The English Reformation was the most important European event between the conversion of the Roman Empire and modern times. It was the most important because upon it the unity or break-up of Christendom depended. It is of especial important to Englishmen because it is by far the greatest event in the story of their country; but it is of still greater importance to Europeans as a whole, because of England had not been torn away from the unity of Christendom that unity would be intact to this day. It was the loss of England which determined the whole affair. Because of that loss Europe ultimately fell into two camps, the Protestant culture on the one hand, and the Catholic culture on the other.... It was through the Reformation that the dissolution of Europe came and that chaos of which we are now suffering the last, and perhaps mortal, effect.
--From Hilaire Belloc's introduction to Brian Magee's The English Recusants: A Study of the Post-Reformation Catholic Survival and the Operation of the Recusancy Laws