The Roman Catholic Church’s practice of selling indulgences were one of the factors leading Martin Luther to his reform of the church. He knew a poor woman with a disabled daughter who spent money on indulgences that would have been better suited for food, and this event sparked him to begin his works.

Indulgences were money taken by the church to decrease a dead relative or friend’s time in purgatory. The money was used by the church to fund holy wars and build churches.

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