The Smarmy Manipulations of the Papacy

You’ll find this interesting:

On May 25, 1521, after many of the princes had left the Diet of Worms, leaving only four electors present, the emperor called them to his apartments. To their amazement he issued an edict, composed by a papal nuncio, which declared a ban and re-ban against Luther and all his adherents, patrons, and friends. His writings and those of his followers were prohibited and were to be burned and censorship was to be enforced through the faculty of the nearest university.*

Schemes and manipulations were standard operating procedure for the curia.
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*Luther’s works, vol. 43: Devotional Writings II.

“Reformation und Rationalität”

978-3-525-55079-3Am 19. Oktober 1512 wurde Martin Luther unter dem Vorsitz Andreas Bodensteins von Karlstadt zum Doktor der Theologie promoviert. Zeit seines Lebens blieb er der Universität Wittenberg verbunden. Die reformatorische Bewegung ging mit ihm und durch ihn zunächst von akademischen Anliegen aus, die auch von Anfang an das Verhältnis zwischen der Theologie und den anderen Wissenschaften betrafen. Eine Tagung, die in den Räumen der Leucorea am Ort der ehemaligen Universität Luthers stattfand, nahm diesen 500. Geburtstag der Promotion Luthers zum Anlass, die Frage nach dem Verhältnis von Reformation und Rationalität in einem europäischen und interkonfessionellen Horizont zu bedenken.

Die Tagung wurde im Rahmen der Plattform Refo500 organisiert als ein Projekt der Stiftung LEUCOREA, der Theologischen Universität Apeldoorn, der Universität Oslo und der Eberhard Karls-Universität Tübingen und stand unter der Leitung von Prof. Dr. Ernst- Joachim Waschke (Halle-Wittenberg), Prof. Dr. Herman J. Selderhuis (Apeldoorn), Prof. Dr. Tarald Rasmussen (Oslo) und Prof. Dr. Volker Leppin (Tübingen). In diesem Band werden die 14 Referate der Tagung veröffentlicht.

Mit Beiträgen von Andreas J. Beck, Henk van den Belt, Gijsbert van den Brink, Günter Frank, Aza Goudriaan, Joar Haga, Armin Kohnle, Volker Leppin, Heiner Lück, Peter Opitz, Tarald Rasmussen, András Szabó, Helmut G. Walther und Michael Weichenhan.

If You’ve Ever Wondered Why Zwingli and Luther Didn’t Speak German at Marburg…

This news report from Zurich is just a hint towards the radically different type of German spoken even today in Zwingli’s home as compared to the German you’re probably familiar with.

It’s not important that you don’t understand it – it only matters that you notice how so very different it is.

Now imagine the even greater difference between Luther’s quite refined German and the German of the Swiss that existed in the 16th century.

Now it makes perfect sense that they moved to discuss theology in Latin, doesn’t it?

Icky Eck: The Best the Papists Could Manage at Baden

To give modern readers an idea of how despised Eck was in the German speaking areas of Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, allow me a simple comparison:  Eck was to the Reformed and Protestant theologians of his day what Joel Osteen is to Reformed and Protestant Theologians today.  When he appeared at Disputations he was regularly defeated and his normal response was preening self importance.

So, who was this drivel of a man?

eckJohn Eck, more correctly Johann Maier, was born at Eck (now Egg, near Memmingen, south of Augsburg) in Swabia, November 13, 1486. When twelve years of age he began his studies at Heidelberg and continued them at Tuebingen, Cologne and Freiburg. When fourteen years of age he became Magister Artium, when nineteen bachelor of theology, when twenty-two priest at Strassburg, and in 1510, when twenty-four years, doctor and professor of theology in the University of Ingolstadt.

