Wild Boar in the Vineyard: Martin Luther at the Birth of the Modern World

Theology: Academic and Vernacular > Authority

Letter of Martin Luther to Leo X, Supreme Pontiff: A Tract on Christian Liberty
Martin Luther (1483-1546)
Wittenberg: Rhau-Grunenberg, 1520
Burke Union Rare Pamphlets GT2 1520e

In this preface to his key work On the Freedom of the Christian, Luther appeals directly to the Pope in his own defense and to address the failures of the Church. Luther is variously obsequious and brash in making his case:

“Among those monstrous evils of this age with which I have now for three years been waging war, I am sometimes compelled to look to you and to call you to mind, most blessed father Leo. In truth, since you alone are everywhere considered as being the cause of my engaging in war, I cannot at any time fail to remember you; and although I have been compelled by the causeless raging of your impious flatterers against me to appeal from your seat to a future council...yet I have never been so alienated in feeling from your Blessedness as not to have sought with all my might, in diligent prayer and crying to God, all the best gifts for you and for your see. But those who have hitherto endeavored to terrify me with the majesty of your name and authority, I have begun quite to despise and triumph over.”

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