There is some validity in this statement as there is evidence to support this claim that the Church was spiritually unhealthy in the pre-reformation period as argued by traditionalists such as John Lotherington, editor of 'Years of Renewal.' However, the statement made is rather too simplistic. There is strong evidence that there were several reasons other than the weaknesses of the Catholic Church that played an important role in causing the German Reformation. Michael Mullett argues wholly that Luther was the cause of the Reformation, while Keith Randell, author of 'Luther and the German Reformation' argues that there were a number of causes such as political, economical, social, and cultural causes.
The Church argues Lotherington is the most important key issue for the cause of the German Reformation. Lotherington quotes, "The Roman Catholic Church was intent on exploiting Germany". He bases his argument on the evidence Religion was the most important affair in the middle Ages.
In this age, people would not live to an old age but would die quite young. Therefore, people would place their trust in God and subsequently, in the Church, thinking that by 'good works', and other practices such as purchasing Indulgences would get them eternal life. It was on the sale of Indulgences that made Luther write his Ninety Five Theses. Randell also supports Lotherington's view that it was Luther's protest against Indulgences that spurred the Reformation. Relics of Saints were also a money making scheme in which is mentioned by Lotherington which must have been frauds and Lotherington states, "...sceptical travellers noted enough wood from the cross to make a forest of crosses..."
However, as both Randell and Lotherington state, there were also other weaknesses in the Church bar indulgences that caused it to be corrupt. Randell and even Mullett...