At the time of the beginning of the protestant reformation it is necessary to note that during this time the reformation was only of limited success. France and Spain which were the two most powerful monarchies in Europe at the time remained catholic. In addition other countries like Hungary also remained catholic. The rise of Protestantism was very rapid during this early period and it posed a great threat to the Catholic Church. As a result of this the catholic church went through its own form of reformation called the counter reformation that led to the church re-establishing the pope’s authority, re-defined its theology as well as preparing for war with the protestants.
The problems facing the church, as it was later to understand were not only religious but also financial. Since by this time the church was supreme to the state, the issues of inflation, loss of land to the protestant movement soon left the incumbent pope with only 40% revenue by 1536 as compared to what his predecessor had 10 years earlier. Instead of the pope recognizing and accepting the church’s role towards this he instead decided to attack his enemies.