For centuries, England was a Catholic nation. Slowly, over centuries, we see a slow disintegration of the faith. Politics and polemics over doctrine and dogma.
What I can't stand is seeing the errors of Protestantism ruin a nation. The first volume outlines the history before Great Britain fell from the faith. The Reformation plays out in the next book of the series, which is where I'm at.
These books are a must read. If you have any interest in European and British history, you'll enjoy this. This is one of Churchill's most famous works, you know, that and leading the march against Hitler (which was also good). For those not in the know, Churchill is a pretty good writer. You probably have no idea that he wrote so much. Check this out:
From Youtube: The Complete Works of Winston S. Churchill, all in first edition. (PeterHarringtonBooks)
Amazing, right? You have to check out the visual at the 5:09 mark. Just look at all those books! I won't lie: there's part of me that wants to buy them all. History of the English Speaking Peoples is easily accessible. It's not a difficult read. You might have some difficulty recognizing some of the historic figures, but that's not a big deal.
This isn't exactly a Catholic source, but still worth a read. Churchill pulls a great quote from Hugh Latimer in Vol. II: The New World:
London was never so ill as it is now. In times past men were full of pity and compassion, but now there is no pity; for in London their brother shall die in the streets for cold, he shall lie sick at the door between stock and stock, I cannot tell what to call it, and perish there for hunger: was there ever more unmercifulness in Nebo? I think not. In times past, when any rich man died in London, they were wont to help the poor scholars of the Universities with exhibition. When any man died, they would bequeath great sums of money toward the relief of the poor. When I was a scholar in Cambridge myself, I heard very good report of London, and knew many that had relief of the rich men of London: but now I can hear no such good report, and yet I inquire of it, and hearken for it; but now charity is waxen cold, none helpeth the scholar, nor yet the poor. And in those days, what did they when they helped the scholars? Marry, they maintained and gave them livings that were very papists, and professed the pope's doctrine: and now that the knowledge of God's word is brought to light, and many earnestly study and labour to set it forth, now almost no man helpeth to maintain them. (Emphasis is mine.)
I like this quote. It comes in light of the then-recent translation of the Bible into the vulgar tongue. See what happens when we break from the Church? For the record, according to Wikipedia anyway, here's a quick bio on Latimer:
Hugh Latimer (c. 1487 – 16 October 1555) was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, and Bishop of Worcester before the Reformation, and later Church of England chaplain to King Edward VI. In 1555 under the Catholic Queen Mary he was burned at the stake, becoming one of the three Oxford Martyrs of Anglicanism.
Also in Vol. 2, you see a conflict between the Crown and Calvinism. The potential for harm sort of goes like this: If, like in Calvinism, you can pick and choose your way through the faith when it comes to doctrine, what can you pick and choose when it comes to man-made laws. That's pressed down into a pretty rough nutshell, but that's basically it. There's a conflict that arises in men's hearts with the onset of heresy that goes beyond the bubble of an individual's life. The embrace of false teaching leads to big problems, whether it's in your home or in the state. The kings of the English speaking peoples could see this, but by then, it was too late.
Here are some pics of the set I found online (the third one looks great):