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51. Christians are to be taught that the pope would and should wish to give of his own money, even though he had to sell the basilica of St. Peter, to many of those from whom certain hawkers of indulgences cajole money.

Luther truly believed that the Pope was placed by God over the Church. He was to care for the people and the Clergy of the Church in the place of God. Therefore Luther believed that the money that it was going to take to build the Basilica of St. Peters could and should be better spent on the lives of the poor people of the church. Unfortunately at the time of Luther the Popes had come to believe that God placed them over all of the church for their own benefit. Therefore they did not think that the rules of the church applied to them (they did whatever they felt like doing gluttony, drinking, sex with whomever they wished). They believed that all the property of the church and the treasury of the church was their personal fortune (they built palaces, funded wars, they bought art and even artists). They believed that God had placed them over all the church so that all of the people might serve the needs of the Pope.

In the next few years Luther would come to understand that indulgences were not the problem, but rather a symptom of a much deeper problem in the church. That problem of materialism and a worldly point of view has continued to plague the church right down to the present times. Our churches today have fallen into the same trap of thinking that the buildings and the holdings of the church are more important than the needs of the people of their communities.

Prayer

Oh Lord our God come into my life and make me whole. Give me the freedom to live within the resources that You have placed in my life and help me to see that You have blessed me so that I might be a blessing to others. In Christ my Lord, Amen.