Throughout the Middle Ages all of Europe suffered extremely difficult economic times. This took its toll on the church. Yet, throughout this time the church’s priests, bishops, and the pope gained social and political influence. And the church continued to lead the way in education. The church was the one institution that could provide the masses with hope in the midst of their struggles, with security in the midst of the socio-cultural turmoil of the times. Western Europe in late 15th century was indeed undergoing radical transformation. Much like today, the economy was changing and the vast gap between rich and poor continued to widen. The people were in the midst of a revolution in communications (the invention of the printing press) and they were being confronted with new scientific findings that seemed to challenge faith.
EllIngsen, Mark, "The Church on October 30, 1517" (2016). Interdenominational Theological Center Faculty Publications. 5.
In Ever-Reforming: A Reformation 500 Cross-generational Study, edited by Mindy Makant and Eric Childers, 13-14. Salisbury, NC: North Carolina Synod, 2016