Charles V and Pope Clement VII had a very rocky relationship IOTL: although they were allies on paper, the latter tried to double cross the emperor multiple times, from letting a French army commanded by the Duke of Albany headed for Naples march through Papal territory unmolested, trying and failing to convince one of his generals to betray him, and finally forming the League of Cognac after the Imperial victory at Pavia. IOTL this ended with the sack Rome in 1527, after which Clement ceased to be an independent political actor and instead became a prisoner.

But what if one of the pope's plots against Charles succeeded, much to the emperor's ire, and Habsburg power in Italy is greatly, perhaps even permanently, crippled? Could he become more tolerant of Lutheranism - not to the point of converting, of course, since that would definitely cost him the throne of Spain - and if so, how would this affect the Protestant Reformation? IIRC Charles actually quipped that Luther "may become a man of worth" IOTL, after learning of Clement's treachery.
 
Which plot succeeds specifically?
And if Charles is Protestant then he won't try to waste half his life and resources suppressing it which would entail less debt for his descendants (and he would also support the divorce of his aunt Katherine of Aragon and bastardization of his cousin Mary)
 
Which plot succeeds specifically?
And if Charles is Protestant then he won't try to waste half his life and resources suppressing it which would entail less debt for his descendants (and he would also support the divorce of his aunt Katherine of Aragon and bastardization of his cousin Mary)
I don't believe Charles can become a Protestant without kissing Spain goodbye, so I was thinking of something like a revocation of the Edict of Worms.

As for which of Clement's plots succeed, say Francis wins at Pavia (there are a bunch of PODs there that could've swung it in his favor) and captures Naples sometime after, reducing the Habsburgs' Italian territories to Sicily alone, or maybe not even that.
 
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Could he become more tolerant of Lutheranism - not to the point of converting, of course, since that would definitely cost him the throne of Spain
I don't know that we can definitively say this. IOTL, Spanish authorities successfully suppressed Protestant ideas before they could gain much traction. We can't really know what would have happened in the opposite scenario, where the authorities are promoting it.
 
What if Ferdinand or one of his successors converting (Rudolf II was a crypto-Protestant IIRC), plus Charles having an extra surviving son who inherits the Netherlands? That is much more plausible, in my view.
 
Even if Spain somehow becomes Lutheran, I don't think so since IIRC most of the Dutch Protestants were Calvinists.

They only became Calvinist, because Charles V successfully eradicated Lutheranism in the Netherlands. If Charles decides not to enforce Catholicism, only the County of Burgundy, Wallonia and Tyrol are not going Lutheran, Burgundy and Wallonia will fall to Calvinism later and only Tyrol will stay Catholic.
 
Would a Lutheran line of Spanish Hapsburgs have been more successful in retaining the Netherlands?
Why would they become Lutheran? Establishing an Anti-Pope or get someone else elected is doable. And if not I suspect the Habsburgs might prefer an Anglican route or more preferable get a similar deal France ended up with the Papacy and get their equivalent of the OTL Gallican Church...
 
I wonder if a hypothetical line of Lutheran Austrian Habsburgs would've had a better chance of centralizing Germany than the OTL Catholic ones.
 
And if Charles is Protestant then he won't try to waste half his life and resources suppressing it
I don't know, a lot of the German princes joined the Reformation more for political (or economical) reasons than for a true change of heart.
I could see some of them actually becoming hyper-Catholics and take the side of the Pope just to have a counterbalance to the Habsburgs in the region.

and he would also support the divorce of his aunt Katherine of Aragon and bastardization of his cousin Mary
And the same here. I don't know if this could change things that much. It's sometimes said Catherine was Charles's favorite aunt, and that he didn't like the things Henry did to her. He probably saw it as a disgrace, not only to her, but onto his family.
 
Which plot succeeds specifically?
And if Charles is Protestant then he won't try to waste half his life and resources suppressing it which would entail less debt for his descendants (and he would also support the divorce of his aunt Katherine of Aragon and bastardization of his cousin Mary)
He might, though very unlikely become a 'Protestant', like Henry VIII, as in Charles V, replaces the Pope in his domains, but like Henry he'd still be very Catholic in nature. Still the divorce to his aunt and the bastardization of his cousin Mary was an insult to his dynasty. Did I mention that Charles V younger brother, was King of the Romans, Hungary, Bohemia and Croatia and archduke of Austria, which also was very pissed of by this.
If you want to appease Charles and Ferdinand, even when protestant you need to keep Mary as legitimate.
 
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