Do you think that Luther really believed that Pope Leo X did not know what the indulgence salesmen were saying?
Although it is difficult to imagine that a man so smart as Luther would be naive enough not to believe that the Pope knew what was going on directly under his nose, and all around him, it is even more difficult to imagine that Luther would’ve defended the Pope so wrongfully so in many parts of his theses if he knew what was going on. My basic understanding of Luther’s beliefs is that, he knew for a fact there was wrongdoing in the churches by priests, bishops, and others in between; this he had proof of. However it isn’t so clear on his true feelings of the Pope due to the fact that he speaks for (in a defensive manner) the Pope, as well as doing his best to make him out to be a charitable and honest man. On the other hand, Luther challenges the Pope’s authority by stating that he does not possess the keys to the Church. Also, towards the end of his theses he begins to ask rhetorical questions that are pointing straight (but not only) at the Pope. He goes on to not only claim that there is no peace, but that he will expose it as well. To me this says that he may have had suspicions about the Pope, but that he really did want to believe he hadn’t been involved in all of this corruption. He was giving the Pope the benefit of the doubt.