Western Civilization


Mock Trial:  Catholic Europe v. Martin Luther



Mock Trial:  Catholic Europe v. Martin Luther

Background: 
It is the year 1541, and Martin Luther is appearing before the Imperial Diet of Worms for a second time. It has been 20 years since the last time that the former German Monk, Professor and Theologian stood before the Diet, and he has since begun his own religion and set Europe aflame with his revolutionary theology.  Martin Luther now stands trial for the effects his ideology has reaped in Europe over the past two decades.  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 and a willful denial of the authority of the Pope and Catholic Church


Count 3 - Inciting the German peasants to rebel and then having them murdered to suppress the rebellion


Count 4 - Inciting the German nobility to oppose the sovereign rule of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, and therefore destabilizing the Holy Roman Empire


Count 5 - Instigating the formation of other heretical sects of Christianity separate from the Catholic Church


                                   LIST OF MOCK TRIAL ROLE ASSIGNMENTS


Assignment:

Primary Trial Roles will write a one page testimony to be prepared BEFORE THE TRIAL BEGINS.  These must be emailed to the bcchseurosquad@gmail.com address.  Each individual will present their testimony on the stand under questioning by the defense and prosecution (don’t simply read your testimony).


Secondary Trial Roles will serve as the “jury” for this trial, and therefore must be convinced by either the prosecution or defense of Luther’s fate.  You will take notes over the trial proceedings, the evidence presented in the speeches, and what you believe Luther’s fate should be now that the evidence has been presented.  You will vote for or against conviction based upon each of the charges listed.  You will then prepare a one page description of the evidence and a detailed description of the verdict and how you feel about this decision.  This will need to be emailed to the bcchseurosquad@gmail.com address BEFORE THE START OF THE NEXT CLASS SESSION.


Primary Trial Roles:

    Prosecution:                                            Defense:

    Prosecuting Attorney                                Defense Attorney

    Prosecuting Attorney                                Defense Attorney

    Prosecuting Attorney                                Defense Attorney

    Pope Clement VII                                     Martin Luther

    Emperor Charles V                                   Philip Melanchthon

    Desiderius Erasmus                                 Elector Frederick of Saxony

    Johann Tetzel                                           German Commoner

    John Eck                                                   Ulrich Zwingli

    Ignatius Loyola                                         John Calvin

    German Commoner                                  King Henry VIII


Martin Luther:

      Is the defendant in the trial.

      Will testify in his defense before the tribunal.

      Must be able to answer questions consistently with Luther's theological views and be familiar with specific aspects of his life.


Prosecution Team:

     The prosecution shall consist of three attorneys.

     The prosecution will prepare its case to prove that Martin Luther is guilty under each of the five counts of the indictment listed above.

     The prosecution team will select one of its members to prepare and deliver an opening statement that summarizes the charges brought against Luther and briefly indicates how those charges will be proven through witness testimony.

     The prosecution team will divide up their witnesses and have both witness testimony and cross examination questions prepared for each witness.

     The prosecution team will select one of its members to prepare and deliver a closing statement that summarizes the charges brought against Luther and briefly restates why Luther is guilty under all of the charges.


Defense Team:

     The defense shall consist of three attorneys.

     The defense will prepare its case to prove that Martin Luther is not guilty of any of the charges as outlined in the general indictments listed above.

     The defense team will select one of its members to prepare and deliver an opening statement that summarizes the charges brought against Luther and briefly indicates how those charges will be proven false through witness testimony.

     The defense team will divide up their witnesses and have both witness testimony and cross examination questions prepared for each witness.

     The defense team will select one of its members to prepare and deliver a closing statement that summarizes the charges brought against Luther and briefly restates why Luther is guilty under all of the charges.


Witnesses:

     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.

      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.

     Witness testimony will need to be presented in a logical and knowledgable manner, and their testimony must be reflective of significant research of pertinent primary and secondary source materials.


Prep Materials:

Mock Trials Procedure & Evidence Questions.pdf

Mock Trials Lawyers Prep.pdf

Mock Trials Witness Prep.pdf


Resources:

P&S Reader - Protestant Reformation.pdf

Taking Sides - Martin Luther.pdf

Martin Luther and the Peasant Revolt.pdf

Fordham University, catalogue of primary sources

Martin Luther’s 95 Theses

Selected documents on the Protestant Reformation

Erasmus debates Martin Luther


*When you’ve completed your assignment, email your work to bcchseurosquad@gmail.com