Perhaps instead of Reformation Day, they should call it Repentance Day.
I dunno if I have any original thoughts to contribute on the subject.
I do think it's worth mentioning that indulgences still exist. A trip to Heaven can no longer be purchased with money or land, but it can still be, according the Roman Catholic Church, obtained by speaking the right words, spending the right about of time, and visiting the right places (catholic.org). They exist because the RCC teaches that you can be forgiven for your sins through confession and the other sacraments (what about Jesus), but forgiveness does not equal redemption from the punishment due for sin (what about what Jesus did). So that's why purgatory exists in Catholic theology - it's for the forgiven people who have to still pay for their sins. So indulgences get you out of a place that exists nowhere in the Bible or in early church teaching. And your forgiveness is all about your participation in the sacraments but really nothing to do with having faith in Jesus Christ and what He did for us when He died on the cross.
How did it get to that point? Why did God allow it? It has been 494 years since Luther did his thing in 1517 with the 95 Theses, protesting the church raising money by selling indulgences. So I posted my first communion picture today. Communion is listed as a necessary part of a plenary indulgence, but First Communion itself is a plenary indulgence, meaning "the remission of the entire temporal punishment due to sin so that no further expiation is required in Purgatory". I understood that teaching quite clearly at the time of my first communion. It made me very happy.
I am not as happy now, since I sit through communion. My god-parents are not as happy about me now, either, nor are my parents. But it's a true statement that God is not so concerned about our happiness as He is about our holiness.
I'm sure this is more reading than what you came here for. Thank you for holding on until the end. I hope, even if you're Catholic, that you can at least appreciate some of the changes that came about because of the courage of one German priest who stood up for the Gospel.