Having studied under humanistic teachers he advocated at first liberal views in theology and philosophy and as early as 1517 entered into friendly relations with Luther. But his unbounded ambition to be regarded as the leading theologian of Germany caused him to become the defender of the papacy and of Catholic doctrine. In 1519, he began his fight against Luther. In 1520, he visited Rome at the invitation of the Pope, when he presented to him his work on the Primacy of Peter against Luther, Ingolstadt 1520, for which he was awarded with the appointment as papal prothonotary. When on June 16, 1520, the papal bull, Exsurge Domine, appeared, in which forty-one propositions of Luther were condemned, Eck was entrusted with its execution in Germany.

At the Diet of Augsburg, Eck took a leading part as defender of the Roman Catholic position. He extracted 404 articles from the works of the reformers and with seventy other theologians collaborated in the Confutatio pontificia, in which the Catholic refutation of Protestantism was embodied.

Against Zwingli and his party, Eck first appeared at the public disputation at Baden, in Catholic territory, twelve miles northwest of Zurich, on May 21–June 18, 1526. The affair ended in favor of Eck, who induced the authorities to suppress the reformation at Baden. The dispution of Berne, which was conducted in the absence of Eck in January 1528, was won for the reformation.

When Zwingli’s account of his faith had been submitted to the emperor in July 1530, it was turned over to Eck for answer. He sat down at once and within three days, as he boasts, he produced what he intended to be a crushing reply. It was completed on July 17, 1530, dedicated to the Cardinal of Liege and printed most likely in the same month at Augsburg.

Eck was more highly esteemed as the champion of the true faith in Rome than in Germany, where he had many enemies. He was accused of drunkenness, immorality, unbounded greed for money and passionate desire for honor and preferment. When Rome did not gratify all his ambitions, he made overtures for peace to the Protestants, but they failed through hatred and contempt by which he was generally regarded.*

John Eck- self aggrandizing Papist tool.**
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*The Latin Works of Huldreich Zwingli. (Vol. 2, pp. 62–63).
** For further reading: Die Einladung Zwinglis an Johann Eck zum Berner Religionsgespräch: Ein ungedruckter Zwinglibrief  — PDF

Johannes Eck, Enchiridion locorum communium adversus Lutherum et alios hostes ecclesiae (1525-1543), mit den Zusätzen von Tilman Smeling O.P. (1529, 1532), hg. von Pierre Fraenkel, in Verbindung mit dem Institut d’Histoire de la Réformation Genf, Münster i.W. 1979 (Corpus catholicorum, Werke katholischer Schriftsteller im Zeitalter der Glaubensspaltung 34). — PDF

Baden: Let the Debate Commence

The Diet of Switzerland took the same stand against the Zwinglian Reformation as the Diet of the German Empire against the Lutheran movement. Both Diets consisted only of one house, and this was composed of the hereditary nobility and aristocracy. The people were not directly represented by delegates of their own choice. The majority of voters were conservative, and in favor of the old faith; but the majority of the people in the larger and most prosperous cantons and in the free imperial cities favored progress and reform, and succeeded in the end.

The question of the Reformation was repeatedly brought before the Swiss Diet, and not a few liberal voices were heard in favor of abolishing certain crying abuses; but the majority of the cantons, especially the old forest-cantons around the lake of Lucerne, resisted every innovation. Berne was anxious to retain her political supremacy, and vacillated. Zwingli had made many enemies by his opposition to the foreign military service and pensions of his countrymen. Dr. Faber, the general vicar of the diocese of Constance, after a visit to Rome, openly turned against his former friend, and made every effort to unite the interests of the aristocracy with those of the hierarchy. “Now,” he said, “the priests are attacked, the nobles will come next.” At last the Diet resolved to settle the difficulty by a public disputation. Dr. Eck, well known to us from the disputation at Leipzig for his learning, ability, vanity and conceit, offered his services to the Diet in a flattering letter of Aug. 13, 1524. He had then just returned from a third visit to Rome, and felt confident that he could crush the Protestant heresy in Switzerland as easily as in Germany. He spoke contemptuously of Zwingli, as one who “had no doubt milked more cows than he had read books.” About the same time the Roman counter-reformation had begun to be organized at the convent of Regensburg (June, 1524), under the lead of Bavaria and Austria.

