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The Reformation Defined – The Diet of Augsburg (1530)

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§ 61. Although in the holy Christian churches no General Council has been held for many years, it is highly necessary that one be held now, so that the aforementioned errors, abuses, and failings that afflict Our holy Faith shall be reformed and brought to a better condition and order. Another reason is that the enemy of the Christian faith, the Turk, has taken over many Christian kingdoms and will take over even more, if no prompt action is taken and the situation is not handled effectively as one of great emergency. Such a Council has been humbly requested and prayed for, without distinction, by Us and Ours and the Holy Empire's electors, princes, and estates and envoys gathered here at Augsburg, both by those who hold with Us Our ancient, true Christian faith as it has always been maintained by the holy Christian churches, and by those who have undertaken the aforementioned innovations. We [ . . . ] have decided to undertake a Christian reformation and reinforcement of the Christian faith and to ask His Holiness to call, within six months of the end of this Diet, a General Christian Council to a suitable meeting place.

§ 62. In many Imperial Recesses issued in the past, it is clearly expressed and provided, that interests, rents, dues, and tithes must be paid to those to whom there are owed, whether clergy or laity, without resistance or obstruction, and that they should not be hindered from collecting the tithes owed them. We have learned, however, that in some places these prescriptions have not been enforced. It pertains to Us, as behooves a Roman emperor, to see that no one is deprived of what is his illegally or by force. We therefore order and desire that every ruler, whether spiritual or temporal, and his subjects, both clerical and lay, shall retain their rents, dues, interests, tithes, rights, and prerogatives, and that no one shall deprive another of them or disturb or hinder their possession, but that each shall be paid and allowed to take possession of his inheritance, his perpetual and other interests, dues, tithes, rights, and other prerogatives.

[ . . . ]

§ 64. We [ . . . ] command that this, Our Recess, shall be fully obeyed and enforced in all of its stipulations, provisions, and conceptions regardless of earlier Recesses enacted by our previous Imperial Diets, insofar as these Recesses and ordinances may be detrimental to the faith. And We command it despite any objections, opposition, and appeals that have been or may be directed to a General Council, to Us, or to anyone else. [ . . . ]

Source of original German text: Ruth Kastner, ed., Quellen zur Reformation 1517-1555. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1994, pp. 501-20.

English translation by Thomas A. Brady Jr.

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