The Reformation had an enormous impact on European politics. Previously, the Pope had been both a powerful temporal, as well as spiritual, ruler. Yet, the Reformation directly challenged not just his spiritual authority, but also his political authority as a prince. Kings, princes, and other rulers who embraced the Reformation saw an opportunity to divest themselves of their onerous responsibilities towards the Pope. In particular, they found they no longer had to send large sums of money to Rome, as tribute for a Church whose teachings they now rejected.
In the Reformation's wake, political power in Europe became more thoroughly secularized, with rulers such as Henry VIII of England declaring themselves heads of their respective national churches. This greatly altered the balance of power in Europe and led to the break-up of Western Christendom. Now there was no longer one Church, but several smaller ones.
In the ensuing disorder and upheaval, only a strong secular ruler in each respective territory was thought capable of preventing a slide into outright chaos. The parlous state of civil society, combined with the attack on the Catholic Church, represented by the Reformation, led to secular rulers accruing greater powers over their lands and subjects, significantly weakening the Papacy's authority in the process.