One of the first scenes in the motion picture Luther is Martin’s first mass; during the ritual, wine is spilled as Luther raises the chalice. The wine is supposed to represent the blood of Christ, by spilling the wine, the ritual is tainted-which in turn left Martin’s father felling ashamed and embarrassed of his son. Shortly after he is sent to Rome by his spiritual father, Martin discovers how corrupt the city truly is. He describes Rome as being a circus because of the horrendous amounts of prostitution and poverty he witnessed. Another facet of Rome which bothered Martin was the indulgences that were being sold, Martin was of the belief that one should not simply be able to pay for acceptance into heaven. These indulgences provided the church with the necessary funds it needed to construct sacred buildings and gave hope to the people who purchased them. Martin returns to his spiritual father and is once again sent away, this time to Wittenberg so that he may study and teach. After arriving in Wittenberg, Martin discovers that a young boy has committed suicide and decides to bury him on sacred grounds. This burial opposed the church’s ideology because they viewed suicide as being an unforgiveable sin.

John Tetzel later arrives to Martin’s town and begins to sell indulgences; Martin becomes infuriated and posts the 95 theses on the door of a church. After posting the 95 theses, Martin is questioned by the church and threatened with excommunication, the worst punishment the Catholic Church can impart to one of its members. Martin is asked to recant his works and essentially his opinion on indulgences, to which he says no. After his trial, Martin is forced into hiding but manages to translate the Bible into German, which allowed many Germans to read it for themselves instead of relying on the church’s interpretation. Martin Luther was certainly a critical thinker and a man ahead of his time; he recognized the church’s contradictions and corruption and risked his very life to expose them. Is false hope worth deceit?

Written by:

Fernando Lopez

 

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