Please clarify what the history is of this supposed quote (“It has served us well, this myth of Christ”) that has been attributed to Pope Leo X. Is it real? If so, what was the context? How can we counter Protestants or non-believers who bring it up?
Although the quote is commonly attributed without source documentation to Pope Leo X, it is believed to have originated in a satirical piece by a Protestant controversialist named John Bale (1495-1563) titled “The Pageant of the Popes” (source). Bale wrote:
For on a time when a cardinall Bembus did move a question out of the Gospell, the Pope gave him a very contemptuous answer saying: “All ages can testifie enough howe profitable that fable of Christe hath ben to us and our companie.”