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884 [860]

K. Hen. 8. Greeuances of the Germaines conceruing the abuses of the spiritualtie.

also an other drawing net, wherby great summes of mony are dragged out of the Germanes purses. Wherupon also hangeth an other greeuance as great as thys, that in suing out a dispēsation, the state of the poore and of the rich is not indifferently weyed: For where the rich escapeth many times for little or naught, & goeth cleare away, the poore man shalbe sure to pay for the shot.

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A complaint for selling remission of sinnes for money.

BVt especially the burden and greuaunce 

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This complaint was not included in the 1563 edition, probably because it had little relevance to the English situation. It was added to the 1570 edition, possibly because it added background to the initial reason for Luther's opposition to the papacy.

of the Popes Indulgences and Pardons be most importable: when as the Bishops of Rome, vnder pretēse of building some church in Rome, or to warre against the Turke, do make out their indulgences with their bulles: perswading and promising to the simple people, straunge & wonderfull befites of remission a Pœna & culpa, that is, from all theyr sinnes, and punishment due for the same, and that not in this life onely, but also after this life, to them that be deade burning in the fire of purgatorie. Through the hope and occasion whereof, true pietie is almost extinct in all Germanie, while euery euill disposed person promiseth to him self for a litle money, licence and impunitie to do what him lusteth: Wherupon foloweth fornication, incest, adulterie, periurie, homicide, robbing and spoyling, rapine, vsurye, with a whole floud of all mischiefes. &c.

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A complaint against the Immunities of Clergie men.

ITem, whosoeuer hee be that hath receiued any Ecclesiastical orders, great or small, thereby he doth contende to be freed from al punishmēt of the secular magistrate, how great offēce soeuer he do: neither doth he vnaduisedly presume therupon, but is mainteined in that liberty to sinne, by the principal estates of the clergy. For it hath often ben seene, that whereas by the canonicall lawes, priestes are forbidden to marry, afterward they diligently labour and go about day and night to attempt and try the chastitie of matrones, virgines, and of the wiues, daughters and sisters of the lay men: and through their continual instance and labour, partly with gifts and rewards, and flattering wordes, partly by their secrete confessions (as they cal thē) as it hath bene founde by experience, they brynge to passe that many virgins and matrones, which otherwise wold be honest, haue beene ouercome and mooued to sinne and wickednesse: and it happeneth oftentimes, that they do detaine and keepe away the wiues, and daughters frō theyr husbands and fathers, threatning them wyth fire & sword that do require them againe. Thus through theyr raging lust, they heap & gather together innumerable mischieues and offences. It is to be maruailed at, MarginaliaThe lycentious life of Priestes.howe licentiously wythout punishmente they dailye offende in robberyes, murther, accusing of innocents, burning, rapine, theft, and counterfaiting of fals coyne, beside a thousand other kinds of mischieues, contrary and against al lawes both of God and manne, not wythout great offence of others, trusting onely vppon the fredome and liberty of sinne, whych they vsurpe vnto themselues by the priuiledge of their canons. For when as they once perceiue that it is lawfull for them to doe what they lust without controlment, then they doe not onely contemne the ciuill Magistrates, but also theyr Bishops and superiors, whatsoeuer they either cōmaund or forbid them to do.

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And moreouer, to þe intent they may be the more maynteined in their mischiefe & wickednes, contrary to all reason and equitie, it is partly forbiddē the Archbyshops and Byshops, to condemne these malefactours openly, except they be first disgraded, which must be done with sumptuousnes and pompe: wherby it hapneth very seldome, that those annoynted naughty packes, do receiue condigne punishment. Besides that, the bishops are so bound by theyr chapters, that they dare not punish any person which hath taken orders by the Canonicall lawes, be the punishment neuer so light or smal. By reason wherof the matter so falleth out, that through this vnequall partiality betwene the laitie and the Clergie, great hatred, discord, and dissention is sprong and risen. It is also not a litle to be feared, that if the Clergie which are the cause of this greuance, and of other mischiefes, (whych daily they doe proceede to perpetrate) haue not like lawes, equall iudges, and like punishment, their offensiue life will mooue & stirre vp some great tumults and sedition amongst the cōmon people, not only against the Clergy themselues, but also against the superiours and magistrates, for that they leaue so notorious offences vnpunished.

