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In one of the most important works of the early Reformation, , Luther sought to forge alliances with these groups to bolster his reform of the church with a reform of German society.
In laying out his reforms, Luther argued that the state and its institutions should wield authority over the church.
The clash between Luther and the Catholic Church in Rome was also history's first "media event." Johannes Gutenberg's development of the moveable-type printing press about seventy-five years earlier had a profound impact on the spread of Luther's thought.
Thanks to the new technology, his theses soon reached a broad circulation that surprised even Luther.
In the three years after he posted his Ninety-five Theses, Luther not only persisted in his critique of the church but expanded it to practically all areas of church authority in civil society and Christian faith.
Meanwhile the German presses could barely keep up with the demand for Luther's works.
Luther paired his critique of the church with a call to reform Germany's secular institutions.
A number of Germany's many princes, knights, and other nobles bristled under Roman influence and saw Luther as a potential champion of German freedom from it.
Albrecht met Luther's letter with silence, for the priest from Wittenberg had touched on a sensitive nerve in high-level church administration in both Rome and Germany: Pope Leo X and Albrecht were dividing the proceeds from the sale of indulgences to finance the lavish construction of St.
Peter's Basilica in Rome and to pay Albrecht's debts.