the thesis also challenges indulgences procedures, which is a critical source of revenue for the church (Luther 2019). The sale of indulgences is one of the main ways the church could raise money, and Martin Luther challenging the practice would have a consequential impact on the church.
This word is not to be confused with the sacrament of penance, confession, and satisfactio, which is administered by clergy. The thesis is a threat to the papacy and the Roman Catholic Teaching as it leads to questions about the clergy’s power to administer the sacrament of reparation. The sacrament is the primary portion of the Roman Catholic, and examining it is considered a threat to the whole foundation of faith (Anthony and Donald 372). Consequently, it also challenges the pope’s authority, who is the head of the Roman Catholic Church. Questioning the pope and clergy is seen as a direct threat to the steadiness of the church.
Yet neither can it be understood as referring to the repentance that natural terror produces at the thought of eternal punishment.
The thesis unswervingly challenges the catholic belief that remorse has to be conveyed by the desire for eternal punishment to be considered true repentance. Luther claims that such views are unreasonable and contradict the nature of God as an affectionate and merciful Lord. However, it is a dangerous belief for Martin Luther to hold as it questions the central basis of the catholic penitent system. If repentance does not need the wish for eternal punishment, what is the reason for confession and absolution? If confession and forgiveness are not essential for salvation, what is the end of the papacy and the roman catholic church? This thesis was a direct attack on the authority of the pontificate and the Roman Catholic church.
Contrition is necessary for obtaining forgiveness from God, but it does not receive forgiveness on its own. Instead, forgiveness comes when repentance is accompanied by faith and hope in God’s mercy. There are various ways the thesis could be seen as a threat to the pontificate and the Roman Catholic teaching. Firstly, it suggests that remorsefulness cannot help obtain forgiveness from the Lord. Thus, it can be interpreted as a challenge to the papacy’s supremacy as it claims to have the dominance to forgive sins. It also suggests that absolution comes from God’s divinity and not papacy, which would be a direct challenge to the absolution authority. Consequently, it also promotes faith and hope in the Lord’s mercy which would be interpreted as a problem with the Roman Catholic Teaching that salvation comes from good works.
Question 2: Forbidden Books and Response to Reformation Challenges
In my opinion, establishing the Index of the Forbidden Books was not a good response to challenge the reformation practices. The founding of the index of prohibited books was not a perfect response to the challenge of the reformation. The main reasons were that; the catholic church was trying to control what people could read and think. Additionally, it was also a way of suppressing and spreading the new ideas challenging the catholic church’s supremacy. Consequently, it was ultimately not effective in discontinuing the spread of the reformation.
Anthony Grafton and Donald Bell. “The West: A New History”, pp. 370-398; 433-434
Luther, Martin. “Martin Luther’s 95 Theses.” Luther.de, 2019, www.luther.de/en/95thesen.html.