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Posting a notice for such an event on the doors of the church, which was affiliated with the university, was a common practice at the time.Luther's critique of indulgences was not just academic.More important, the Holy See quickly discerned in Luther's theses a broader challenge to its power, since the authority for granting indulgences ultimately rested with the pope.
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Rome dispatched high-ranking clergy and theologians to debate Luther in disputations and offer him the opportunity to retract or mollify his views.
The debate at Leipzig in July 1519, documented here, was a turning point.
Luther was especially angered by the flagrant hawking of indulgences in German lands by the papal agent Johannes Tetzel, who is credited with the phrase, "When the coin in the coffer rings/the soul from purgatory springs." For Luther, this monetization of faith was an abuse of church practice in his jurisdiction that he was duty-bound to report to his superiors.
He did so on the same day he posted the theses, including a copy of them with a letter to his archbishop, Albrecht of Mainz.
Luther paired his critique of the church with a call to reform Germany's secular institutions.
A number of Germany's many princes, knights, and other nobles bristled under Roman influence and saw Luther as a potential champion of German freedom from it.
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