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Swiss Defenders of the Old Faith – Articles of the Nine Members’ Delegates (1525)

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[11.] And should such a preacher be detected, and should it be heard of him that he preached about such misleading opinions and about the new unfaith, he should be deposed by the secular magistrates in whatever place it may be, and driven and removed from that place (no matter how peacefully he may have behaved), and punished according to his deserts for it.

[12.] ITEM, concerning purgatory, and also petitions for the dead, our ancestors, and all faithful Christian souls, as our ancestors and we up to this time have believed, and as the holy teachers have sufficiently demonstrated through the New and Old Testaments, and also as many councils have shown though the holy scripture, and as the Christian churches have always held up to now, and have confirmed that they hold: Since, however, some disbelief and challenges have been awakened though the Lutheran or Zwinglian sect by means of fundamentally false opinions, we therefore warn everyone not to leave our true faith with so little care because of the false and unfounded Lutheran arguments, and we also desire than no one should preach, write, or say such things in our domains. And whoever might do so should be punished according to each lord's or magistrate's assessment.

[13.] ITEM, we also decree and wish that everyone should allow the monasteries, cloisters, foundations, and churches to remain in possession of their old privileges, rights, and authority as they have descended from old times, and use no violence against them nor withhold from them what is theirs, nor take anything on one's own authority against the law. And anyone who does such things shall be appropriately punished by his magistrates according to the nature of the issue.

(Marginal note: this [following] article is
against all the previous articles, since the
earlier ones state that one should leave
things by the old ordinances and
ceremonies, etc.)

Part II

[14. Preamble to section II.] ITEM, it may well be true that through the holy fathers' teachings, also through the popes and councils, canon law and many ordinances and statutes were established and set up with good intentions, yet over time such canon law and ordinances increased, became more rigorous, and became so superfluously numerous, and also were frequently misused against us laypeople, so that they led to the great disadvantage and perdition of us laypeople on many occasions, and are used against us in other ways than they should be. And thus in these perilous times, when the wolf in Christ's sheepfold harmfully scatters the lambs, [and] when the highest guardian and shepherd of the churches sleeps, it is fitting that we, as the temporal magistrates, should come to our own assistance in various ways, so that we and our subjects may reach unity and may stay with the true religion, and may help ourselves out of many complaints. Not that we wish to throw ourselves out of, or set ourselves against the Roman church or the common Christian churches, but rather only for the suppression and prevention of further difficulties, disobedience, or the division of our Confederation. Namely, we have undertaken to follow these ordinances and articles in order to forestall the bad and the evil, and for the praise, usefulness, and honor of our Confederation, but with the apology and offer made above, that should a common Christian council or equivalent assembly, to which our Confederation's delegations are also called and also attend, put an end to these divisions, and restore unity to the churches, we do not wish to have separated ourselves from the churches, but rather wish to be regarded, like our ancestors, as good pious and obedient Christians.

[15.] For the first, our priests and curators of souls should not be on the take, as has often happened before. Namely, they and their assistants should provide the holy sacrament to us and ours according to Christian order, and should not withhold it for the sake of money.

[16.] And in this, our ordinance and conviction is that in every place, whatever the custom has been and [whatever] has belonged to the priest since old times, then that should be followed and maintained, in a fitting and modest way. But if a priest or his assistants should act in such matters in a harsh and hostile way, then the secular magistrate in the town or land where he was located should have the authority to act, according to the nature of the case, so that the common man is not exploited.

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