BBC - Scotland's History - The Scottish Reformation
In the early 16th century, Scotland was a piously Catholic nation. Devotion flourished, and an increasingly educated populace sought more personal forms of spiritual experience. Rome and its doctrines, it seemed, were not always up-to-date with the needs of a nation heading at high speed for the modern world. Reform was in the air, but only a tiny minority at this stage favoured Protestantism and a complete break with Rome.
Spiritually, the country was in darkness. The church was Roman Catholic, and didn’t let the people read the Bible. Church services were in Latin, a language the people couldn’t understand. Church leaders showed by the way they lived their lives that they didn’t love God. They also built up huge amounts of money and the poor people didn’t trust them. The people were told that they could get to Heaven by doing good works and doing what the church told them - they weren’t told that they needed to trust in Jesus