- Earlier section of criticims of the Church. Abuses, gossip about immoral behaviour of some of the clergy, brought the Church into disrepute; many people felt the Church was not spiritual enough;many felt the clergy was more interested in wealth than serving the needs of the congregation; laypeople were willing to pay the tithe if they felt it was being used for the upkeep of the church, but often they felt it was misused; many lay people were envious of the power and authority of the clergy; many laypeople wanted more involvment in worship and Church services, and a more individualised religion.
- Humanism had been the main intellectual movement of the previous few decades. Humanism encouraged close examination of texts like the Bible to see if they had been mistranslated. Humanist writers like Erasmus had criticised the unspritual nature of the church and attacked abuses. The best educated among the younger priests were Humanist in outlook and many of them sided with reform, becoming preachers, pamphleteers and pastors in the new movement.
- In Germany there was a strong feeling of resentment against the power of the papacy, and against Italians in general. There was a sense of being 'honest Germans' being cheated by a greedy Papal administration that sucked the wealth out of Germany and into Italy. Other parts of Christendom had a strong ruler who could play the part of resisting and cutting down papal power. E.g Isabella of Castille and Ferdinand of Aragon had made the monarchy in Spain virtually head of the Church. The Empire's divided nature, split into numerous states, meant that this could not happen in Germany. Germany…