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1028 [1028]

K. Henry. 8. M. Luther. Certayne Greuances of the Germanes.

riche men, which is clerely prohibited vnto the poore. By these snares of mens lawes and constitutions, not only great summes of money are gathered out of Germanie, and caryed ouer the Alpes, but also great iniquitie is sprong vp amongest Christians: many offences and priuie hatredes do ryse, by reason that poore men do see them selues intangled with these snares, for no other cause, but for that they do not possesse the thornes of the Gospell, for so Christ doth often call riches.

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¶ Tymes forbidden.

MarginaliaTymes of mariage restrayned, & after released for money.THe like practise also is to bee seene in the tymes restrayned from Mariage, by the heades of the Church of Rome, from the Septuagesima Sonday, somewhat before Lent: when as notwithstandyng both the Clergie and the seculers in the meane tyme will liue licenciously, and that openly in the face of all the world. But this interdict procedeth to this effecte: if a man shall presume so to do vpon his own libertie, without cōpounding. But otherwise if there be any hope of money, thē that whiche was before vnlawfull, is nowe made lawfull for euery man to do frely. And this is also an other drawyng net, wherby greate summes of money are dragged out of the Germaines purses. Wherupō also hāgeth an other greuāce as great as this, that in suyng out a dispensation, the state of the poore and of the riche is not indifferently weyed: For where the riche escapeth many tymes for litle or naught, and goeth cleare away, the poore man shal be sure to pay for the shot.

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¶ A complaint for selling remißion of sinnes for money.

BVt especially the burden and greuance 

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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 Byshops of Rome, vnder pretense of buildyng some Churche in Rome, or to warre agaynst the Turke, do make out their Indulgences with their Bulles, persuadyng and promising to the simple people, straunge and wonderfull benefites of remißion a Pœna & culpa, that is, frō all their sinnes, & punishment due for the same, & that not in this life only, but also after this life, to thē that be dead burning in the fire of Purgatory. Through the hope and occasion wherof, true pietie is almost extinct in all Germanie, while euery euill disposed persō promiseth to him self for a litle money, licēce and impunitie to do what him lusteth: Wherupon foloweth fornication, incest, adultery, periury, homicide, robbyng and spoyling, rapine, vsurie, with a whole floud of all mischiefs. &c.

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¶ A complaynt against the Immunites of Clergie men.

Item, who soeuer he bee that hath receaued any ecclesiasticall orders, great or small, therby he doth contend to be freed frō all punishment of the secular Magistrate, how great offence soeuer he do: neither doth he vnaduisedly presume therupon, but is mainteyned in that libertie to sinne, by the principall Estates of the clergie. For it hath oftē bene sene, that wheras by the canonicall lawes, priestes are forbidden to marrye, afterward they diligently labour and go about day and nyght to attempt and try the chastitie of matrones, virgines, and of the wiues, daughters, and sisters of the lay men: and through their continuall instance and labour, partlye with giftes and rewardes, and flatteryng wordes, partlye by their secrete confeßions (as they call them) as it hath bene founde by experience, they bryng to passe that many virgines and matrones, whiche otherwise woulde bee honest, haue bene ouercome and moued to sinne and wickednes: and it happeneth oftentymes, that they doe detayne and keepe awaye the wiues, and daughters from theyr husbandes and fathers, threatnyng them with fire and sword that do require them agayne. Thus thorow their raging lust, they heape and gather together innumerable mischieues and offences. MarginaliaThe licentious lyfe of priestes.It is to be meruailed at, how licentiously without punishment they dayly offende in robberies, murther, accusing of innocentes, burnyng, rapine, theft, and counterfaityng of false coynes, beside a thousand other kindes of mischieues, contrary and agaynst all lawes both of God and mā, not without great offence of others, trustyng onely vpon the fredome and libertie of sinne, whiche they vsurpe vnto them selues by the priuiledge of their Canons. For when as they once perceiue that it is lawfull for them to do what they lust, without controlment, then they do not onely cōtempne the ciuill Magistrates, but also theyr Bishops and superiours, whatsoeuer they either commaūd or forbid them to do.

