He nailed it.
490 years ago today, on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed a 95-thesis treatise to the door of Wittenberg Cathedral. It was the igniting spark for the Protestant Reformation, a division within Christianity that echoes through the centuries to the present day.
They were some pretty big assertions, denying the supremacy of the Pope, the validity of confession and most penance, the selling of papal indulgences, and a host of other things that didn’t sit too well with the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.
It should be noted that Father Martin Luther wasn’t aiming for a separation from the Church – he wanted to reform the one that he was in. Luther wanted the Bible in the vernacular and wanted to stop the selling of indulgences (and he thought that the Pope was simply ignorant of excess; in Thesis 50 he writes, “if the pope knew the exactions of the pardon-preachers, he would rather that St. Peter’s church should go to ashes, than that it should be built up with the skin, flesh and bones of his sheep.”) Luther wasn’t a Lutheran.
History is full of ironies like that. Happy nailing day.