Pope John Paul II and the leaders of the Lutheran World Federation recognize this agreement as a milestone and model on the road toward visible unity among Christians. It is therefore with great joy that we present to the leadership and members of our churches this text, the tenth produced by our United States dialogue, as a further contribution to this careful and gradual process of reconciliation.
The Romanists have, with great adroitness, drawn three walls round themselves, with which they have hitherto protected themselves, so that no one could reform them, whereby all Christendom has fallen terribly. First, if pressed by the temporal power, they have affirmed and maintained that the temporal power has no jurisdiction over them, but, on the contrary, that the spiritual power is above the temporal.
Secondly, if it were proposed to admonish them with the Scriptures, they objected that no one may interpret the Scriptures but the Pope. Thirdly, if they are threatened with a council, they pretend that no one may call a council but the Pope Let us, in the first place, attack the first wall.
It has been devised that the Pope, bishops, priests, and monks are called the spiritual estate; princes, lords, artificers, and peasants, are the temporal estate. This is an artful lie and hypocritical device, but let no one be made afraid by it, and that for this reason: Paul says i Cor.
As for the unction by a pope or a bishop, tonsure, ordination, consecration, and clothes differing from those of laymen-all this may make a hypocrite or an anointed puppet, but never a Christian or a spiritual man.
Thus we are all consecrated as, priests by baptism, as St. For, if we had not a higher consecration in us than pope or bishop can give, no priest could ever be made by the consecration of pope or bishop, nor could he say the mass or preach or absolve.
And to put the matter more plainly, if a little company of pious Christian laymen were taken prisoners and carried away to a desert, and had not among them a priest consecrated by a bishop, and were there to agree to elect one of them and were to order him to baptise, to celebrate the mass, to absolve and to preach, this man would as truly be a priest, as if all the bishops and all the popes had consecrated him.
That is why, in cases of necessity, every man can baptise and absolve, which would not be possible if we were not all priests. This great grace and virtue of baptism and of the Christian estate they have quite destroyed and made us forget by their ecclesiastical law.
Since then the temporal power is baptized as we are, and has the same faith and Gospel, we must allow it to be priest and bishop, and account its office an office that is proper and useful to the Christian community. For whatever issues from baptism may boast that it has been consecrated priest, bishop, and pope, although it does not beseem every one to exercise these offices.
For, since we are all priests alike, no man may put himself forward or take upon himself without our consent and election, to do that which we have all alike power to do. For if a thing is common to all, no man may take it to himself without the wish and command of the community.
And if it should happen that a man were appointed to one of these offices and deposed for abuses, he would be just what he was before. Therefore a priest should be nothing in Christendom but a functionary; as long as he holds his office, he has precedence of others; if he is deprived of it, he is a peasant or a citizen like the rest.
Therefore a priest is verily no longer a priest after deposition. But now they have invented characteres indelibiles, and pretend that a priest after deprivation still differs from a simple layman.
They even imagine that a priest can never be anything but a priest-that is, that he become a layman. All this is nothing but mere ordinance of human invention.
It follows then, that between laymen and priests, princes and bishops, or, as they call it, between spiritual and temporal sons, the only real difference is one of office and function, and not of estate.
Therefore I say, Forasmuch as the temporal power has been ordained by God for the punishment of the bad and the protection of the good, we must let it do its duty throughout the whole Christian body, without respect of persons, whether it strike popes, bishops, priests, monks, nuns, or whoever it may be Whatever the ecclesiastical law has said in opposition to this is merely the invention of Romanist arrogance.
Now, I imagine the first paper wall is overthrown, inasmuch the temporal power has become a member of the Christian body; although its work relates to the body, yet does it belong to the spritual estate. The second wall is even more tottering and weak:An Open Letter to The Christian Nobility of the German Nation Concerning the Reform of the Christian Estate, by Martin Luther () .
Martin Luther Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation () J.H. Robinson, ed. Readings in European History (Boston: Ginn, ), 2: Hanover Historical Texts Project Scanned and proofread by Monica Banas, Sep 15, · I recently read Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, written by Martin Luther, the leader of the Reformation.
The excerpt from it is about how Romanists have built three walls, and how they need to be broken to reform alphabetnyc.com: Resolved. Open Letter to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation Concerning the Reform of the Christian Estate ()1 by Martin Luther THE THREE WALLS OF THE ROMANISTS The Romanists2, with great adroitness, have built three walls Open Letter to the Christian Nobility - Luther 2 3 The canon law.
WORKS OF MARTIN LUTHER - AN OPEN LETTER TO THE CHRISTIAN The Open Letter to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation is is glad for the present state.
Martin Luther, Address To The Nobility of the German Nation () From the Internet History Sourcebooks Project and translated by C. A. Buchheim. Martin Luther, the leader of the Protestant Reformation, was born at Eisleben, Prussian Saxony, November