The spiritually demeaning practices included the sale of indulgences and relics. Further erosion of the spiritual righteousness of the Catholic Church occurred through the corrupted clergy of the Catholic Church exploiting the pious laity, as a natural consequence of a corrupted papacy. These defects in the Catholic Church led to the attempts of St. Francis, Peter Waldo, Jain Hus, and John Wycliffe seeking to address these defects of the medieval Catholic Church prior to the Reformation Movement of Martin Luther.
Growing Protestantism was threatening to eclipse the Catholic Church as the central religious authority in Europe, leading to the reform initiatives within the Catholic Church. These initiatives were based on a three prong strategy, and history has demonstrated that this counter of the Catholic Church arrested the growth of the Protestantism at the expense of the Catholic Church.
The first prong was The Council of Trent set up under the Pope Paul III. In essence The Council of Trent was tasked with improving the discipline and administration of the Catholic Church through identifying appointments of corrupt bishops and priests, the traffic in indulgences, and any other financial abuses. The Council upheld the basic structure and dogmas of the Catholic Church, but also tacitly identified the presence of legitimate complaints. The second prong was to address these tacitly accepted legitimate concerns. Politically motivated appointments of Bishops were stopped and the Bishops given more powers to address the problems of the Church. A basic problem of poor theological education levels among the priests was identified and steps initiated to remove this deficiency. The Catholic Church took an aggressive posture through the Inquisition against the Reformers, declaring them as heretics The third prong was the beneficiary role played by the new religious orders led by the Jesuits and