Reformation was a protest movement against certain obnoxious practices of the Roman Catholic Church and an attempt to reform it. The Protestants and reformers soon separated themselves from the Roman Catholic Church and started new Protestant Churches in the 16th century. As a result the Christians in Europe came to be divided into two major groups-Protestants and Catholics. Reformation was the final assault against the medieval order. By attacking the monopolistic power of the Universal Church; it not only brought a great religious change but also proclaimed the dawn of a new era in Europe. The main causes of the rise of Reformation were growth of abuses and evil practices like Simony, Plurality, Annates and the Pope himself selling various kinds of pardons –certificates such as indulgences, absolutions, dispensations etc. Attack of the Church by several reformers of the 14th and 15th centuries – John Wycliffe of England, John Huss of Bohemia, Erasmus of Holland and Savanarola of Italy.
People now broadened in their mental outlook began to question the Pope’s authority and criticize the corrupt practices and immoral life of the clergy. Pope claimed himself to be God’s representative on earth, regarded kings as his subordinates and began to intervene in the internal affairs of the states. This was strongly opposed by kings. Rise of nationalism and nation states resulted in the reduction of the concept of Universal Church and growth of national churches.Bourgeoisie, peasantry and even some sections of aristocracy were antagonized by heavy ecclesiastical taxation. Bourgeoisie in particular opposed the severe restrictions imposed upon commercial pursuits by the Roman Catholic Church.