Don’t Conflicting Scholarly Opinions Confuse the Laity?

Bishop Hugo of Constance asked Huldrych Zwingli that question in May of 1522, expressing (feigned) concern for the laity in face of Zwingli’s reformatory innovations.  Here it is in the Bishop’s own words-

To what opinion meanwhile is the simple-minded people [simplex populus] to attach itself?  What shall it embrace?  What approve?  What shall it do?  Whither turn?

A fair enough question which Zwingli answers (along with 68 others) in his brilliantly delightful Archeteles, published just past mid-August of the same year.  Here’s his reply-

The common people, endowed with the harmlessness of the dove, will yield to the Gospel alone, and the less vitiated with the dregs of human conditions, the more capable they are of receiving heavenly teachings, to which they flee for refuge in confidence as to a sacred anchor.

Zwingli was absolutely convinced that if the people (the simplex populus) were given the true Gospel they wouldn’t be confused at all but would find surety and refuge in it.  The traditions of the Church can never be such a refuge.

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