JOHANNES VON STAUPITZ, (1460 – December 28, 1524), Augustinian Friar; later Benedictine Abbot of St. Peter's in Salzburg, formerly spiritual director and superior of Martin Luther.   He was descended from an ancient family of Saxony, studied at Leipzig, and was matriculated in 1485. He later joined the Augustinian Order, probably at Munich, and in 1497 moved to Tübingen, where in 1498 he became prior and in 1500 Doctor of Theology. He was subsequently prior at Munich, and in 1503 was elected Vicar-General of the German Congregation of Augustinians and summoned as professor to the new University of Wittenberg, in which he was the first dean of the theological faculty.

On a tour of visitation he had become acquainted with Luther in the monastery at Erfurt, and had consoled the emaciated brother, who was torturing himself with his sinfulness, by speaking to him of the sin-remitting grace of God and man's redemption in the Blood of Christ. For this Luther remained always grateful.

In 1512 he resigned his professorship, and moved to South Germany, where he thenceforth resided (at Munich, Nuremberg, and Salzburg), except for some journeys to the Netherlands and Belgium. He resigned the office of vicar-general in 1520, received a dispensation to join the Benedictine community of St. Peter's, Salzburg, in 1522, where he was almost immediately made Abbot of St. Peter's. In 1518 he was deputed by the promagister of the order to remonstrate with Luther. Luther remained convinced of the correctness of his views; and through Staupitz sent an explanation of his theses on indulgences to Rome.

By releasing Luther from obedience to the order, Staupitz separated its fate from that of Luther, but also gave the latter freedom of action. In 1520 revocation and abjuration were demanded of Staupitz; he hesitated at first, because there was no need to revoke what he had never asserted, but finally declared that he recognized the pope as his judge. Luther interpreted this as disloyalty; and, indeed, Staupitz remained thoroughly Catholic in matters of faith (especially as regards the freedom of the will, the meritoriousness of good works, and justification).


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