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Wherfore necessity & iustice doth require, that the sayde preiudiciall priuiledges of the Clergie shoulde be abrogate and taken away, and in their place bee prouided, ordained and decreed, that the Clergy, of what order or degre soeuer they be, shal haue like lawes, like iudgement, and punishment as the laitie haue: MarginaliaPriestes ought to be subiecte to the same punishmentes, as are the laypeople.so that they shal pretend no prerogatiue or fredome in like offence, more then the lay mā, but that euery one of the Cleargie offending vnder the iudge, where the offence is committed, shall be punished for hys fact, according to the measure and equalitie of his offence, in such like maner as other malefactours are, with the punishment apoynted by the common lawes of the Empire: which thing (without doubt) wil please the true ministers of the church, such as are honest and learned, that they will not thincke their power and authoritie thereby in any case diminished. By this meanes it shall be brought to passe, that suche as are of the Clergie onely by name, and otherwise, naughty wicked men, through the obedience due vnto their magistrates, shalbe compelled to liue more honestly: and al sedition and priuie hatred betwene them and the laitie shall be put away, and finally thereby the laitie shall be the more mooued and stirred to loue and reuerence such of the Clergie as be of a sounde life.

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¶ Complaint of excommunication abused.

MarginaliaExcōmunication abused in the church of Rome.ITem, at Rome and in other places many Christiās are excōmunicate by the Archbyshops, Byshops, or by their Ecclesiastical iudges, for prophane causes, through the desire and couetousnes of money, & lucre. The cōsciences of men which are weake in fayth, thereby are burthened and brought vnto desperation: and finally, for money & luker, a matter of no importaūce is made to tend to the destruction both of body & soule, contrary both to the law of Eod and mā, for somuch as no mā ought to be excommunicate but onely for heresie, or for some haynous fact perpetrate, nor to be counted as separate frō the Christian Catholicke Church, as the Scriptures do witnes: Therfore the princes, nobles, states, & layty of the Sacred Empire, desire & require the Popes holynes, that as a faythful Christian & louyng father, he will remoue the sayd burthen of excommunication vsed both in the sea of Rome, & also in the seas of all other Archbyshops and Ecclesiasticall Iudges: and finally, decree that no man shall hereafter be excommunicate, but onely for a manifest conuict crime of heresie. For it is to wicked a thyng, that faythfull Christians for euery light offence, touchyng any temporall goodes or gayne, or for any other worldly matter, but onely for obstinancie of heresie or some great enormitie, should be excluded from almighty God, and the Catholicke congregation.

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¶ The Churche burdened with number of holy dayes.

MarginaliaThe nūber of holydaies to be diminished.MOreouer, the common people are not a litle oppressed with the great nūber of holy dayes, for that there are now so many holy dayes, that the husbādmē haue scarcely tyme to gather þe frutes of þe earth which they haue brought forth with so great labour & trauayle, beyng often in daūger of hayle, rayne, and other stormes: which fruites notwithstandyng, if they were not letted with so many holy daies, they would gather & bring home without any losse. Besdies that, vpon those holy daies, innumerable offences are committed & done, rather then God honoured or worshipped. Which thing is so manifest, that it nedeth no witnes. For that cause the estates of the sacred Empire thinke it best & most profitable for the Christian common wealth, that this great nūber of holy dayes, should be diminished, whych ought rather to be celebrate in spirite & veritie, then wyth the externall worship, and be better kept with abstinence from sinne.

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Suspending and halowing of Churchyardes gainfull to the Pope, and chargeable to the people.
MarginaliaHallowing of Churchyardes abused for money.

FVrthermore, if it happē that 2. or more do fight without any weapon in a Churchyard, onely with their fists, or by the heare, that there be neuer so litle bloud shed, by & by þe clergy haue recourse to enterdiment, & doe not suffer any more Christen burials there to be done, before that all the citizens with great pomp & expenses do cause it to be consecrated & halowed againe with no lesse charge, then when at the first, of a prophane place, it was halowed for burial: all which things do redound to the charges & costes of the laity. And though the churches or chapels be neuer so litle

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