The political, intellectual and religious upheaval in Europe continued into the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. At the same time, nationalistic aspirations among the kingdom-states were on the rise.
These cultural forces combined to trigger protest and criticism of the Church’s organisation, practices and beliefs. Martin Luther and John Calvin were key leaders among the many protestors who rejected the Church of Rome’s corrupt practices, her hierarchical authority, and many of her teachings. These leaders established new Christian communities based on the principles of the protestant reformation.
While the reformers were right to protest against the corrupt practices in the Church, their decisions to reject the Church’s Christ-given authority and teachings had tragic consequences.
In response to the protestant challenge, the Church called the Council of Trent (1545-1563). The Council addressed the issue of corruption, restated the tenets of Catholic Faith and introduced a programme of Church reform. This response is called the counter-reformation or Catholic Reformation.