Eric Giunta: "I would also like to share one of my favorite passages from historian H. W. Crocker III's "Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church" -- A 2000 Year History":
"What was most at stake in the Reformation was freedom. The Catholic Church was freedom's defender, and not meely by defending Europe against the Turks. It was the Church that nurtured the artistic freedom of the Renaissance and the Baroque. It was the Protestants who smashed religious art as idolatry and sensualism. It was the Church that sponsored the literary freedom of the humanists, and the Protestants who condemned it as paganism. It was the Church that claimed to be a universal, independent, and superior court of appeals to the edicts of kings, while the Protestants made religion a department of government to be controlled by princes (in Germany), or the city council (in Geneva), or the monarch (in England and Scandinavia). There is, in fact, a much underappreciated libertarian streak within the Catholic Church. It was seen in Pope Gregory IX's alliance with republicans and the capitalist city-states of Italy against the emperor Frederick II; it was seen in Renaissance Catholicism, to the scandal of the Protestants; and it was seen most especially in the conflict between the Church and the Tudor dynasty in England."