The disputation was opened in the Catholic city of Baden, in Aargau, May 21, 1526, and lasted eighteen days, till the 8th of June. The cantons and four bishops sent deputies, and many foreign divines were present. The Protestants were a mere handful, and despised as “a beggarly, miserable rabble.” Zwingli, who foresaw the political aim and result of the disputation, was prevented by the Council of Zurich from leaving home, because his life was threatened; but he influenced the proceedings by daily correspondence and secret messengers. No one could doubt his courage, which he showed more than once in the face of greater danger, as when he went to Marburg through hostile territory, and to the battlefield at Cappel. But several of his friends were sadly disappointed at his absence. He would have equalled Eck in debate and excelled him in biblical learning. Erasmus was invited, but politely declined on account of sickness.

The arrangements for the disputation and the local sympathies were in favor of the papal party. Mass was said every morning at five, and a sermon preached; the pomp of ritualism was displayed in solemn processions. The presiding officers and leading secretaries were Romanists; nobody besides them was permitted to take notes. The disputation turned on the real presence, the sacrifice of the mass, the invocation of the Virgin Mary and of saints, on images, purgatory, and original sin. Dr. Eck was the champion of the Roman faith, and behaved with the same polemical dexterity and overbearing and insolent manner as at Leipzig: robed in damask and silk, decorated with a golden ring, chain and cross; surrounded by patristic and scholastic folios, abounding in quotations and arguments, treating his opponents with proud contempt, and silencing them with his stentorian voice and final appeals to the authority of Rome. Occasionally he uttered an oath, “Potz Marter.” A contemporary poet, Nicolas Manuel, thus described his conduct:—

“Eck stamps with his feet, and claps his hands,
He raves, he swears, he scolds;
‘I do,’ cries he, ‘what the Pope commands,
And teach whatever he holds.’ ”

Oecolampadius of Basle and Haller of Berne, both plain and modest, but able, learned and earnest men, defended the Reformed opinions. Oecolampadius declared at the outset that he recognized no other rule of judgment than the Word of God. He was a match for Eck in patristic learning, and in solid arguments. His friends said, “Oecolampadius is vanquished, not by argument, but by vociferation.” Even one of the Romanists remarked, “If only this pale man were on our side!” His host judged that he must be a very pious heretic, because he saw him constantly engaged in study and prayer; while Eck was enjoying rich dinners and good wines, which occasioned the remark, “Eck is bathing in Baden, but in wine.”

The papal party boasted of a complete victory. All innovations were forbidden; Zwingli was excommunicated; and Basle was called upon to depose Oecolampadius from the pastoral office. Faber, not satisfied with the burning of heretical books, advocated even the burning of the Protestant versions of the Bible. Thomas Murner, a Franciscan monk and satirical poet, who was present at Baden, heaped upon Zwingli and his adherents such epithets as tyrants, liars, adulterers, church robbers, fit only for the gallows! He had formerly (1512) chastised the vices of priests and monks, but turned violently against the Saxon Reformer, and earned the name of “Luther-Scourge” (Lutheromastix). He was now made lecturer in the Franciscan convent at Lucerne, and authorized to edit the acts of the Baden disputation.

The result of the Baden disputation was a temporary triumph for Rome, but turned out in the end, like the Leipzig disputation of 1519, to the furtherance of the Reformation. Impartial judges decided that the Protestants had been silenced by vociferation, intrigue and despotic measures, rather than refuted by sound and solid arguments from the Scriptures. After a temporary reaction, several cantons which had hitherto been vacillating between the old and the new faith, came out in favor of reform.*

The documents and debates are available in this new volume from TVZ.

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*History of the Christian church.