On this day in 1521 Pope Leo X (Giovanni di Lorenzo de’ Medici) issued the papal bull, Decet Romanum Pontificum, excommunicating the German Monk, Martin Luther. Just over three years earlier Luther launched the Protestant Reformation, when he nailed his Ninety Five Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Saxony.
Luther called for the Church to take up the challenge of the wide spread corruption of church doctrine and leadership. In order for reform to occur, the initiative had to come from the papacy. That was unlikely at the time. Leo X was himself an example of the corruption.
Leo X was the second son of Lorenzo the Magnificent (Lorenzo dé Medici), a key figure in the Italian Renaissance. Leo took holy orders at age seven and was given the abbey of Fonte Dolce. At eight years of age, he was nominated for an archbishopric, and at seventeen became the youngest cardinal, ever. In all, he held nearly thirty church offices while still a teenager.
Ironically, shortly before his death, Lorenzo wrote to his son warning him that Rome was the sink of all iniquities and exhorted him to live a virtuous life. Upon being elected Pope, Leo wrote his elder brother: “Since God has given us the papacy, let us enjoy it.”
It is the birthday of J.R.R. Tolkien, born in Bloemfontein, South Africa in 1891. Tolkien was a member of The Inklings, a literary circle associated with C.S. Lewis. Owen Barfield, Charles Williams, and Hugo Dyson were among those meet regularly on Tuesday mornings at the Eagle and the Child, a pub in Oxford, England. Tolkien is chiefly remembered as the author of The Hobbit (1937) and the classic trilogy, The Lord of the Rings (1954-1956).
“Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate
And though I oft have passed them by
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.”
It is the birthday of Victor Borge, (Borge Rosenbaum) born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1909. Borge was a world-class pianist, conductor, and comedian. Among his best known routines is “Inflationary Language and Punctuation”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bpIbdZhrzA
Until next time, be good to all God’s creation and always walk under the mercy.