The Protestant Reformation was a movement that emerged within the Catholic Church as the doubts of the faithful and religious discussions. The Renaissance ideas appreciated the man and his achievements, commercial expansion led to the clash of values and cultures and caused a "rethink" critical world hitherto dominated by the Roman clergy. The moral decay of priests favored the emergence of numerous sects which challenged some Catholic dogmas and proposed a life of detachment from material goods. Another factor that demoralized the authority of the Catholic Church was the crisis of the papacy, which was the control that the French kings had on the Pope during the fourteenth century, with the transfer of the seat of the Vatican from Rome to France. The other countries have challenged the Church came to have two popes, one in Rome and another in France.
In this European context, Germany in the fifteenth century, without a centralized power, divided between various feudal lords and practicing an agrarian economy, cost to develop economically. The people were crushed by feudal taxes and tithes. The Church gathered there numerous taxes and owned large tracts of land, and to make matters worse, sold the church offices to the highest bidder and offered forgiveness of sins by paying indulgence.
The outrage grew when Tetzel the monk went to Germany for selling bulls in order to raise more money for the construction of St. Peter's Basilica. Martin Luther, German monk , criticized the abuses and began to publicly denounce the corruption of the Roman Church and expounded his ideas became known as the 95 Theses of Luther.
The Lutheran doctrine caused a division among the German nobles, many of them eager to seize the goods of the clergy, to increase their domains. The support of these nobles was decisive for the ideas of Luther prosper. Assembled by Emperor Charles V to return to the Catholic faith, many nobles protested, giving the name to the Protestants who joined the new religion. Without reaching an agreement, the king gave consent for every noble freely choose their religion. Peasants were forced to adopt the religion of their master. The Lutheran doctrine spread throughout Germany, Sweden, Norway and Denmark.
Protestant ideas were also adopted in Switzerland. In Geneva, at the preaching of John Calvin, Protestantism has undergone a redesign and further radicalization. Calvin developed the theory of predestination. For the city of Geneva, with a developed trade and a powerful bourgeoisie, this doctrine meant the recognition of the wealth and labor of dealers as blessed in the eyes of God situation. Calvin became a true political leader and established, rigidly, the rules to be followed by Calvinists.
England, under the reign of Henry VIII, met a new religion called Anglicanism, which recognized the king as supreme head of the Church and the State. The break with the Vatican was mainly due to political factors: Henry VIII wanted to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, sister of the Spanish king. Catherine had become sterile without leaving male heirs to ensure the royal succession.
The Protestant movement has reduced the influence of the Roman Church in several countries and led to the loss of their lands in these areas.
The rapid expansion of Protestantism and the pressure of Catholics for the moralization of religion made a reaction to affirm the Catholic faith arise. This movement was led by the Capuchin Order, who lived in traditional austerity, and Cardinal Ximenes, the University of Salamanca. But the Church could only reassert itself definitively after the promulgation of the resolutions of the Council of Trent (collected between 1545 and 1563 in the town of Trento, Italy), which established the rejection of Protestantism, the maintenance of the seven sacraments, the mandatory use of Latin in the Mass, maintenance of celibacy for priests, order the sale of indulgences and the restoration of the Holy Inquisition courts for prosecution of acts and ideas contrary to Catholic thought.
The moral rehabilitation of the Church stopped the advance of Protestantism, but did not prevent the division of doctrines. From the Counter-Reformation, the world was no longer subjected to the supremacy of the Roman Church.