Thirsty Gargoyle posted a link to this Catholic Herald article from 2005 on the Second Vatican Council. It’s a discussion between various Roman Catholics on the effects of Vatican II, which had ended forty years previously, and it contains one intriguing exchange concerning the relationship of Vatican II to the Reformation:
At one point, concert pianist Stephen Hough says:
It strikes me, in a way, that the council was the continuation of the Reformation. It was the real Counter-Reformation. Not just a reaction to Luther, but an acknowledgement that a lot of what Luther was saying was true. The Council took so much of what was true about what the Reformers were saying. The Church was eventually able to say it in a way that was acceptable to Catholics.
Historian Desmond Seward replies:
I agree with that entirely. I’m a great admirer of Luther, who very nearly got it right. If the Dominicans had been given a free hand he probably would have.
Like Thirsty Gargoyle, I am fascinated by these tantalisingly brief comments, especially that final reference to “if the Dominicans had been given a free hand”. My understanding had been that the Dominicans were, if anything, Luther’s most implacable opponents, especially during the crucial period from 1517 to 1519, rather than being thwarted bridge-builders.
Anyone have any idea what Desmond Seward was referring to here?