Catholic Reaction : Excommunication of Luther and Calvin



Martin Luther was not the first to demand the bible should be regarded as the sole source of religious belief, ERASMUS had done so before, and many among Europe's university students and professors saw it that way. He was not the only person to undertake the attempt of a bible translation into vernacular, D'ETAPLES in France did the same. Church authorities regarded Luther thus not as a single individual, but as an exponent of a movement which in essence was dangerous to the present structure of the church and it's present hierarchy.
Rather than engage in a discussion about a legitimate reform, the church pursued an old strategy of dealing with critics - isolate them and accuse them of heresy. Just as JAN HUS had been summoned to an imperial diet a century before, Luther was summoned to appear in front of the DIET OF WORMS in 1521, where he had to defend his position in front of the Emperor and the Empire's princes. Although the Emperor kept his promise of SAFE CONDUCT and permitted him to return, the diet sentenced him, he was placed under BAN by the Empire and excommunicated by the Catholic Church.
When Calvin published his theses at the UNIVERSITY OF PARIS in 1534, the university establishment had already taken position against the writings of Erasmus, against D'Etaples and anything remotely protestant. King Francis I. himself sided with the church, permitting suspected protestants to be persecuted, without knowing many details. Calvin had to flee immediately, because he was not in line.
As it turned out, the official church policy did not reach everywhere, it's arm was limited, and the reformation proceded anyhow.


EXTERNAL
FILES
Diet of Worms, from www.luther.de; Worms revisited, from the Northwestern Lutheran Magazine; Diet of Worms, from www.bible.org
DOCUMENTS



This page is part of World History at KMLA
Last revised on February 20th 2002