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And moreouer, to the intent they may be the more mayn-teined in their mischiefe and wickednes, contrarye to all reason and equitie, it is partlye forbidden the Archbishops and Byshops, to condempne these malefactours openlye, excepte they be first disgraded, which muste be done with sumptuousnesse and pompe: wherby it happeneth very seldome, that those annoynted naughty packes, do receiue condigne punishment. Besides that, the bishops are so bound by their Chapters, that they dare not punishe any person whiche hath taken orders by the Canonicall lawes, bee the punishement neuer so light or small. By reason wherof the matter so falleth out, that thorowe this vnequall partialitie betwene the laitye and the clergie, greate hatred, discorde, and dissension is spronge and risen. It is also not a litle to bee feared, that if the clergie which are the cause of this greuance, and of other mischiefes, (whiche dayly they do procede to perpetrate) haue not like lawes, equall iudges, and like punishement, their offensiue lyfe will moue and styrre vp some great tumultes and sedition amongest the common people, not onely agaynst the clergie them selues, but also agaynst the superiors and magistrates, for that they leaue so notorious offences vnpunished.

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Wherfore neceßitie & iustice doth require, that the said preiudiciall priuiledges of the clergie should be abrogate & taken away, & in their place be prouided, ordained & decreed, that the clergie, of what order or degree soeuer they be, shall haue like lawes, like iudgement, & punishment as the laity haue: so that they shall pretend no prerogatiue or fredome in like offēce, more then the lay man, MarginaliaPriestes ought to be subiect to þe same punishmentes, as are the lay people.but that euery one of the clergie offendyng vnder the iudge, where the offence is committed, shall be punished for his facte, accordyng to the measure and qualitie of his offence, in such like maner as other malefactours are, with the punishement appoynted by the common lawes of the Empyre: which thing (without doubt) will please the true ministers of the Churche, such as are honest and learned, that they will not thincke theyr power and authoritie therby in any case deminished. By this meanes it shall be brought to passe, that such as are of the clergie onely by name, and otherwise, naughtie wicked men, through the obedience due vnto theyr Magistrates, shalbe compelled to lyue more honestlye: and all sedition and priuy hatred betwene them and the laity shall be put away, and finally thereby the laity shall be the more moued and styrred to loue and reuerence such of the clergie as be of a sound life.

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¶ Complaynt of excommunication abused.

MarginaliaExcommunication abused in the church of Rome.ITem, at Rome and in other places many Christians are excōmunicate by the Archbishops, bishops, or by their Ecclesiasticall iudges, for prophane causes, through the desire & couetousnes of money, and lucre. The consciences of men which are weake in fayth, therby are burthened and brought vnto desperation: and finally, for money and luker, a matter of no importaunce is made to tend to the destruction both of body and soule, contrarie both to the lawe of God and man, for somuch as no man ought to be excommunicate but onely for heresie, or for some heynous facte perpetrate, nor to be counted as seperate from the Christian Catholicke Churche, as the Scriptures do witnes. Therfore the princes, nobles, states, and laity of the sacred Empire, desire & require the Popes holynes, that as a faithfull Christian & louing father, he will remoue the sayd burthen of excommunicatiō vsed both in the sea of Rome, and also in the seas of all other Archbishops 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 thing, that faithfull Christians for euery light offence, touchyng any temporall goodes or gayne, or for any other worldly matter, but onely for obstinacie of heresie or some great emormitie, should be excluded from almightie God, and the Catholicke congregation.

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¶ The church burdened with number of holy dayes.

MarginaliaThe number of holy dayes to be diminished.MOreouer, the common people are not a litle oppressed with the great nomber of holy dayes, for that there are now so many holy dayes, that the husbandmen haue scarcely tyme to gather the frutes of the earth whiche they haue brought forth with so great labour and trauaile, beyng often in daunger of hayle, rayne, and other stormes: which fruites notwithstāding, if they were not letted with so many holy dayes, they would gather and bryng home without any losse. Besides that, vpō those

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FFf. iiij.
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