What would the world be like if the Reformation never occurred, and every Protestant Church was Catholic?

This question was bouncing around my brain lately, and I’ve been hearing things like the Crusades and the Inquisition really weren’t as bad as they were made out to be, due to revisionist history, etc…

And, after passing by three different Protestant denomination churches while driving, I resolved to post my question online.

So, would the World be a better place, and more unified? Or would the centralization of power and influence in the Church corrupt high ranking officials, and make current affairs still bad, just in a different way?

Its a tricky question. The fallibility of man will always be present but we as Catholics know that the church is and always will be guided by the holy spirit. Just as with the scandles God always shines light on the dark and exposes evil. I believe we would have unity in faith but that does not mean there would not be disputes or problems within the heirarchy. Its in our nature!:thumbsup:

One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

The “reformation” was triggered by corruption within the Catholic Church, and it (the “reformation”) itself triggered a correction process that went a long way to fixing the corruption. I’m curious what other think might have been the mechanisms for correction the corruption, if the “reformation” hadn’t occurred.

Well, there’s a few wars that may not have occurred (e.g. Thirty Years’ War) and the lack of the resulting destruction would have left a few more historical objects, places, and people intact.

There’s a really neat chapter called “Martin Luther Burns at the Stake, 1521” by Geoffrey Parker in a book of essays called “What If?”. Parker suggests that the Catholic Church may have been able to deal with the Reformation and essentially could have ended it. Parker reminds the reader that Luther had not yet written his translation of the Bible, and his absense from some meetings post-1521 would have likely changed the tenor of said meetings (his intransigence being noted) and possibly led to reconciliation. He notes also the possibility of the United States never existing (as we know it) if Luther had died (Charles V and Habsburg hegemony in Europe leading to no settlements in the Americas).


If the world was entirely Catholic as the Catholic church is now and all current believers would have a home in that church, I would be very happy.

If the world was entirely Catholic as the Catholic church was with Leo X, I would not be so happy.

As painful as the Lutheran schism was and is, I think it ushered an era of contemplation for the Catholic church - Leo X was the last of the political non-priest Popes for example.

There’s also a point that I wonder about - I have a good friend who is Baptist, and I sometimes get the feeling that he would have more difficult maintaining his Christian identity if there wasn’t a Baptist church for him.

In Pr. Thomas Woods Jr’s How The Catholic Church Built Western Civilization he details how the holy monks of Rievaulx Abbey in North Yorkshire, England were producing iron in the 16th century almost as efficient as modern furnaces. He expounds on some findings of Bradford archeometallurgist (now you know this is ligit) Gerry McDonnell:

McDonnell believes that the monks were on the verge of building dedicated furnaces for the large-scale production of cast iron - perhaps the key ingredient that ushered in the industrial age - and that the furnace at Laskill (an outstation about four miles from the monastery) had been a prototype of such a furnace. “One of the key things is that the Cistercians had a regular meeting of abbots every year and they had the means of sharing technological advances across Europe,” he said. “The break-up of the monasteries broke up this network of technology transfer.” The monks “had the potential to move to blast furnaces that produced nothing but cast iron. They were poised to do it on a large scale, but by breaking up the virtual monopoly, Henry VIII effectively broke up that potential.” Had it not been for a greedy king’s suppression of the English monasteries, therefore, the monks appear to have been on the verge of ushering in the industrial era and its related explosion in wealth, population, and life expectancy figures. That development would have to wait two and a half more centuries. How The Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, Pr. Thomas E. Woods Jr., 37-38

tl;dr - Cistercians would have brought about the Industrial Revolution 250 years earlier.

We probably also would have steered technological advances for merely efficient purposes, not the frivolousness rampant today.

I wonder if there would be less poverty. The Church was largely in charge of education and social services immediately prior to the reformation. A lot of that fell apart afterwards…


i think the Reformation would have happened sooner or later because of the invention of the printing press and the Bible being able to be available to the ordinary man who was able to read scripture for himself or herself and then men began to interpet scripture the way they wanted to. the corruption of the Catholic church at the time did not help.
as men became “enlightened” the Reformation or a scism of some kind was eventually going to happen i believe. it is sad when you see how many different churches there are now.
i agree with the poster who mentioned his Baptist friend. i also have a Baptist friend and she is very content being Baptist and i don’t think she would ever be happy being a Catholic. i myself would never want to be Baptist, but she is a good Christian and hs inspired me with her Christian walk. i do see that we approach God and the Bible differently though. i don’t know how to explain it.

We’d have a very corrupt Church.

Remember the Reformation happened because of corruption in the Church. It made the Church leaders look at themselves and fix the problems of the Church.


Then all would have heavem om earth.

The Nicean Creed was written before the East and West split and the word catholic means universal. The Creed was not written with the intention that catholic (small c) had any corelation to what would become Roman Catholic post split. Not trying to be snarky here, I just wanted to clear that up.

Let me know if you guys want to wrest control of these from the government here in America. I’d vote for it. :thumbsup:


Interesting thoughts guys, thanks :slight_smile:

Was there any methods the Church undertook in the past when dealing with in-house corruption, before Martin Luther? My belief was that it was the Inquisitors that took care of that type of stuff.

Some sources I found concerning this:

The Crusades:

The Inquisition:

There’s more, but my sources are very poorly organized. I only just started to begin re-thinking what I thought I knew about history lately myself, due to all the intentional misrepresentations of the Church I’ve been running into recently, such as media portrayals of Joan of Arc, or notions that the Church canonically held the world was flat in the medieval ages (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_Flat_Earth).

What’s true, and what’s anti-Catholic spin? :confused::confused::confused:

I’m afraid that a discussion of the Crusades will drive this thread far off topic, but suffice to say… The Pope apologized for them. Certainly they are often described extraordinarily polemically to make the Church look bad (though most academic work tends to rise above this tendency nowadays), but it would be simply wrong to say that they were not truly terrible. They were.

If you’re looking for good reading on the Crusades, your local bookstore is not a good option. Chain bookstores tend to only carry popular history, not academic peer-reviewed history. If you have access to a university library, that’s a good place to start. Otherwise, look online for anything published by an university press (ie, “Oxford University Press”).

I wonder what America and Europe would look like today. Without the Thirty Years’ War, the bloody succession of religious affiliation in England, and the various facets of the Radical Reformation to fuel the need to escape religious persecution, I doubt this current environment of religious pluralism would be pervasive.

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