Luther attacked the abuse of indulgence sales in sermons, in counseling sessions, and, finally, in the , which rang out the revolutionary theme of the Reformation: “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent,’ He willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance” (Thesis 1).
By 1520, Luther announced that baptism is the only indulgence necessary for salvation.
Pope Julius II, for example, granted a “jubilee indulgence” in 1510, the proceeds of which were used to build the new basilica of St. In 1515, Pope Leo X commissioned Albert of Brandenburg to use the Dominican order to sell St. Albert owed a large sum to Rome for having granted him a special dispensation to become the ecclesiastical prince ruling three territories (Mainz, Magdeburg, and Halberstadt).
He borrowed the money from the Fugger bank in Augsburg, which engaged an experienced indulgences salesman, the Dominican John Tetzel, to run the indulgences traffic; one half of the proceeds went to Albert and the Fuggers, the other half to Rome.
Luther was calling for a "disputation on the power and efficacy of indulgences out of love and zeal for truth and the desire to bring it to light." He did so as a faithful monk and priest who had been appointed professor of biblical theology at the University of Wittenberg, a small, virtually unknown institution in a small town.
Some copies of the theses were sent to friends and church officials, but the disputation never took place.
These practices had troubled a monk and a standout professor there at Wittenberg—the aforementioned Martin Luther. This is the document that’s at the beginning of Protestantism; and this is the document that we celebrate Reformation Day week.
So, Martin Luther, on October 31, 1517 drew up a list of points for debate and he had 95 in total. I thought for Reformation Day this year we would talk about the Top 5 of the 95.
By the late eleventh century it had become customary to issue indulgences to volunteers taking part in crusades to the Holy Land against the Muslims; all sins would be forgiven anyone participating in such a dangerous but holy enterprise.
After 1300 a complete commutation of satisfaction ("plenary indulgence") was granted to all pilgrims visiting holy shrines in Rome during “jubilee years” (at first every hundred years, and, eventually, every twenty-five years).