Do Modern Roman Catholic Apologists Care about Pope Leo X?
Do they fear the automatic excommunication he set in place?
The reason I ask is this.
Leo X, on June 15, 1520, issued a bull, Exsurge Domine, in which (among other things) he demanded the following:
With the advice and consent of these our venerable brothers, with mature deliberation on each and every one of the above theses, and by the authority of almighty God, the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and our own authority, we condemn, reprobate, and reject completely each of these theses or errors as either heretical, scandalous, false, offensive to pious ears or seductive of simple minds, and against Catholic truth. By listing them, we decree and declare that all the faithful of both sexes must regard them as condemned, reprobated, and rejected….We restrain all in the virtue of holy obedience and under the penalty of an automatic major excommunication....
Moreover, because the preceding errors and many others are contained in the books or writings of Martin Luther, we likewise condemn, reprobate, and reject completely the books and all the writings and sermons of the said Martin, whether in Latin or any other language, containing the said errors or any one of them; and we wish them to be regarded as utterly condemned, reprobated, and rejected. We forbid each and every one of the faithful of either sex, in virtue of holy obedience and under the above penalties to be incurred automatically, to read, assert, preach, praise, print, publish, or defend them. They will incur these penalties if they presume to uphold them in any way, personally or through another or others, directly or indirectly, tacitly or explicitly, publicly or occultly, either in their own homes or in other public or private places.
In case you missed it, it states that all the faithful of either sex is (under penalty of automatic major excommunication) forbidden even to read the books or writings of Martin Luther.
Nevertheless, some lay apologists have recently begun reading, and indeed republishing on the Interent various portions of Luther's writings. I've even seen some (but certainly fewer) go so far as to praise Luther's writings.
Now, Leo's bull, which summoned the authority of both Peter and Paul, is almost 500 years old. Perhaps these lay apologists have merely forgotten it. Or perhaps some later council or Pope, by some higher authority than Peter and Paul has set aside this bull. I do not pretend to have an exhaustive knowledge of the machinations of the Vatican.
Can anyone shed any light on the subject? As far as I can see, all of those lay apologists (and perhaps even some ordained apologists) are under Leo's automatic major excommunication. Furthermore, as Leo pointed out (negatively) in the same bull, it is (according to Leo) an error to suppose that "Christians must be taught to cherish excommunications rather than to fear them." So then, if Leo is to be trusted (and I certainly would say he should not - but then again I am not in communion with Pontificus Maximus) then those lay (or ordained) apologists should be in fear. But I have not detected any hint of this fear. How can it be? Have I missed some subsequent overruling of Leo's dispensation of Peter's and Paul's power? Or perhaps Luther's rebuttal (use the bull as kindling) was sufficient to revoke the bull.
Ah yes, for the truly dubious, here is the obligatory link to source. (link) See also (link).