I saw a picture on Facebook of Gustavus III of Sweden. Below it was some caption that absolute monarchy was a purely Protestant phenomenon and should be hated and feared by all Catholics. This is part of the larger Catholic narrative that Europe was one glorious peace-place until Luther. But let’s think about it for the moment:
Yes, there were absolute monarchs in Europe who were Protestant, but there weren’t that many and their actions, while perhaps heavy-handed at times, were no worse than the (then) current British Parliament or Washington D.C. today. Some absolute monarchs like Frederick of Prussia were quite benevolent and allowed peace and stability in their country to a degree not found elsewhere. On the other hand, there were other absolute monarchs in Europe who were Romanist, or closet Romanists (the Stuarts in England) who were quite brutal and butchered Protestants by the thousands.