Diet of Worms Background



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Diet of Worms



Background:
Due to a quirk in time, you have been transported back to the year 1520 and the city of Worms. Here, you find yourself involved in the trial of the German Monk, Martin Luther, who has given himself up to the authority of the Catholic Church to address the charges that he is, in two words, a heretical revolutionary. The specific charges are as follows:

Count 1. Development and preaching of heretical doctrines

Count 2. Inciting members of the Catholic Church to rebel against the authority and established doctrines of the universal Church

Count 3. Willful denial of the authority of the Pope and Catholic Church



Roles in the Simulation:
Characters will be assigned by lottery. All character assignments are final after the drawing.

Character Roles in the Trial Simulation:

The Prosecution
Prosecuting Attorney
Prosecuting Attorney
Leo X
Charles V
John Tetzel



The Defense
Defense Attorney
Defense Attorney

Martin Luther


Desiderius Erasmus
Friedrich the Wise


Martin Luther
1. Is the defendant in the trial.
2. Will testify in his defense before the tribunal.
3. Must be able to answer questions consistently with Luther's theological views and be familiar with specific aspects of his life.

Prosecution Team
1. The prosecution shall consist of two attorneys.
2. The prosecution will prepare its case to prove that Martin Luther IS guilty under each of the three counts of the indictment listed above.
3. The prosecution team will prepare two four-minute speeches: (1) introducing and (1) summarizing the prosecution's case against Luther.
4. The prosecution will be allowed to ask four primary questions and four follow up questions as part of its examination of each witness (time not to exceed five minutes).

Defense Team
1. The defense team shall consist of two attorneys.

  1. The defense team will prepare its case to prove that Martin Luther is NOT guilty of any of the charges as outlined by the general indictment above.

    1. Count 1. Development and preaching of heretical doctrines - You would argue that Luther’s arguments are not heretical but rather it is the Catholic Church’s that is heretical.

    2. Count 2. Inciting members of the Catholic Church to rebel against the authority and established doctrines of the universal Church – You would argue that it is within the right of the members (especially German members) to have more autonomy from the Church.

    3. Count 3. Willful denial of the authority of the Pope and Catholic Church – You would argue that the Scriptures and not the pope should be at the head of the church.

  2. The defense team will prepare two four-minute speeches: (1) introducing and (1) summarizing the defense’s case against Luther.

  3. The defense will be allowed to ask four primary questions and four follow up questions as part of its examination of each witness (time not to exceed five minutes).



Witnesses
1. In addition to Luther's testimony, there will be other witnesses available for questioning; they will be witnesses for the prosecution and for the defense.
2. The prosecution witnesses will be Pope Leo X, Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire, and John Tetzel.
3. The defense witnesses will be Martin Luther, Desiderius Erasmus, and Friedrich the Wise.
4. Each witness must be familiar with the issues that would have concerned their character and be familiar with the general ideas and issues of the Protestant Reformation. Each witness will be questioned by members of both the prosecution and the defense.

Judge
1. I’m the judge. While I will play the part of a devout Catholic, I am also aware that there were many concerns about various doctrines and practices within the Church in the years preceding the Diet. I will have to judge Luther's case on the basis of the issues presented and decide whether or not he should be excommunicated.

2. I will:


a. preside over the trial
b. evaluate and rule on admissibility of evidence and arguments
c. maintain order and decorum in the court
d. reach verdict and impose sentence

3. The only sentence possible in the event of a guilty verdict will be Luther's excommunication and subsequent labeling as a heretic. He will then be classified as an outlaw meaning that anyone who should kill Luther will not face legal action from the state.



Trial Procedure:
1. Judge reads the charges against Martin Luther
2. Opening statement for the Prosecution (4 minutes)
3. Opening statement for the defense (4 minutes)
4. Testimony of witnesses (prosecution and defense teams have five minutes for examination of each witness)
5. Closing statement for the prosecution (4 minutes)
6. Closing statement for the defense (4 minutes)
7. Judge deliberates and reads the verdict and sentence



Assignment / Grade
1. The trial will take place on ______________________. Your grade will be determined by the following:

  • Your knowledge of your character/argument 20pts

  • Your knowledge of the situation/other side’s argument 15pts

  • Your participation in the trial 15pts


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