Ranke, whose judgments always deserve respect, said of the Colloquy of Regensburg:
If I am not mistaken this was a period of vital importance for Germany and even for the world. For Germany... [came] at last the possibility of reforming the ecclesiastical constitution of the nation, and, in relation to the Pope, of giving it a freer and more independent position, exempt from his temporal encroachments. The unity of the Church, and with it that of the nation, would have been maintained, and even more immense and enduring results would have emerged. If the moderate party, by whom these attempts began and were guided, could have maintained its ascendancy in Rome and in Italy, the Catholic world must have assumed a very different aspect.
While it is true that the ‘might-have-beens’ of history are unprofitable speculations, yet the possibilities behind that Colloquy of Regensburg have been too much neglected.