Johann Tetzel - Seller of Indulgences

Johann Tetzel - Seller of Indulgences Law and Politics Medieval Times Social Studies Philosophy Tragedies and Triumphs

Johann Tetzel was a German Dominican friar who told people that if they bought indulgences, their sins would be forgiven. 

In reality, the money which Tetzel raised was used by Albert of Brandenberg (1490-1545)—the Archbishop of Mainz—to pay off favors he owed to Pope Leo X. 

The Pope, in turn, used the money to help build St. Peter's Basilica, in Rome.

Martin Luther was incensed by these actions.  Many of his complaints—from his "95 Theses"—directly relate to these "indulgences" which he considered a fraud on the people:

21.  Hence those who preach indulgences are in error when they say that a man is absolved and saved from every penalty by the pope's indulgences.

27.  There is no divine authority for preaching that the soul flies out of purgatory immediately when the money clinks in the bottom of the chest.

33.  We should be most carefully on our guard against those who say that the papal indulgences are an inestimable divine gift, and that a man is reconciled to God by them.

66.  The treasures of the indulgences are the nets which to-day they use to fish for the wealth of men.

67.  The indulgences, which the merchants extol as the greatest of favours, are seen to be, in fact, a favourite means for money-getting.

This image of Tetzel, from a German-language book about him (and related subjects), clearly associates him with the selling of indulgences.

Click on the image for a much-better view.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5183stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Nov 21, 2019

Media Credits

Image online, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.



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"Johann Tetzel - Seller of Indulgences" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Nov 21, 2019.
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