Moreover, one could enquire among the archbishops how, in their opinion, the current position of the church could in the midst of great danger and persecutions be maintained undiminished. This is particularly pressing in areas where neighboring heretics present a particular danger and threat as, for example, in the parishes of Westphalia. They should also be asked as to which dioceses need bishop-coadjutors, and, finally, which states most need immediate aid from Catholic preachers, so that the people do not entirely renounce their faith. Furthermore, as to how these states can otherwise be strengthened in their faith, whether through the authority of His Imperial Majesty or words and deeds on the part of the pertinent metropolitans and the bishops (9).
If one should speak earnestly about these and similar points with the archbishops, perhaps they would seize the opportunity, whether here at Regensburg or in their own sees, to think over the matter, hold visitations, and urge and somehow undertake reform. The miserable, deplorable abuses among the clergy, both secular and regular, cry out for such a reform. Because of the clergy, Catholics and heretics alike mock and curse every ecclesiastical office and even the very name of God. It has finally come to pass that men of the church – even when they see the extreme need and the destruction of the church immediately approaching – nonetheless continue to slumber and commit sins, moving knowingly, willingly, and without fear toward their own destruction.
May Christ illuminate the blind in the deep darkness that has come over Germany.
(9) Metropolitan = archbishop – trans.
Source of original German text: Albrecht P. Luttenberger, ed., Katholische Reform und Konfessionalisierung. Darmstadt: WBG, 2006, pp. 313-21.
English translation: Julie K. Tanaka