On January 3, 1521, Pope Leo X excommunicated the German priest Martin Luther. This meant Luther was no longer a recognized member of the Catholic Church.Months earlier, Luther had written a pamphlet criticizing many aspects of the church, including nepotism, corruption, and the sale of indulgences. Indulgences were grants that could be bought to allow the buyer to escape spiritual punishment for misdeeds.Luther had been warned that his views may lead to his excommunication, and refused to recant them. After his excommunication, the church demanded he further defend his views at a meeting in Worms, Germany—the so-called “Diet of Worms.” Luther again refused to recant, allegedly saying, “Here I stand. I can do no other.”In spite of his excommunication, Luther remained very popular. His outspoken belief in reform inspired the Reformation. The Reformation split Christianity into Catholic and Protestant (taken from the word protest) denominations. Luther himself organized a new church based on his interpretation of basic Catholic traditions.Today, the Lutheran church is the second-largest Protestant denomination in the world. (Only the Anglican Church has more members.) The countries with the most Lutherans are Germany, Sweden, Ethiopia, and Indonesia.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry alleged Adjective
supposed or presumed.
view or interpretation.
having to do with the Christian denomination with the Pope as its leader.
religion based on the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.
dishonest or willing to take money for favors.
to find fault with something.
branch of a church or larger spiritual faith.
to cut off or expel from a church.
money given to a person or group of people to carry out a specific project or program.
temporary pardon, issued by the Catholic Church, for punishment due for a sin.
to influence to act.
way of understanding an event or set of facts.
illegal or immoral action.
professional favor or preference given to family and friends.
short publication stapled or folded together.
leader of the Catholic Church.
title of religious leader in many faiths.
Christian who is not a follower of Catholic or Orthodox faiths.
penalty inflicted for a crime or offense.
to formally withdraw a statement.
reform noun, verb
change or improvement of a policy or process.
(16th century) religious movement to reform the Catholic Church and resulting in the formation of Protestant churches.
beliefs, customs, and cultural characteristics handed down from one generation to the next.