The ‘Reformation’ was a great religious movement of the sixteenth century launched by sincere and devoted Christians of northern Europe against the abusive attitude and principles of Roman Church and corrupt practices and immoral way of life of the members of clergy. It was a revolt against the authority of the Pope.
Thus this movement had dual objective viz. renovation of the moral life of the Christendom and the repudiation of the Papal claims to ecclesiastical supremacy. It was both a religious as well as a political movement. It was religious as far as it aimed at the moral rebirth of the people and political movement because it was an insurrection against the Papacy.
Though the revolt was organized by different sections under different names, it is collectively termed as Reformation because it aimed at reforming the existing church. But as the church failed to accept these reforms, the reformers set up their own church known as Protestant Church (now known as Roman Catholic Church). Therefore, sometimes the movement is also designated as Protestant Reformation.
The beginning of Reformation are closely connected with the revival of learning. Inspired by the spirit of enquiry scholars discovered that many doctrine of Roman Church did not find any mention in the Bible and the Roman Church had greatly departed from the Bible, original word of God.
They found that the Roman Church had lost much of its early purity and become wealthy, worldly and luxurious. As a result it lost the respect of earnest men. People particularly protested against the practice of indulgences, under which the church could remit pardon for certain sins against payment This left a deep impact on the morals of the people who came to believe that wickedness could be made good by payment of some money to the Church.