f The Wittenberg Door: John Huss - Part 2 (Conclusion)

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Monday, March 24, 2014

John Huss - Part 2 (Conclusion)

Continued from part 1:

The Roman Catholic Church Responds

The Archbishop of Prague became angry because he considered Huss to be spreading Wycliffe’s doctrines; he was also angry because of a more personal matter: Huss supported a different papal claimant than the archbishop.

The Archbishop took his complaint to the pope who ordered him to root-out the heresy. Thus, in 1410, the Archbishop excommunicated Huss for insubordination and ordered his books burned.

Papal Indulgences

Huss was very popular among the people; therefore, when news of his excommunication hit the streets, a great tumult started. Huss added fuel to the fire by striking out against the pope’s sale of indulgences.

Pope Gregory XII was under the king of Naples' protection. This made the fight against Pope Gregory a costly one. Therefore, to raise the needed money, Pope John XXIII began selling indulgences (a way to take time off of one’s sentence in purgatory). Huss, who formerly believed in indulgences, began preaching against the practice.

Severe consequences followed: The pope immediately excommunicated him; he lost the support of his king; and Prague fell under a papal edict. Huss’ only recourse was to flee the city to a castle in southern Bohemia near Tabor—and there he stayed for two years producing his major works.

The Council of Constance

In 1414, Huss was ordered to appear before the Council of Constance (Switzerland) to justify his views. Although guaranteed safe-conduct by the Holy Roman Emperor, the council ordered him imprisoned and put on trial. After suffering a sever illness and being nearly starved to death, he was tried and found guilty of not holding that the papacy was a Divinely ordained office. On July 6, 1415, Huss was burned at the stake.

Huss’ Legacy

The followers of Huss, known as the Czech Brethren and later as the Moravians, continued his work. The Moravian Church survives to this day.

Because of his teachings and his courage in the face of a horrible death, Huss is considered a forerunner to the Protestant Reformation. As a matter of fact, Martin Luther was charged by the Roman Catholic Church of reviving the errors of Huss. What an honor.

--The Catechizer

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