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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: February ::
Re: Wittenberg and Paris
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0308  Thursday, 8 February 2001

[1]     From:   Paul Rhodes <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 07 Feb 2001 17:57:18 -0600
        Subj:   Indulgences

[2]     From:   David Bishop <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 7 Feb 2001 21:09:49 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0286 Re: Wittenberg and Paris

[3]     From:   Dennis Taylor <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 07 Feb 2001 17:30:00 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 12.0286 Re: Wittenberg and Paris


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul Rhodes <
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Date:           Wednesday, 07 Feb 2001 17:57:18 -0600
Subject:        Indulgences

Graham Bradshaw wrote:

>Finally: shouldn't we regard the somewhat belated invention of purgatory
>as the most spectacularly profitable confidence trick in the history of
>the world? God, what a sales pitch! As St Thomas Aquinas genially
>promised, the greatest agony you can imagine in this world will be less
>than the smallest agony in purgatory--but wait folks, you can reduce the
>time you and your dear late loved ones spend in this providential
>funhouse by giving us MONEY!  Has any "atheist" ever been so wicked and
>cruel?

As one who tries to be a devout, orthodox Papist, I should respond to
this, even though it may have little or nothing to do with the putative
topic of this list (Of course, I think it has a lot to do with
Shakespeare for I naturally believe Shakespeare was a life-long
recusant.). Purgatory is not an invention but a reality, otherwise the
prayers for the dead mentioned throughout Holy Scripture would make no
sense.  Now, of course, one can debate whether or no the Bible is a
legitimate authority or simply a compendium of Hebrew Myths, but if one
does accept the Bible as an authority, I really don't know how one can
avoid a concept of Purgatory.  This is just one reason why Protestantism
will remain forever incomprehensible to me.

Now, as to the matter of indulgences, one must at the very least make a
distinction between the use and abuse of indulgences and keep in mind
that abusus non tollit usus.  The offering of indulgences by legitimate
ecclesiastical authorities was never an abuse and, in fast, is done to
this day.  The sale of indulgences was indeed an abuse and done most
notoriously by Tetzel.  Luther was absolutely right to go after him.
That, by the way, was the only thing he was right about.  Now, some
overly zealous Papists will insist that even the sale of indulgences was
not an abuse for indulgences were never sold but granted for the giving
of alms.  But this, of course, is nothing but linguistic casuistry that
only gives Popery the bad name it really does not deserve.  I will agree
with Luther and decry the indulgence trade, but it is very interesting
that none other than the Jewish turned Protestant Heinrich Heine penned
a very lively and cogent defense of the indulgence trade, which I
include as a postscript below..

Pax,
Paul S. Rhodes

[From the First Book of Heinrich Heine

 

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