By J. MacCaffrey
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Extra resources for History of the Catholic Church
In his /Address to the Nobles of Germany/, in his works /On the Mass/, /On the Improvement of Christian Morality/, and /On the Babylonian Captivity/, he proclaimed himself a political as well as a religious revolutionary. There was no longer any concealment or equivocation. The veil was lifted at last, and Luther stood forth to the world as the declared enemy of the Church and the Pope, the champion of the Bible as the sole rule of faith, and the defender of individual judgment as its only interpreter.
In this difficult situation his friends determined to invoke the protection of the Elector Frederick of Saxony, the founder and patron of Wittenberg University. Alarmed by the danger that threatened this institution from the removal or excommunication of one of its most popular professors, and anxious to gain time, Frederick requested the Pope to refer the matter for decision to some German bishop or to a neutral university. In reply to this request Leo X. , 1518). Luther, having armed himself with a safe conduct, went to Augsburg to meet the papal representative, who received him very kindly, and exhorted him to withdraw his statements and submit.
They claimed to be special messengers from God, gifted with the power of working miracles, and favoured with visions from on high. In vain did Luther attack them as heretics, and exhort his lieutenants to suppress them as being more dangerous than the Papists. Carlstadt, unable to answer their arguments from Scripture, went over to their side, and even Melanchthon felt so shaken in his opposition that he appealed to Wartburg for guidance. The students at the university became so restless and turbulent that Duke George of Saxony began to take the prompt and decisive action necessary for dealing with such a dangerous situation.