It was on this date, January 27, 1343, that Pope Clement VI issued a bull, Unigenitus, officially reaffirming that the Catholic Church can grant remission of sin through indulgences. The sale of indulgences was the chief concern of Martin Luther and the chief cause of the Protestant Reformation. But, the scheme is fortuitous on a number of levels: the Christian can avoid the expense of a journey to Rome in a Jubilee Year; the horrific doctrine of Hell is mitigated by the invention of Purgatory, where minor sins can be expunged before going to heaven; and the Catholic Church can make piles of money by “taxing” the granting of “remittance” of sin: that is, granting a partial pardon, or shortening of torture, in the afterlife…
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Originally published January 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749) It was on this date, August 28, 1749, that Germany's greatest poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, was born in Frankfurt am Main. Initially trained in the law, from age 16, he took to letters under the influence of his mother. He joined the rebels of the Sturm und Drang (storm […]