TO CARDINAL THOMAS CAJETAN
Staupitz and Link tried to allay the strife by getting Luther to yield, so Luther wrote this letter to see what abject humility would accomplish.
October 17, 1518.
Highly esteemed in God the Father! I approach you once more, not in person, but in writing. And you will graciously lend me your ear. Dr. Johann Staupitz has urged me to humble myself, and give up my own opinions, submitting them to the judgment of pious people whose characters are above
suspicion, and he has so lauded your fatherly love, that I am convinced that you are anxious to do your utmost for me, and that I may commit myself to your loving care. I rejoice to hear all this from the messenger, for this man (Staupitz) is worthy of my confidence, for I know no one whom I would more gladly obey. My beloved brother, Dr. Wenzelaus Link, who studied with me, has also tried to influence me in the same way. I now confess, honoured father, that I have not been humble enough, and have been too vehement, not treating the superior Bishop with sufficient reverence. And although I had good cause for all this, I now confess I should have been more gentle, and treated His Eminence with more respect; but it is done, and I admit that it is not always wise to answer a fool according to his folly, and thus become like him. I am very sorry for all this now, and plead for mercy, and will
point out all this now and again to the people from the pulpit, as I have often done.
And with God’s help I shall henceforth be more careful how I speak. Yes, I am quite ready to think no more about this traffic in Indulgences, and when things have quieted down to return to my repose, but my opponents must also be compelled to keep silence, for it was they who began the whole disturbance, and caused me to interfere in the matter.
Your Excellency’s submissive son, MARTIN LUTHER, Augustinian.