What Would Have Stopped Martin Luther

What Would Have Stopped Martin Luther
Hendrik Schmidt/dpa via AP

In the popular telling of Martin Luther's story, nothing could have stopped the Protestant reformer from challenging the dogma of his day. “Here I stand, I can do no other,” he allegedly pledged to those who would decide his fate at the Diet of Worms in 1521. Neither interrogations nor papal excommunication deterred the former Augustinian monk from speaking his conscience. The Protestant Reformation seems to have started and progressed inevitably, with the certitude of predestination.

But could the Catholic Church have done anything, besides changing its own dogma, to satisfy Luther? Could the Reformation have been prevented?

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