stevehut: "It was 95, and many of them actually affirmed Catholic doctrine. Main issue was the sale of indulgences. Look it up."
Thanks stevehut..To understand the theory of indulgence in the Roman Church is to find that the remission of the penalty (vs. guilt) of sin; i.e., temporal vs. eternal penalty. In Roman Catholic dogma, the indulgence called for 1 (contribution, 2 (confession, and, 3 (contribution.
In Roman Catholic practice and popular teaching, the indulgence was often offered as forgiveness of guilt, and often presented on such a way that with sufficient contribution, contrition and confession might be minimized or waived completely. Indulgence was also often presented as permission for future sins, although this is not stated in Roman dogma.
The indulgence here on earth replaced time in Purgatory. The papacy found that it was a convenient and efficient way to raise money.
Why the indulgence? The pope wanted money to build St. Peters cathedral in Rome. Albert of Brandeburg wanted to purchase multiple ecclesiastical offices. Pope Leo X said that he could borrow the money from the Fuggers, pay cash to the pope, and they take over the sale of indulgences for St. Peters, and deduct enough money to pay himself back.
The proclamation of this indulgence was entrusted to the Dominican Tetzel, an experienced vendor. As he approached a town, he was met by the dignitaries, who then entered with him in solemn procession. A cross bearing the papal arms preceded him, and the pope's bull of indulgence was borne aloft on a gold-embroibeled velvet cushion. The cross was solemnly planted in the market place, and the sermon began. "As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, The soul from purgatory springs."
Luther saw through this papal scam and opposed it. In October of 1517, Luther wrote out the Ninety-Five Theses and tacked them to the church door at Wittenburg. The Thesis was originally written in Latin and could not be read by the common man. Luther, however, had in mind more than academic debate. He later distributed the Thesis among the people in the vernacular. Luther was concerned that his people were being led to pay for the corrupt office of Albert of Brandenberg and that they were being taught to think of forgiveness in monetary terms.
The Theses were widely read and the sale of indulgences dropped off drastically. If this had not happened, little or nothing would probably have come of the whole business. Because of the loss of income, champions for the Roman cause were aroused. Professor Eck of Ingelstadt, a former friend and fellow student of Luther, put himself forward to defend the system of indulgences. Since Eck defended the practice soley on the ground of authority, Luther was forced to examine the whole question of authority. This led him to realize that there is neither scriptural nor historical support for the claims to Roman authority, and ultimately led him to break with Rome. Up to this time, Luther had never considered the more fundamental question of papal and ecclesiastical authority.
An interesting note: In his debate with Professor Eck on the question of authority, Luther argued that the early cCurch in the west did not accept the authority of the Roman bishop and that the Church in the east never did. Eck accused Luther of following the "damned and pestiferous errors of John Wyclif," and "the pestilent errors of John Hus, who claimed that Peter neither was nor in the head of the Holy Catholic Church," Luthe denined Counciliar authority and pointed out that Councils had contradicted each other. He affirmed the authority of Scripture.