It would appear that I am out of step with contemporary scholarship. So much of what is being written today focuses on where Catholicism and Protestantism find agreement, such as this recent agreement reached by the Roman Catholic Church, the Lutheran World Federation, and the World Methodist Council. Benedict even appraised it as “full visible unity.”
Meanwhile, I am digging into the Sixteenth Century disputory history between the English Catholic Richard Smyth, Thomas Cranmer and the Italian Reformer Peter Martyr Vermigli during his time at Oxford. Smyth had a bone to pick with PMV — Cranmer removed him from his Oxford lectureship to make room for PMV to come to England and help further the Reformed cause in England. PMV was happy to oblige.
I am presently wading through three homilies on justification by Cranmer and will shortly write a comparison with the locus on justification by PMV. PMV really goes to town on Smyth in his justification locus, so more investigation is needed there as well.
For all that is being done today to bury the hatchets, I find that history is much more interesting when we unearth them. In the name of scholarship, of course.
A quite helpful book along these lines is Anthony N. S. Lane’s Justification by Faith in Roman Catholic – Protestant Dialogue (London: T&T Clark, 2002). Interesting biographies of Catholic spirituali prior to Trent include Elizabeth Gleason’s Gasparo Contarini: Venice, Rome, and Reform (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993) and Thomas Mayer’s Reginald Pole: Prince and Prophet (Cambridge University Press, 2000), although the latter concludes that the secrecy of Pole and the rest of the spirituali is because they were really just gay.