If it had happened today, the still Prince Charles would have had immediate news of Luther’s ’95 Theses’. In his time, it took much longer to learn about this
History likes to play games, especially when it comes to such historic moments as the publication of Luther’s 95 Theses, which caused a great deal of uproar at the time, and which caught the then Prince Charles in Becerril de Campos (Palencia) on his way to Valladolid.
Few moments are as iconic – and historical – as the publication of Luther’s ’95 Theses‘ on October 31st 1517. Legend has it that the monk himself nailed them to the door of Wittemberg Cathedral so that they would be visible to everyone.
Today we know that this action, with which Luther discredited the papal doctrine on indulgences, and which opened up a theological debate that would lead to the Reformation and consequently to the emergence of various traditions within Christianity – Lutheranism, Presbyterianism and Anabaptism – was not such. A legend remains, since the truth is that the monk only wrote a letter to the Church of Rome. The letter was entitled “Questioning the Power and Effectiveness of Indulgences by Martin Luther” (in Latin: Disputatio pro declaratione virtutis indulgentiarum). His later success, which even surprised him, meant that this letter was printed in large numbers and distributed in a similar way.
This letter was not known to Prince Charles, heir to the throne of Castile, who rested in Becerril de Campos (Palencia) on his journey to Valladolid to take possession of the crown. There, according to the chronicles, he was received by the Constable of Castile; without knowing – it was the 16th century. What has just happened in Germany was not immediately apparent. This was a matter that caused him so much trouble during his reign.