The idea that the Reformation was some kind of good thing is prevalent in (probably) every popular history book, movie etc because of its opposition to the Catholic Faith. I’ll be happy to hear of any instances where this isn’t the case – please feel free to correct me.
Even in those histories which are about as impartial as we can humanly expect, written by popular authors, or history professors, who are not Catholic – no matter what their religion or irreligion – in which the actual lies and anti-Catholic propaganda are exposed and set straight, I think we’ll find the view that the Reformation was basically a good thing. Because freedom.
How Cobbett, the Anglican, and polemicist against this view isn’t a household name, I don’t know. How the lovely, mild, very well-liked and brilliant Catholic historian Dr John Lingard isn’t also a household name, I also don’t know. Instead, we get Macaulay. Cobbett and Lingard were contemporaries (straddling the 18th & 19th C) and I think it may be the case that their polemic and history respectively (Lingard’s method was gold-standard) had great influence, resulting in the Catholic emancipation.
How these men came to be obscured, I don’t know, but it may have been deliberate and wicked. Or maybe it was a lamentable effect of Industrialisation.
So, I contend that since popular histories, no matter how “impartial” they try to be, do not take the opposing view of the Reformation, then everyone who holds the standard view ought to be prepared to defend it, particularly against the strong meat of Cobbett’s invective. For a simply fair, and even gentle treatment of the topic from the Catholic side, they ought to be able to defend their beliefs against Lingard. For something in the middle, they could try Belloc.
From Cobbett’s fourth paragraph: “Now, my friends, a fair and honest inquiry will teach us, that
this was an alteration greatly for the worse; that the “REFORMATION,”
as it is called, was engendered in beastly lust, brought forth in
hypocrisy and perfidy…”