Secular Indulgences

In the fall of 1517, theologian Martin Luther begin the Protestant Reformation in part based on his critique of indulgences offered by the Catholic Church. At the time, a friar named Johann Tetzel had been encouraging the faithful to buy indulgences, which entitled the purchaser of forgiveness for sins. Tetzel had been selling the indulgences to raise money to build St. Peter’s Basilica.

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