In your opinion was the Reformation the best thing that could have happened to the Catholic Church?

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From the perspective of the Catholic Church, the Reformation was likely the worst thing to happen. Before the Reformation, the Catholic Church had absolute power throughout Western Europe, with the largest land masses under Catholic monarchs. When the Reformation began, the Vatican did not see small groups of rebel clergy as a threat. This is evidenced by the fact that Martin Luther was not put to death for his perceived revolt against the church, only excommunicated. However, within a few decades, Lutherans, Calvinists, and other Protestant actors had spread throughout Western Europe and into positions of power. Notably, Lutheran Thomas Cromwell became chief minister to Henry XIII after helping to facilitate his marriage to Anne Boleyn and break from the Catholic Church. Though England was not one of the largest powers at the time, it was still a valuable trade ally and even Catholic monarchs had no choice but to continue relations with the newly Protestant Henry. Cromwell quickly set about forming alliances with other Protestant nations. During Henry's reign, the Catholic Church lost alliances, property, wealth, and ultimate control over Western Europe, and was never again as powerful as it had been at the close of the 15th century. The Protestant Reformation also paved the way for Enlightenment philosophers to question the church's teachings openly, using science and logic to disprove many fundamentals of Catholic doctrine.

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