Tetzel, Johann

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Tetzel, Johann

(yō`hän tĕt`səl), c.1465–1519, German preacher, b. Pirna, Germany. He joined the Dominicans. He became a well-known preacher and was made inquisitor general of Poland at the instance of CajetanCajetan
[Lat.,=from Gaeta], 1469?–1534, Italian prelate, cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, b. Gaeta. His original name was Giacomo de Vio. He joined the Dominicans (c.1484), became general of this order (1508), and was made a cardinal (1517).
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. In 1503 he preached an indulgenceindulgence,
in the Roman Catholic Church, the pardon of temporal punishment due for sin. It is to be distinguished from absolution and the forgiveness of guilt. The church grants indulgences out of the Treasury of Merit won for the church by Christ and the saints.
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 mission for the Teutonic Knights and in 1506 another along the Rhine. In 1517 his promotion of the indulgence for the erection of St. Peter's Church aroused the indignation of Martin LutherLuther, Martin,
1483–1546, German leader of the Protestant Reformation, b. Eisleben, Saxony, of a family of small, but free, landholders. Early Life and Spiritual Crisis

Luther was educated at the cathedral school at Eisenach and at the Univ.
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, whose theses were in part promoted by Tetzel's preaching. In 1518, Tetzel replied to Luther's theses, and their dispute became famous throughout Germany. Tetzel soon retired in bad health to his monastery at Leipzig, where he was overwhelmed by the attacks of his enemies and the censures of the papal legate. Tetzel has been greatly overrated in importance. He had no thought of personal gain from his preaching of the indulgence. His teaching on indulgences was not in accord with the doctrine of the church; the sine qua non in gaining an indulgence is to feel contrition for all sins, but Tetzel did not require that for indulgences gained on behalf of the dead, only for those gained for oneself.
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1) We see this as early as 1517 in Luther's challenge in the Ninety-Five Theses to the practice of selling indulgences by Johann Tetzel.
Those boldface dates are preceded by less prominent but nonetheless decisive times: 1516, when a Dominican named Johann Tetzel led the sale of indulgences that deeply angered Luther; and 1970, when a young Texas woman named Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe) filed suit to obtain an abortion.
Alfred Molina credibly plays the entrepreneurial priest Johann Tetzel, whose indulgence sale in Germany was the spark triggering Luther's latent animus against what he viewed as a decadent church that manipulated simple peasants into believing they could buy time from purgatory for their loved ones.
Armed with Augustine's teachings on grace, Staupitz, and then Luther, criticized the Dominican indulgence preacher Johann Tetzel.
Accordingly, the narrator does not talk about himself but rather about Luther and such contemporaries as Johann Tetzel, exuberantly regaling his Leumull with anecdotes such as the one about a student who is hot to buy an indulgence from Tetzel.