Why 500 Years of Catholic & Protestant Church Separation? Times of church separation can be awful, such as when the church I was raised in went through a split during my senior year of high school. It was devastating. But sometimes a separation is necessary to reform an unhealthy situation. Such was the case with the Reformation, which is often considered to have launched on October 31, 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Castle church. The theses were tenants of change needed to reform the Roman Catholic Church (RCC).