Persecution increased because the Catholic Church was unhappy with the new ideas brought about in the Reformation and wanted to crush all opposition. During the Reformation, violence was the primary means of stopping revolutions or radical new changes.
The Reformation took place in the 16th century and dealt with the varying ideas of Christianity. Many Christians were upset with the Catholic Church for reasons such as allowing the Pope to set all rules and be the ultimate authority on Christian practices. These Christians developed their own set of rules and challenged the Catholic rules.
One of the most prominent Reformation leaders was Martin Luther. Luther's contribution to Christian religion would later become known as the Lutheran denomination. There were many different denominations that sprang up from the Protestant Reformation.
It is believed that Luther started the Reformation himself with his treatise titled "95 Theses." The document was published in 1517 and spread quickly due to the invention of the printing press. In the publication, Luther stated that he believed that the church needed to be purified and focus on the Bible once again rather than tradition. This was not a new idea, but it was one that had not been heard publicly and it helped to organize the people.