According to Wikipedia, “Martin Luther OSA was a German priest, theologian, author, hymnwriter, and professor. A former Augustinian friar, he is best known as the seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation and the namesake of Lutheranism. Luther was ordained to the priesthood in 1507.” He was born on November 10, 1483 in Eisleben, Germany, and died on February 18, 1546 in Eisleben Germany. Some people say that he was one of the most influential figures in the history of Christianity, and I believe them.
An interesting story about Martin Luther. One day, he was I think taking a walk, and he was caught in this huge storm, and he did not think that he would make it out alive. So he prayed to St. Anne saying that if he survived this, he promised that he would become a monk. Now, in these days it was thought that if you prayed to a dead, great Saint, that the Saint would bring the matter to God and God would decide what to do. In this case, it was St. Anne that Luther prayed to. Well, he did survive the storm and fulfilled his promise to St. Anne and became a monk.
Martin Luther wrote a series of arguments against the institution of indulgences within the church called the 95 Theses. Now, Luther was completely opposed to the selling of indulgences (paying the Church to have your sins forgiven) and he officially claimed that the pope was as well opposed to the idea of selling indulgences. He claimed that the Hierarchy of the Church was corrupt for not intervening in the talk of the indulgence salesmen, but also that the pope had no idea what was going on and had no idea of the misconduct that was occurring, therefore he is innocent. Luther claimed that he was trying to save the pope from slander, but really, it was Luther that was slandering the pope! Here’s how. Starting from theses 82, Luther raises a series of embarrassing rhetorical questions about the pope. These questions make the pope look like not a nice guy. It is evident that apparently, Luther was not trying to save the pope from slander, but it was Luther that was slandering the pope. He is basically accusing the pope of the same things that he accused the Church Hierarchy of. He says that the pope is more interested in money than in saving souls, and where does he get this money? The indulgences, paying the church to have your sins forgiven. The pope does not care about saving people (even though he is really not saving anybody because the people are basically buying their way into heaven, and it does not work that way) as long as he gets money from the indulgences.
Apparently, Luther thought that the Church Hierarchy and the pope were both corrupt. Now, you may be thinking, “Well, if Luther knew that the pope was corrupt as well as the Church Hierarchy, then why did he try to make it seem like the pope was innocent?” Good question, and the answer is that he tried to make the pope seem innocent at first so that his arguments would not seem so defiant and radical.
Overall, I think that Luther believed that Pope Leo X knew what the indulgence salesmen were saying.