Are There Any Protestants?
THE DIET OF SPIRES
There were eleven powerful princes who signed this document. This step effectually suspended the enforcement of the Edict of Worms; and thus matters stood at the assembling of the Diet of Spires, June 25, 1526. The emperor’s instruction to the Diet ordered that “the church-customs should be maintained entire”; and called upon the Diet to “punish those who refused to carry out the Edict of Worms.” Against the emperor’s instructions the evangelical Princes stood firmly for the Reformation; and their calm firmness encouraged the Princes who were willing to be neutral, to oppose the enforcement of the Edict of Worms in their States. ATAP 2.12
August 1, a general committee of the Diet reported the necessity of a reform of church abuses. No such thing as this was wanted by the papacy, and to counteract the report the church party brought forth a decree of the emperor commanding the enforcement of the Edict of Worms. The evangelical Princes broke the force of this move by citing the facts that this decree had been issued away back in the month of March, four months before this present Diet had met; that since that time the emperor and the pope had fallen out and were now at war; and that in this time the emperor had written to his brother saying, “Let us suspend the Edict of Worms.” This brought the Diet of Worms.” This brought the Diet to a deadlock; and the way out was an agreement that there should be religious liberty: “Let every man do as he thins fit, until a national free council shall be convoked: within a year”—from August 17, the date of the agreement. ATAP 2.13
The expected council was not called within the year suggested, nor at all. This allowed the religious liberty established by the Diet to prevail with no check or limitation. ATAP 2.14
The Second Diet of Spires met February 21, 1529. By this time the emperor and the pope were at one again, and unitedly were determined to destroy the Reformation; by sanction of the vote of the Diet if possible; and failing this, then by all the power of the empire. Accordingly in the Diet, March 15, the imperial commissioners announced that the emperor “by virtue of his supreme power” had annulled the resolution of religious liberty adopted by the Diet of Spires, August 17, 1526. This action of the emperor was wholly arbitrary. But as it was a part of the settled program, the papal party proceeded as if it were fully and formally legal; and the resolution of religious liberty being thus out of the way, they now demanded that the Diet order the full enforcement of the Edict of Worms. The evangelical Princes insisted on the maintenance of the resolution of religious liberty, of the Diet of 1526. In this they were wholly in the right, as well as wholly within their rights. For this was a decision of the Diet, regularly made; while the emperor’s annulment of it was wholly irregular and arbitrary. ATAP 2.15